Triglav to be without its landmark tower this autumn
Mojstrana/Ljubljana, 20 August - Mt Triglav, Slovenia's highest peak and a solemn symbol of the Slovenianhood, will be without its landmark tower for the first time after 123 years this autumn. The Aljaž Tower will be taken to the valley for the first time for the much needed repair on the metal construction.
The photogenic tower is a spot on top of Triglav that virtually all Slovenian and foreign mountaineers visit after climbing the 2,864-metre high mountain.
It has been there since 1895, when it was built by priest Jakob Aljaž, a trailblazer in the Julian Alps. 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 Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, which has been managing the tower since last year, is now waiting only for the green light from the Culture Ministry.
The plan is to lift the tower and take it to the valley by helicopter in mid-September, when the mountaineering season concludes, Martin Kavčič of the institute has told the STA.
If the ministry fails to give its approval in time due to the current political vacuum or if the weather conditions prevented 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 Kavčič, 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 said, noting that no institution had been in charge of the tower until last year, so those who felt obligated did what they could to repair the tower over the years.
The tower's lighting conductor has not been repaired in 50 years, he illustrated.
Now, the damage suffered by the metal construction has started showing, as its upper part is curved.
The condition of the metal coat is to be determined after the multiple layers of paint are removed. After the repair is concluded, the tower will be painted back to its current grey colour.
Kavčič expects the refurbished tower to be able to defy wind, snow, rain and other adverse conditions for at least another 100 years.