Those who decide to explore the area more closely may notice an empty building near the edge of the woods. Now largely abandoned, the lodge has a remarkable history. It was designed by Slovenia’s greatest architect and was once used by the Yugoslav royal family.
The hunting lodge in the Kamniška Bistrica Valley was built in 1934. The Slovenian architectural great Jože Plečnik, best known for his innovative reinterpretations of classical motifs, was asked to design it. Always a hands-on architect, he worked closely with the laborers and managed to create an elegant structure that combined dark wood with a stone base. His inspired creation managed to blend in gracefully with its natural environment.
The design was Plečnik’s, but the idea had come from King Alexander of Yugoslavia. He loved to hunt in the area’s forests and intended to spend his free time in the lodge. What he didn’t realize was that political tensions would destroy those plans forever.
In October 1934, King Alexander was gunned down by an assassin in Marseilles, France. With no blue-blooded hunter to replace him, the lodge stood empty for many years.
After the war, the lodge was taken over by the state and use by a different kind of royalty; it hosted Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito and his guests during their hunting trips. It even became known as “Tito’s Mansion.” Much of the furniture was moved around, and central heating was added, but the appearance of several rooms – including the main bedroom – remained largely unchanged.
With both Tito and Yugoslavia consigned to history, the lodge stands mostly empty these days. King Alexander’s heirs were unsuccessful in their bid to get it back, and the building was leased to the Stol furniture company, which sublets it to anyone who shows an interest. Few tenants do, and the lodge stands empty most of the time, with few outward reminders of a time when it was the home of royalty.