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A Historical Outline

and Vrčice in the municipality of Semič. This district’s German area encompassed 7% of villages, 5% of houses, and 4% of the population. In 2018 this area belongs to seven administrative units (municipalities), the majority of which are included in the municipality of Kočevje, with the exception of several villages in the south, along the Kolpa River, and in the valley Poljanska Dolina. In the east, the municipality of Dolenjske Toplice includes the western part of Kočevski Rog (Podstenice) and villages in Črmošnjiška Dolina (Kočevske Poljane, Stare Žage, Mali Rigelj, Občice, Nova Gora, Laze, and Travni Dol). Three areas of approximately the same size belong to the municipalities of Loški Potok, Črnomelj, and Semič. In the west, the municipality of Loški Potok includes villages in Dragarska Dolina (Draga, Glažuta, Trava, Srednja Vas, Podpreska, and Lazec); to the southeast, in the municipality of Semič its western half, i.e. the former settlements in the southwestern outskirts of Kočevski Rog; and in the municipality of Črnomelj the villages of Mavrlen, Doblička Gora, Miklarji, Rodine, Stražnji Vrh, and Bistrica. The smallest parts are located to the northwest and to the north, in the municipalities of Ribnica (Grčarske Ravne and Grčarice) and Dobrepolje (Kukovo). The majority of the population, about 14,800 out of a total of 17,300 people, lives in Kočevje and its surroundings, in Kočevsko and Mezeljsko Polje; more than half of the population lives in Kočevje alone. Dragarska Planota and several settlements in the valleys Kočevskoreška Dolina and Črmošnjiška Dolina, and the outskirts of Kočevski Rog above White Carniola are still populated, while other areas are practically uninhabited. Bearing in mind the fate that befell the Kočevje region, the remnants that would bear witness to the area having been settled by Germans are few and far between. 112 settlements out of a total of 176 were burnt down or destroyed in some other way; they are either non-existing at the present or consist of one or two inhabited houses. Many of them are still included in the Republic of Slovenia’s official lists of settlements; however, their traces would not be found easily. Nowadays, there are only 101 settlements, 70 of which are located in the municipality of Kočevje, six in the municipality of Loški Potok, two in the municipality of Ribnica, six in the municipality of Črnomelj, nine in the municipality of Semič, and eight in the municipality of Dolenjske Toplice. As many as 20 settlements are uninhabited, the majority of which lies in the municipality of Kočevje; a house or ruins still stand in some of them, but mostly they lack any extant remnants.

The Kočevje book of privileges dated to 27 June 1642 (The Kočevje Regional Museum). The original document issued by Emperor Friedrich III in 1471 was destroyed in a fire in 1596, when the entire archive was demolished. The charter’s text was renewed by Emperor Ferdinand III, when he confirmed the town privileges on 27 June 1642; the original is kept in the Kočevje Regional Museum.

the karstic, stony and forested terrain, which is rather unsuitable for arable farming due to its climate, postponed the area’s colonization. Nevertheless, Slovenes somewhat accessed the area before the arrival of the German colonists, exploited it economically, and occasionally even settled some areas, albeit rather sparsely. The German settlement of the Kočevje region is associated with the House of Ortenburg, which obtained ownership of the area in 1247. As one of the last uninhabited areas in Slovene ethnic territory the region was settled in the fourteenth century by the German population, in some places along with Slovenes. The Ortenburgs resettled serfs from their estates in Upper Carinthia and eastern Tyrol to this sparsely inhabited, forested area in modern-day Slovenia in the 1330s, and particularly in the 1350s and early 1360s. Erich Petschauer argues that the Ortenburgs initially might have brought

The German settlement The Kočevje region, a remote, karstified, forested landscape that is not easily passable, was settled at a relatively late point. The Slovene internal colonization halted mostly on its fringes. The remoteness and infertility of

Carl Postl, the town and castle of Kočevje, 1864. (The Miran Jarc Library, Novo Mesto)


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Lost Gottschee villages in Slovenia: Part 1A–J  

The first part of the historical and topographical survey of the Kočevje region entitled The Lost Villages of Gottschee is an update of the...

Lost Gottschee villages in Slovenia: Part 1A–J  

The first part of the historical and topographical survey of the Kočevje region entitled The Lost Villages of Gottschee is an update of the...