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Triglav to be without its landmark tower this autumn

This autumn, Mount Triglav will be without its landmark tower for the first time in 123 years since it was originally put up. In mid-September, the Aljaž Tower will be taken to the valley for the much needed repair on the metal construction.

The photogenic tower is a spot on top of Triglav that all Slovenian and foreign hikers visit after climbing the 2,864-metre high mountain.

It has been there since 1895, when it was built by Jakob Aljaž, a local priest and composer who was also a passionate hiker and climber. The tower and its immediate surroundings were proclaimed a site of national cultural importance in 1999, presenting a symbol of national pride along with the country's highest peak.

But this autumn, Triglav will be left without the iconic metal construction for three weeks. The comprehensive repair works on the tower have been planned for a while and now the project is ready. The plan is to lift the tower and take it to the valley by helicopter in mid-September, when the mountaineering season ends. If the Ministry of Culture fails to give its approval in time due to the current political vacuum or if the weather conditions prevent the airlift, the project will be carried out next spring, before the next mountaineering season.

The tower is expected to be repaired in three weeks. "Given the importance of the tower, the idea is to bring it back from the valley as quickly as possible," said Martin Kavčič from the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, who is in charge of the EUR 50,000 project.

The repair works are necessary because the tower is in a poor state and has never been thoroughly renovated. Kavčič expects the refurbished tower to be able to defy wind, snow, rain and other adverse conditions for at least another 100 years.

This year marks the 240th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Triglav

2018 marks the 240th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Triglav. This year, a programme of special events will pay homage to the men that completed the first historic ascent, including unique walks and tours at the 12th annual International Wild Flower Festival.  It was in 1777 that renowned scientist and determined mountaineer Balthasar Hacquet first attempted the ascent via mountain pastures Konjščica and Velo Polje, a route that has since become known as the Bohinj Ascent.

A year after that, four brave men from Bohinj became the first to complete the climb. The ascent took three days and on August 26 they reached the peak via Zeleni Plaz, recording the path leading to Triglav using stone markers. This historic feat led to Slovenes being recognised as a true Alpine nation of explorers and mountaineers. The ascent of Mount Triglav took place eight years before Mont Blanc, 22 years before Grossglockner and 87 years before the Matterhorn – while the other mountains may be taller, Slovenes were amongst the first nations to scale their highest peak.

Source and photo: STA