Stories of the Žiri Museum

It is generally known that in the 20th century shoemaking was the main economic activity in Žiri. However, it is less known or unknown who were the beginners of shoemaking. In the Škofja Loka land register from 1501, a Petter Schuestar is mentioned, who, according to his surname, is assumed to have been a shoemaker. A large number of shoemakers and other craftsmen in villages in the centuries before 1800 was not possible because they were not allowed by the Škofja Loka guilds. 

Have you ever heard of a mythological Lintvern – a water dragon? Ljubljana, Celovec and probably some other place also have one of their own, a more famous one. However, the Žiri water dragon claims to be special: “My kingdom is horrible. Huh! I am the last Lintvern of Slovenian descent.” These are boastful words of the Žiri dragon that cursed and trapped deep under the Žirk hill awaits the moment when he will be able to rise to the surface and terrorize the valiant Žiri people.

Besides Idrija and Železniki, Žiri is one of three centres of bobbing lacemaking in Slovenia. From the turn of the 19th to the 20th century and until the 1970s, when almost all the Žiri women had already been employed in Alpina and other factories, lacemaking was one of the main sources of income for our women and girls. 

Žiri is a peaceful place, safely hidden in its valley “at the end of the world”. Nevertheless, it wasn’t always like that. Between the two wars, Žiri was a place along the national border. In the years before the outbreak of World War II, conditions on the border began to intensify and both countries started to build their own defensive lines.