Museum area Stara Sava

Where friends and acquaintances meet, where time seems to stand still...

Author: Nik Bertoncelj

Stara Sava

The old centre of Jesenice, located at the confluence of the Sava Dolinka River and the Ukova Torrent, dreams old dreams and breathes the rich tradition of ironworks. It is the central part of the city of Jesenice, which was formed at the confluence of the Sava River and the Ukova torrent. It is distinguished by an extremely rich ironworking tradition, which is visible at almost every step. The ironworks buildings were the heart of the settlement on the Stara Sava and are still standing today: Bucelleni-Ruard Manor, the Church of St. Mary's Assumption, the workers' residential house, the remains of a blast furnace with a puddling mill, the already renovated blast furnace chimney, the millpond, and the mill. The ironworks settlement Stara Sava in Jesenice has been proclaimed a cultural monument of national importance.

All of the buildings have been preserved in a relatively small area and are linked to form a meaningful whole that will be used for museum, cultural, and tourist activities. They are linked by the square, which, with its new look, is becoming a new centre for social events in Jesenice, a gathering and meeting place.

Bucelleni-Ruard Manor

In 1538, the Italian family Bucelleni moved to Stara Sava. They built a manor and a foundry, which earned a lot of money in a short period of time. The family became the owner of ironmaking plants and mines in the entire Upper Sava valley. In the 17th century, the family was awarded a noble title. They became barons with the title "von Reichenberg", which is the German name for their rich mines in the Sava Caves. The Bucelleni even received the count's honour in 1686, but their fame was already fading at that point. The Bucelleni’s were forced to sell their plants and the manor due to problems with ironmaking, which was a key component of their success.

In 1766, the property and assets were purchased by the Belgian merchant Valentin Ruard. Three generations of the Ruards lived in the manor. Valentin's son Leopold was the mayor of Jesenice in the time of the Illyrian Provinces (1809-1813). His son Viktor unsuccessfully tried to modernise the ironworks production. As a result, ownership of the Sava plants and manor house passed to the Carniolan Industrial Company in 1871. Later on, the manor premises were changed into apartments for clerks. In 1954, the manor house was converted into a museum, and today the manor house is undergoing restoration.

The Barracks Residential house

A Barrack or Kasarna is a late Baroque building dating from the end of the 18th century. During the Napoleon wars it served as barracks for French soldiers, and later on, it was changed into homes for workers' families. The building was completely renovated in 2005. Today it houses the Music School Jesenice and Upper Sava Museum Jesenice. This is where the worker's apartment from the 1930s and 1940s was reconstructed, showing the lifestyle of ironmaking families in the former Jesenice workers' settlement. Workshops for all age groups are organised in the Kasarna, and they have an even smaller gallery, photo library and archive of the Carniolan Industrial Company.

Church of the Assumption of Mary on Stara Sava in Jesenice

The church was built by the Bucelleni’s and consecrated by the Bishop of Ljubljana Tomaž Hren in 1606. It is known for its high altar, made of black marble. Until its closure in the 1950s, it was decorated by paintings, made by Venetian painter Nicolo Grassi (1682-1748), author of three altar paintings: St. Mary's Assumption, Mary of Rosary with St. Dominic and Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony the Great with an antique martyr.


The blast furnace as the heart of the ironworks was designed as early as the 16th century. A number of modifications followed. The last and the largest occurred in the second half of the 19th century. With the construction of modern ironworks, the facilities were abandoned and severely damaged by the ravages of time. Conservation interventions stopped further deterioration and turned them into an open-air museum where visitors can learn about former iron-making technology.


The exterior is hard and unpolished like the coal that once accumulated under the wide roof. A charcoal warehouse - kolpern - stood next to the blast furnace, where charcoal was used to smelt iron ore. A map from 1808 shows a smaller square building in the area west of today's Kolpern. The building was later renovated and presented in an 1868 cadastre as part of three interconnected warehouses. With the abandonment of blast furnaces at the end of the 19th century, their purpose changed. Only one building has remained, which was renovated in 2009 by the Municipality of Jesenice. Today it has a space for cultural and protocol events, which can be held in two halls.