Triglav Lakes Valley – Triglav National Park

Triglav Lakes Valley - Triglav National Park

Triglav Lakes Valley – Triglav National Park

Triglav Lakes Valley - Triglav National Park

100 years since the Triglav Lakes Valley was first insured: a natural beauty that moves time and time again

The Triglav National Park was later created from a nature conservation park in the Triglav Lakes Valley.

1 July marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of the Protection of the Triglav Lakes Valley. This gave us the first protected nature park in Slovenia, which is also the precursor of today’s Triglav National Park.

When the idea of national parks began to emerge in Europe at the beginning of the last century, it was also considered here. It could very well be that we could have the first national park in Europe in Slovenia. But it was still almost a quarter of a century ago, 100. The Triglav Lakes Valley Protected Area is protected for the first time.

First visitors to the Triglav Lakes Valley

The first records related to the Triglav Lakes Valley date back to the second half of the 18th century. were written by the French naturalist Balthasar Hacquet. Hacquet worked as a doctor in a mercury mine in Idrija, and also did a lot of exploring in Slovenia. He described his encounter with the valley, which he had climbed to over the Komarča, in an emotional way in Oryctographia Carniolica (1778-1789), the first “physical geography” of Carniola:“After 6 hours of walking, at the height of the Alpine range, I came to a bare rocky valley, the like of which I had never seen in my life. Then I wished I had a poet with me who could describe the early days of the upheaval of the world in the most sombre way, as Klopstock did in his epic Messiah.” Of the valley he had walked in its entirety, he wrote that it was“six hours’ walk, winding from noon to midnight, and is called SA LAKE“.

Triglav Lakes Valley - Triglav National Park

The Triglav Lakes Valley. Photo by Luka Zebec

In the following years, many naturalists visited the valley. Baron Karl Zois, brother of Žige Zois, had a hut built in the valley for exploration. In 1795, the then parish priest and poet of Koprivnica visited the village as part of an exploratory expedition. Valentin Vodnik. The expedition, organised by Žiga Zois, aimed to collect evidence on the origin of the rocks. Grof Franz Hohenwart, co-founder of the Kranj Regional Museum, also a member of the expedition, wrote on seeing the Double Lake that “… inall the mountains of Carniola one cannot find such a beautiful and enchanting view”.

As a result of his impressions of the expedition, Vodnik is said to have written the poem Vršac. Vodnik’s Vršac, a 2194-metre-high lookout mountain in the north of the valley, is also named after Vodnik.

Valentin Vodnik: Vršac

Valentin Vodnik: Vršac

In the second half of the 19th century. century, the Triglav Lakes Valley, or the Valley of the Triglav Lakes. The Zajezer Valley, as it was then called, also began to be visited by ‘tourists’, as the mountaineers were called at the time. During this period, mountaineering associations also emerged, and mountain outposts began to be built. A mountain hut was built at the Double Lake. A mountain trail across the Komarča Mountain and a marked trail through the valley and on to Triglav were created.

First ideas on insurance – Triglav Lakes Valley – Triglav National Park

In 1903, the then Austrian authorities issued an order to collect data on natural monuments. The Gorenjska District Governor’s Office engaged seismologist and natural scientist Albin Belar for this purpose. Belar’s proposal also included the Triglav Lakes Valley: “… The area is geotectonically remarkable, but no less so geologically and palaeontologically … But it is well known to landscape painters, who can see the magnificent motifs at every turn in this wild nature park… It should certainly be recommended that a protected area be established at the Seven Lakes, where all encroachment will be excluded, in order to save the last remnants of this exceptional high mountain primeval forest, the habitat of the ancient larch trees, for posterity…” In 1908, an attempt was made to protect the area, but this was complicated by conflicts with grazing communities and a lack of legal basis. Further attempts were prevented by the First World War.

Dolina Triglavskih jezer - Triglavski narodni park

A depiction of the Triglav Lakes Valley in Balatazar Hacquet’s Oryctographia Carniolica. Photo: DLib

The Seven Lakes Valley Conservation Park

Triglav Lakes Valley – Triglav National Park

After the end of the war and the establishment of the Kingdom of SHS, in 1920, on the initiative of the naturalist Ferdinand Seidl, the Nature Conservation Section of the Museum Society of Slovenia created a Memorial with an initiative to establish conservation parks. It also included a proposal to create a park in the “Valley of the Seven Lakes under Triglav” in the area proposed by Belar. Due to inadequate legislation and lengthy formal procedures, the establishment did not take place for several years.

Dolina Triglavskih jezer - Triglavski narodni park ustanovitev

Extract from the Memorial with an initiative for the establishment of conservation parks (1920).

In 1924 it finally became a protected area. In April, the necessary approvals were obtained from the authorities in Belgrade for the establishment of the conservation park. 1. On July 1924, a lease agreement was signed by the Directorate for the Protection of the Sumatran Mountains, the Museum Society of Slovenia, the Department for Nature Conservation and the Slovenian Mountaineering Society. The treaty defined the scope of t. i. nature conservation park, income compensation for grazing, definition of hunting and exploitation rights and nature protection commitments. The lease period was set at 20 years and the area was 1400 hectares.

