Possibility to choose: a kayak or a bike...
This time you start at the car park in Tacen. For introductory refreshment drive to the Sava River. A race track for kayak racing has been arranged on its rapids since 1939; in 1955 even a world cup took place there. You can look at the river from the bridge and try to imagine how it used to be when the banks of the Sava River were still connected by a ferry. Only in 1844 was the ferry replaced by a wooden bridge over the Sava River. It was named St. Mary's Bridge and was built by the lord of Rocen Castle, baron Franc Feliks Lazarini. Naturally, users had to pay a bridge toll. The bridge stood for more than 60 years until it was washed away by the risen Sava River in 1907. Afterwards, the ferry came back for a couple of years, until in 1910, the authorities of that time built a new bridge with iron construction.
After you've enjoyed the refreshing cold water and listened to the singing of the river, set out on the cycling route and ride through the settlement of Tacen to Šmartno pod Šmarno goro. Along the way visit the Church of St. George and an interesting fountain in front of it. The church, which is situated on the site of the former chapel of Rocen Manor, was probably Gothic at first – taking into account the entrance vault under the bell tower – and the Baroque reconstruction was finished in the second half of the 18th century.
Day of uprising
When you pass Tacen, you are not quite sure if you have already arrived in Šmartno or not. You can see a large monument in a shape of a millstone somewhat above the road on your left. The monument marks a place where the first Partisan gun in Slovenia went off. In former Yugoslavia, the event was commemorated on 22 July, the Day of Uprising of Slovenian Nation. On this day in 1941, an organized attack of the Partisan group of Šmarna gora took place which planned to liquidate some of the national traitors in agreement with the Gameljska group. The Gameljska group carried out its own action the previous day but it was not very successful. However, the Šmarna gora group completed its mission successfully in the morning of 22 July. This event was marked as the beginning of the fight against occupying forces on Slovenian soil.
Between mills and barrows
Since Šmartno pod Šmarno goro has a 'mini' bypass, you do not have to go through this settlement if you go towards Gameljne. Therefore, ride across the bridge that crosses the motorway and turn left. The road leads across the field to Gameljne. This is a long settlement, so long that it was divided into three parts: Zgornje, Srednje and Spodnje Gameljne. The Gameljščica Stream runs through it and is sufficiently rich with water and humble at the same time to turn mill wheels. Indeed, there were seven mills in the village in the past. None of them works today but they have something else there instead: a real Russian dača , the only one in Slovenia. Dačas are Russian holiday houses, similar to our weekend homes. They were a symbol of the rich who used them for relaxation, usually in summer. Gameljne also used to be famous for its rich locals. This is not odd at all since the settlement is located on a fertile plain. And is not just fertile; it also has mineral resources which are witnessed by discoveries of ancient slag and other remains, connected with mining and processing of iron. In addition, a written source in the form of a splendid Roman tombstone exists, which is today built in the Church of St. Leonard in Spodnje Gameljne. It was built by the Caesernius family, a famous and rich Aquileia family which settled in the area of the then Emona in the 1st century AD. They were engaged in iron industry and if they were buried in Gameljne that probably means they had a larger estate there. More Roman tombstones were found nearby but most of them are lost today.
A trail to Črnuče leads through the forest. Antique barrows, where urns, a sword, a glass tear vessel and an oil lamp were found, are located in the forest. A notable Amber Road from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean ran nearby which crossed the Sava River right in Črnuče. It is well known that the Romans buried their deceased by the roads, even more often at the crossroads. Therefore, the existence of tombstones and barrows is not coincidental. Črnuče had to be an important traffic location since the Romans built a magnificent wooden bridge on stone pillars across the Sava River and a post station Savus Fluvius nearby. Due to the crossing over the Sava River, Črnuče was strategically interesting in later periods as well. In times of Illyrian Provinces, Straški hrib Hill (452 m) was a French post from where they fended off the Austrians. During World War II, a border between German and Italian occupying forces (bunkers near the bridge are still visible) ran nearby. And finally, in times of Slovenian struggle for independence in 1991, the barricades were situated there as well.
