Veno Pilon's favourite motifs
A legacy of fine arts inspiration
Ajdovščina, today's centre of the upper Vipava Valley, is a mighty interesting town. On every step you can see an unusual building or the lingering remnants of local creativity throughout the centuries. The River Hubelj, an abundant source of water power, enabled Ajdovščina to develop industry early in the global scope. The curious beginnings are remembered by many picturesque artefacts, such as Johman's Mill right in the centre of town, which in late 19th century proudly stood as the greatest roller mill in the entire Austro-Hungarian Empire. Passing on, you can stroll by the remnants of the ancient Roman Castra fortifications to reach the old artisan hub Pale, where the educational trail starts by the River Hubelj. The popular walking trail is steep but nice and comfortable. