Šmartno pri Litiji Municipality

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Contact - Šmartno pri Litiji municipality

Občina Šmartno pri Litiji
Tomazinova ul. 2
1275 Šmartno pri Litiji

T: (+386) 01/8962-770
F: (+386) 0590-97-480
E: info@smartno-litija.si

• Monday
08.00 - 12.00
13.00 - 15.00
• Wednesday
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13.00 - 17.00
• Friday
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History of Šmartno pri Litiji Municipality

The origins of the settlement can be traced back into the early Iron Age. It extended from the eastern Roje slope to Kusovna, where the remains of prehistoric and early medieval vessels have been found. Šmartno first appeared in historic sources in 1135, when the first vicar of Šmartno was mentioned.

Šmartno statue

Archaeological finds prove that the Šmartno area was inhabited as early as the prehistoric ages. Prehistoric settlements have been found on the Tičnica Hill above Šmartno, in Slatna, on the Cvinger Hill near Jeze, in Gradišče above Jablanica, Oblak near Bogenšperk, Podroje, Brezje, Dvor near Javor, Velika Kostrevnica, Šumprek and Gradišče near Vintarjevec.

Both the Kostrevnica Valley and the Črni Potok Valley connected the Zasavje and Dolenjska Regions. An important road lead from the Vače of the Iron Age across the areas nowadays referred to as the Litija and Šmartno areas, into the Črni Potok Valley, to the Debeče saddle, and from there towards the major centres at Stična, on the Magdalenska gora Hill, and at Novo mesto, and into the Krka Valley. Some of the most interesting finds, which testify to the Illyrian culture of the Iron Age as well as the importance of metal craft, originate from Velika Kostrevnica (barrows with earthen and bronze burial objects) and Vintarjevec.

In 1931, the locals dug up an Iron Age barrow containing a male skeleton and exquisite burial objects (iron spearhead, iron lance point, iron socketed axe, bronze fibulas, bracelets, earring, anklets, belt buckles, etc.). Small barrows were also found around the Vintarjevec church, which site had probably been the burial grounds of the indigenous inhabitants from the Gradišče settlement. Research reveals that the well fortified settlement may have lasted almost 700 years, reaching its peak in the late Iron Age. Eight ruined houses were found with valuable artefacts, one of them being an inscribed stone of Venetian origin. It is not certain why the settlement was ruined in the 2nd century AD. The finds in one of the houses indicate that the inhabitants left it in a hurry, perhaps due to the Marcomanni invasion; however, there is no firm evidence to support this claim.

The data on the life in this area during the classical antiquity, the Migration Period, the Middle Ages and later periods are scarce. What is known is that the Romans already exploited the mine on the Sitarjevec Hill. The mines in the Cvinger Hill area near Jeze were intensely exploited in the Middle Ages. Traces of an old smelter and tunnels have been discovered south of the Slatna Castle, while tunnels can also be found in the area of the Velika dolina, Šimenček, Slatna and Ojsterman Valleys. Šmartno was presumably connected to the Maljek mine by means of a four-kilometre tunnel, completed in 1648, which came to the surface at the chapel. The inscription on Christof Brukherschmid’s tombstone erected in 1537 at the Šmartno church testifies to the importance of mining in the Šmartno area, as it says, “God bless the noble miners”. In the 16th century, the mining and smelting industry reached its first peak. At the time, lead ore was only extracted in the Litija area, whence it was exported at first to Hungary and later mostly to Italy.

Šmartno pri LitijiEver since the ancient times, Šmartno has been a strong administrative, parish and school centre with a well developed craft industry. The Šmartno tax municipality area bordered the Stična and Višnja Gora Districts. It was within a ten mile distance from the county centre Novo mesto. The municipality comprised the clustered villages Šmartno and Ustje, the Grmače estate and Slatna Castle. The parish and school were under the Stična district imperial authority patronage. According to the 1830 population census, Šmartno was at the time inhabited by 309 men and 332 women, who resided in 108 houses and 146 apartments. In addition, 69 men and 82 women lived in Ustje, in 20 houses and 31 families. The total number of inhabitants thus amounted to 792. 129 of these were farmers, 44 were engaged in craft industry and farming, 2 of them were priests and one was a teacher. Among the craftsmen, there were 3 tanners, 5 blacksmiths, 2 shoemakers, 2 millers, 1 mason, 1 joiner, 4 petty tradesmen, 2 butchers, 2 river boat owners, 1 painter, 1 saddler, 1 locksmith and 19 innkeepers. The inhabitants mainly ate vegetables (cabbages, potatoes, turnips, beans), millet and buckwheat groats, as well as buckwheat, barley and corn bread. Meat was only put on the table on holidays and special occasions. Altogether, people bred 20 horses, 60 oxen, 120 cows, 60 calves and 140 pigs. Horses and pigs were mainly bought in Styria and Croatia. Cattle were mainly bred at home; during the summers they were herded in the pastures and woods, and after the harvest in the meadows and fields. The land was divided into the demesne (manorial) land and rural (subjects’) land. There were 7 full farmers (9-12 acres of arable land), 5 three-quarter farmers (7-8 acres), 13 half farmers (4-6 acres), 32 quarter farmers (2-4 acres) and 57 cottagers (half to one acre of arable land). The subjects were subordinate to the following landlords: the Stična state lords, the Slatna lords, the Bogenšperk and Grmače mansions, the Štanga and Grbin estates, the Šmartno presbytery and the benefice on the hill. Wheat tithes were levied by the Stična state lords. The hunting rights were claimed by the Slatna lords, as well as the Črni Potok and Grmače estates. The Slatna Castle, the Grmače estate, the presbytery and several craftsmen’s houses were storey houses, stone built and shingled. The rest of the houses outside Šmartno were mostly wooden houses, straw covered and without chimneys.

The oldest house in Šmartno, built on a hill in 1580, used to be the property of the Lichtenchalter benefice. In the second half of the 17th century, it housed the Mollerey printmaking and painting workshop.

The old Šmartno town centre grew around the central square and the neogothic Church of St. Martin, which was designed by Adolf Wagner and constructed between 1899 and 1901. The building boasts a gothic baroquely ribbed vault and two baroque chapels. The main altar and pulpit were crafted in 1901 by the stonecutter Feliks Toman, while the side altars were built a year later. Between 1911 and 1913 the church was painted by Anton Jebačin (vaults, Stations of the Cross and transepts). The side chapel has inbuilt tombstones with inscriptions and relief images in memory of noble Erazem Wagensperg (from 1533), Jurij Smuk, a vicar of Šmartno (from 1533), Krištof Brukerschmied, the mine and smelter owner (from 1533) and noble Erazem Lichtenberg (from 1566). In the Šmartno surroundings, ore was extracted as early as the prehistoric ages. In the 15th century, lead mines were situated under the Slatna Castle, near the villages Tepe and Fužine, in Zagorica and in Sitarjevec. The Sitarjevec mine continued operation until 1951.

In the past, iron industry was one of the most developed industries in this region. There were foundries along the Germanšček stream with four forges and water powered hammers. The main products were ploughs, ploughshares, axes and large farm tools, which were then sold around Carniola and Styria. Besides the iron industry, trading and various craft industries flourished as well; the most common were tannery, shoemaking and inn-keeping.

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