Prepis zakupne pogodbe o ustanovitvi varstvenega parka 1
Prepis zakupne pogodbe o ustanovitvi varstvenega parka 2
Prepis zakupne pogodbe o ustanovitvi varstvenega parka 3

Copy of the lease agreement establishing the conservation park. Planinski vestnik, vol. LXXXIV, issue 8, 1984

A detailed presentation of the park was published a year later in the Geografiska vestnik in a technical article and included the first map of the protected area. Author Mate Hafner writes of the park: “We have fulfilled our cultural duty by creating this Alpine conservation park, because only in this way will it be possible to preserve this beautiful territory, which in its entirety, as well as in all its living and non-living parts, is a true natural monument in all its beauty and interest for our descendants.”

Alpski varstveni park v dolini sedmih jezer 1
Alpski varstveni park v dolini sedmih jezer 2
Alpski varstveni park v dolini sedmih jezer 3
Alpski varstveni park v dolini sedmih jezer 4
Alpski varstveni park v dolini sedmih jezer 5

Alpine conservation park in the valley of the seven lakes. By Mate Hafner. Map by Valter Bohinec. Geografski vestnik, vol. 1, issue 1, 1925

In 1926, the Slovenian botanist Franc Jesenko first named the park Triglav National Park in the daily Jutro. In his introduction, he wrote: “All the larger of these smaller countries have carved out ready-made areas of their land as convenient reserves where fauna and flora flourish without any cultural influence – where everything lives and grows as God has given it, untouched, unspoilt, in its natural development and in its natural beauty.” He placed Triglav National Park alongside the world parks of the time and advocated for greater protection, in particular the enforcement of a ban on grazing, which was still enforced at the time despite restrictions.

Triglavski narodni park članek
Triglavski narodni park članek 2
Triglavski narodni park članek 3

Triglav National Park. Author. Dnevnik Jutro, vol. 7, issue 122. 1926. (The third page of the article has been cut and pasted together, without affecting the content, due to the format of the newspaper.)

In the autumn of 1940, the Department for Nature Conservation prepared a new proposal for the Triglav National Park, which would also include Komna, the Fužinara Mountains and part of the Bohinj Basin. The Second World War prevented discussion of the proposal, and in the meantime the lease expired in 1944.

Triglav National Park “Valley of the Seven Lakes”

Efforts to restore the park on a larger scale began soon after the Second World War. But it took almost 15 years of discussions and proposals from various institutions until the then Council for Culture and Education of the then People’s Republic of Slovenia appointed a special commission to prepare the relevant legislation and a proposal for an enlarged national park. In 1961, the Republican Assembly adopted a Decree declaring the Valley of the Seven Lakes a national park under the name Triglav National Park. This was only 600 hectares larger than during the 1924-1944 protection period. There was no will to expand the park at that time.

Meja Triglavskega narodnega parka

Triglav National Park boundary l. 1961 compared to the Alpine Conservation Park in l. 1924.
Source. Author Angela Piskernik, Sketch by Stane Peterlin. 1926.

Triglav National Park

In the following years, efforts to expand the area continued. After numerous discussions and coordination, it was adopted on 27. The Triglav National Park Act, adopted in May 1981, resulted in a large extension of the protected area, similar to the present one, totalling 84,807 hectares. The largest national park in Yugoslavia was established. This marked the end of efforts that began at the beginning of the 20th century. The first phase of the project was initiated by Belar in the 18th century, continued with the Spomenica (1920) and first put into practice 100 years ago, with the first insurance of the Triglav Lakes valley.

Over the years, Triglav National Park has developed into a modern national park with many international links. In 2004, it was awarded the Council of Europe’s Diploma for Protected Area with Exemplary Management. In 2010, the law was reformed. The Triglav Lakes Valley is one of the first conservation areas in the Triglav National Park, and is the most strictly protected.

Triglavski narodni park

Protected area boundaries over time. Source: Triglav National Park

Russian grave in the Triglav Lakes Valley

During the First World War, an event took place in Dolina that is still commemorated by a monument. In 1916, a patrol of the Austro-Hungarian army captured two Russian prisoners of war on one of the mountains, who had escaped during the construction of the road to Bogatin. Prisoners of war at that time worked in very poor conditions. The military commandos ordered the prisoners to be taken to the double lake of Lake Triglav and shot. After the war, on the initiative of the editor-in-chief of the Slovene Nation newspaper, Rast Pustoslemšek, funds were raised for a memorial plaque, which was erected in 1923. Over the decades, the monument has been severely damaged by the ravages of time. In 2015, it was restored by mountain rescuer Marko Matajurc on his own initiative.

Photo: Illustrirani Slovenec, 1926 / Miha Mihelič, 2018


Triglav Lakes Valley – Triglav National Park
“History of the efforts to establish the Triglav National Park”. Nature Conservation, Angela Priskernik. 1962.
Planinski vestnik, vol. LXXXIV, issue 8, 1984.
“The founders of Triglav National Park – PEOPLE BEFORE THEIR TIME”, Triglav National Park Public Institute. 2006.
“Valley of the Triglav Lakes”. Geography of Slovenia book collection. 2015.
“The first explorers of the Slovenian mountains and the first documented approaches to them”. Historical newspaper. Peter Mikša. 2013.
“The Russian grave at Triglav Lakes and related events, reflections and feelings”. Monograph CPA 7, Prisoners of War of Tsarist Russia in the First World War on Slovenian Territory. 2018.
“How Triglav National Park was created”, Bulletin of Slovenian field biologists and nature lovers. 2021.


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