Hiking: Trail of Pugled – Žiben
Annually in April the Tourist Association of Kočevje together with Associations of the national liberation movement of Slovenia (ZZS NOB Slovenia) and the community of Stara organizes a hike along the route of memories to Pugled and Žiben, where a cultural program is organized for visitors.
You can visit the route by yourselves as well. The starting point for the Pugled-Žiben hiking trail is located in Stari Log, where we can also park. It starts with a signpost pointing us across a fenced pasture into the forest.
The hike follows a beautifully landscaped and marked path and leads us past many beauties of Kočevje forest. The path also crosses the forest reserve Pugled, which is mainly forested with beech. The path partially follows the Roška hiking trail which annually hosts a famous hike called “Po medvedovih stopinjah” (“In the bear’s footsteps”), where the participants walk a 60 km path.
The Pugled-Žiben trail is not difficult and it is appropriate for kids. It is around 10 km long and lasts approximately 3 hours. It runs mostly along forest paths, only a few meters on forest roads. Stops can be made multiple times during the hike at peaceful resting places in the company of cottages or in the arms of mighty trees.
Pugled and Žiben are abandoned Gottschee German villages dating from around 1558. They are also called Hochenberg and Oberstein. The inhabitants of the villages were the Gottschee Germans, who made a living mainly by producing woodenware, farming, harvesting of forest fruits and peddling. The children of the villages went to school in Stari Log, where there also stood a cemetery. Along the trail, we can see several remains of their dwellings, which were built from wood and stone, as well as from the ruin remains of the church of Sv. Peter and Paul, which was built in the 17th century.
The villagers left their homes during World War II in 1941, and the Italian army burned down the villages in August 1942
On the informational boards along the way you will found out more about the history of the villages, the Kočevska region and the forest reserve itself, you will also see many monuments to fallen soldiers of Worlds War II. At the top of Pugled (615m) stands a large monument of the National Liberation War, there you will also find an entry booklet and a stamp.