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Belce water barrages - 'klavže'

Water barrages constructed to enable the transport of wood.


Water barrages, known also as 'Slovenian pyramids', were constructed in 1779. They enabled the transport of up to 10.000 m³ of wood for the constructions of mine shafts and for the firing of furnaces for ore melting. Brusove klavže on the Belca stream retained 100.000 m³ of water, which with one hauling transported up to 5000 m³ of wood located beneath the water barrages. For the opening of big wooden gates in the drain canal a mechanism of levers was used, while their closing was done with yokes. The stone water barrage is 18 m high and 35 m long and has a wooden roof-covering. The main planner of the water barrages was the renowned Jožef Mrak, who used a special type of mortar for the construction, in order for the barrages to defy the pressure of water as well as weather conditions. The undisturbed functioning of water barrages was under the control of a 'klavžar', the person who opened and closed the water gates. After the 14 km long transport towards Idrija, the hauled wood was stopped by 400 m long barrages in the stream confluence of Nikova and Idrijca. The klavže barrages were used till 1926, when on the one hand the big flood caused major damage to the barrages, and on the other, the conditions for road transport of wood came to the forefront.


City museum Idrija


Water and wood were the key goods used for the functioning of the Idrija mine. Both manifested themselves best in correlation with 'klavže', which are considered one of the most important objects of the technical heritage of the Mercury Mine Idrija, as well as the town of Idrija. They illustrate numerous thoughtful technological solutions for hauling of wood in the secluded part of Idrija hills. A simple, but an effective mechanism is a result of the innovativeness and knowledge of local masters. At the beginning of the 1990's the 'klavže barrages' were renovated and refurbished under the supervision of the City Museum Idrija. National importance

Potential usability

The abandoning of hauling of wood after the big flood in 1926, which completely destroyed almost 14 km of water barrages, resulted in the decline of 'klavže'. The City museum of Idrija restored 'klavže' 20 years ago. The cultural value has a tourist developmental potential, but not as an individual unit, but more so in correlation with other technical and other values in the vicinity (the river Idrijca, Divje jezero, forest railroad). Klavže are easily accessible, with the only real obstacle being the narrow and badly maintained dirt road. The object is furnished with an info-board.

CTRIA HCC RoT Občina Jesenice CMS PAT PRA UNSPMF Chamber of Economy of Vojvodina