Hiking on the picturesque Robber Knights’ Trail

Zlebe_Start
The starting point of our hike – village Žlebe (locally also Sveta Marjeta), is located some 15 kilometers from Ljubljana
Even though Slovenia’s capital city Ljubljana is becoming increasingly popular among tourists, the Slovenian countryside around it is still mostly unexplored. Discover the Robber Knights’ Trail, some 15 kilometers from the city limits, truly off the beaten path and so far well known mostly among locals. Slovenia is full of such small hidden gems!
Text and photos by Uroš Črnigoj

The Robber Knights’ Trail leads from the village of Žlebe, near Medvode to Jeterbenk hill (774m).

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The trail will take us through the village

 Žlebe is just a regular Slovenian village, not renowned enough for the picturesque 16th century Church of St. Margaret standing above it on the summit of a nearby hill. The church is the first landmark to be reached on the Robber Knights’ Trail.

Instead of climbing its peak, we took a turn just below it towards the village of Topol pri Medvodah, and proceeded on to “Sv. Jakob” (St. James) (806m), one of the most popular outlook hills around Ljubljana.The whole hiking trip took us less than an hour and a half.
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Church of St. Margaret

In front of the church you can sit on a wooden bench adorned with a carved dragon’s head. It’s based on the local legend of the dragon of Žlebe.

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Dragon bench tells us about the local legend.

According to it, the villagers managed to trick the fierce dragon by offering him a lunch package of dead calf filled with quicklime and a barrel of wine. After he died from indigestion, they buried him under rocks and built a church on top.

They dedicated the church to St. Margaret of Antioch, a saint who managed to defeat Satan in form of the dragon herself.

The Robber Knights’ Trail then ascends into a forested hill on its shady eastern side so less sunlight found its way through the trees as we moved on. The trail is marked by its great looking signs as well as with educational signposts depicting forest animals.

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The trail is marked with educational signposts
The special event being the traditional Hike along the Paths of the Robber Knights, annually organised by the Žlebe–Marjeta Tourist Association.

Along the trail you can also admire a dramatic landscape full of steep downward slopes and ravines.

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Through the woods …
 Jeterbenk got its name after the old Hertenberg Castle that used to stand on top of it. By the end of the 14th Century the mighty Hertenberg family, derived from a line of robber knights, already died out and their castles were left to decay. Nothing is left of them today.
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Hiking through the first snow of this winter season.

The trail from Topol to Sv. Jakob is quite popular among locals as it basically just offers a pleasant, undemanding stroll in a lovely natural setting. It’s frequented by families with children.

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Topol
Along the trail a makeshift homemade “ski lift” was set up with a motor engine and tow rope tied to a tree.
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We even passed some skiers …

A group of small children along with their parents were skiing on a mild slope and enjoying the experience a lot.

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Proceeding towards Sv. Jakob

Sv. Jakob is just the nearest of the hills that can be reached from Topol, which owes much of its popularity to its hiking trails going to all directions.

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Sv. Jakob is right infront of us

The top of Sv. Jakob offers magnificent views all the way to Kamnik Savinja Alps on the East, to Polhov Gradec and Škofjeloško Hill ranges on the west and to the Julian Alps with Mount Triglav (2864m), Slovenia’s highest mountain on the north.

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Time to rest a bit and enjoy the view
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The view from Sv. Jakob

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There are three taverns in Topol so you can choose where to have a taste of homemade Slovenian food. The best known among them is Dobnikar.
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A treat of traditional Slovenian cuisine at the top

Schwarzmann and Pr’ Jur are smaller and a bit more rustic.

Traditional Slovenian dishes such as Carniolan sausage, barley stew (ričet), “jota” stew, and homemade winter pork foods can be enjoyed in all three of them along with apple strudel or a variety of “štruklji” dough rolls available for desert.

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Cosy and festive atmosphere in taverna Pr’Jur
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The whole hiking trip took us less than hour and a half.
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