Secret WW2 Hospital
It's difficult to tell what is the most remarkable thing about one of Slovenia's best kept secret places.. the incredible location, hidden up the top of a mountain river in the forest, or the fact that the Partisans kept the location hidden from the Nazis in WW2 and managed to save hundreds of lives.
WARNING.. This secret place is so stunning, unnexpected, special and overwhelming, that it sometimes reduces our guests to tears as they describe their amazing day here..
This is such an excellent location to visit in Slovenia, because 1: you get to see incredibly beautiful nature in the mountains, 2: there is a clearly marked path, where you cannot get lost and 3: at the end of the walk is a world class living museum with a remarkable human story.
There is a beautiful path alongside the river leading up to the hospital.. in fact it feels a little like walking alongside one of Slovenia's many gorges, as the water thunders past and you wonder how on earth the stretcher bearers managed to carry a blindfolded soldier, (blindfolded so he could not reveal the location of the hospital, if captured), up this river all the way to the hospital.
We discovered this location, fortunately nowadays, marked by a brown road sign, on our way to Cerkno to check out one of our closest ski slope centres. Cerkno also has a lively jazz festival in the spring and is a nice little town to stop off for something to eat or coffee when visiting the secret hospital.
It would be too simple in the "marketing disaster" that is Green Slovenia to have a signpost marking the "secret Partisan hospital", so be warned.. near Cerkno, you need to look out for the big brown sign with something like "Franja Bolnisnega" or something like that, cos of course everyone in the world knows that Bolnisnega means "hospital"!!! More respectfully, Franja is the name of the amazing lady doctor who founded this place and deserves remembering and learning!
There are good info signs to tell you all about the brave people and doctors who ran this hospital. The stretcher bearers had to carry the injured soldiers up through the freezing cold water to avoid detection by the Nazis in case they left any tracks. One sign, for example, alerts you to look up and in the side of the cliff you see a small cave up in the rock where 2 brave soldiers had to climb up with ropes and man a machine gun post as the first line of defence.. incredibubble.
The nature along this walk is enough on it's own to blow you away, but you will surely be impressed by the hospital complex itself, wooden buildings, damaged by a huge flood a few years ago and now fully restored so you can see how the soldiers were looked after and read their stories.
And this beautiful little mountain region of Slovenia also specialises in a local dish made from meat and pasta that is totally unpronounceabubble, but delicious, so here above is a picture, make sure you ask for it at the local pubs.. it begins with Z!
There are several routes from the Lodge to the secret hospital through beautiful scenery. You can do a smaller or bigger circle, stopping off at other places on the way or on the way home to make this, yet another, surprisingly wonderful day out in nature in Slovenia. You could also park in Cerkno and do the hike all the way up to the hospital and really get excellent views of the surrounding mountains.
This is often the first secret Partisan hospital visitors to Green Slovenia find.. but there are more and on second and third visits to the most beautiful country in Europe, Guests can graduate to finding some even more secret hospital hideouts in the middle of a forest..
We decided there was a need to write a whole section on these unique Secret Partisan WW2 Hospitals.. so we did!