Aljaž Tower returns to Mt Triglav
Mojstrana, 3 October - For almost a month Slovenia's tallest peak, Mount Triglav, was without the Aljaž Tower, a symbol not only of Slovenian mountains but of the country at large. On Wednesday, the landmark was returned to the top of the mountain, where it had stood for 123 years before it had to be lowered to the valley for much needed repairs.
A Slovenian Armed Forces helicopter lifted the small metal shelter, which has a diameter of 1.2 metres and stands 1.9 metres tall, from a meadow in Mojstrana late on Wednesday morning, and only minutes later it was back on the peak.
Workers of Kov, the Jesenice company which did the restoration, were then joined by experts from the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage to anchor the tower and die it down with steel cable.
The sunny weather was ideal for the completion of the a project dubbed Aljaž Tower - Preserve Our Symbol, although morning fog at Ljubljana Airport delayed the lift-off of the army helicopter.
Restoration experts discovered the tower had been made of high-quality zinc-coated metal, which allowed it to withstand weather extremes even though its builder, the priest Jakob Aljaž, feared it would rust very soon.
The workers re-coated the entire tower and replaced some of the bits that were too rusty. Roughly 90% of the tower remains original, most of the new parts are reinforcements added to the structure.
Jernej Hudolin, the head of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, said today that the restoration was conducted bearing in mind "that the tower lasts atop Mount Triglav for another 123 years."
The tower was erected in 1895 by the priest Jakob Aljaž, a trailblazer in the Julian Alps. The tower and its immediate site have become inexorably linked with Slovenian identity and were proclaimed a site of national cultural importance in 1999.