Paths through villages
At the crossroads, you cross Dunajska Road, turn towards Črnuče and immediately continue to the right, across the railroad, along Cesta 24. junija Road and Šlandrova Street until you come to Štajerska Road. Cross it and continue to Brnčičeva Street, ride along it towards the bus turnaround and just in front of it, turn perpendicularly left to Zasavska Road. Turn right there towards Šentjakob and before you come to the first houses, turn right onto a side road through the settlement This is approximately opposite of the Belinka Factory . Turn right at the first crossroads and continue slightly down to the last left turning that leads to Šmartinska Road which you have to cross in order to continue along the new road that connects Šentjakob to the settlement of Brinje (Perkova Street). The route continues along this road through the villages of Brinje, Beričevo and Videm to Dol.
The Versailles of Carniola
In the 19th century, Dol was well known all across Europe – and you should know why. A mansion was located in Dol, whose owner was baron Jožef Kalasanc Erberg, cultural historian, patron, and a collector of antiques and works of art. The mansion was nicely decorated, surrounded with a large, beautifully arranged park. Therefore, it is no surprise that it was named the Versailles of Carniola. The baron built two pavilions for his collections on the east side of the estate. He arranged for the mansion to become a meeting place of the lords and nobility of that time, thus of all important persons in near and distant surroundings. In spite of its brilliance in the past, today's image of the mansion is very, very sad. The main building is roofless and crumbling, the park is more or less destroyed, there is no track of flowerbeds, the pond is empty and the paths are overgrown. Only the northern part of the mansion, which got a new roof, the accompanying buildings and, of course, both pavilions, which are nicely renovated, are preserved to a certain degree.
Across the Sava River to the sister rivers
Continue towards Kleče and Dolsko where you turn right to the Sava River. A lower slope and you are already on the bridge across the river. After the bridge you must quickly turn right on Kresnice-Ljubljana road which very pleasant for cycling and it soon takes you to the confluence of three sister river: the Sava, the Ljubljanica and the Kamniška Bistrica. In Valvasor's times there were even four rivers – the Besnica River being the fourth one. Their confluence was a little bit higher upstream. Later, when the bed of the Sava and the Ljubljanica rivers were being regulated, the confluence of the Kamniška Bistrica, the Sava and the Ljubljanica rivers was moved to the current location and the Besnica River stayed at its old spot. It now first flows into the Ljubljanica River and then reaches the other two sisters a little bid blended already. It is more of a cousin rather than a sister.
... Under Ostri vrh
Podgrad, a settlement under Osterberg Castle , one of the oldest castles in central Slovenia, is located just a stone's throw away. Valvasor claims that the old castle was built by the Lords of Svibno back in 1015. Contemporary historians place it in the middle of the 12th century. We are of course talking about the old castle because there are two Osterberg castles. The old one has been in ruins for a long time but the new castle , significantly remade, is still standing. It is interesting that, in spite of all modifications, a part of the original, about a meter thick castle wall which still juts out of the northern façade, has been preserved.
Along city streets towards 'home'
Then ride to Zalog, cross the Ljubljanica River and turn right on Agrokombinatska Road in the middle of the settlement (at the traffic lights near the National Liberation War monument). Continue along Snebrska Road, cross Zadobrovška Road and the east branch of the motorway and join a very busy Šmartinska Road from the left – luckily, you do not have to cycle there for a long time. In Šmartno ob Savi turn towards Obrije and Jarše (signpost). The traffic is less dense there so you can relax somewhat when looking around the surroundings. Cycle through Obrije, Jarše and Tomačevo, slip through the underpass under Štajerska radial road and continue towards Stožice (the settlement). On your way you can see the hippodrome , where you can swap your bike for a horse, and the Stožice Sports Complex with its renowned hall in a shape of a shell . Then go past Stožice and Mala vas and cross Dunajska Road to Udvančeva Street in Ježica. After the underpass under the railway line, turn left to the Ježica Sports Centre . When arriving to Savlje after a short slope, turn right, along the plain to Kleče and continue past the water plant to the traffic light. There, turn right again and arrive at a new traffic light. On Obvozna Road (also called German Road) turn left. Šmarna gora is clearly visible now; it is practically impossible to get lost. Press the pedals hard, beat the rambling intersection on the motorway junction and pass the traffic light in the direction of Brod. Go down the slope and you are already at the bridge over the Sava River – the one where you started the route.
A beautiful and interesting tour, not too short and not too long, suitable for an afternoon trip or an easy training session.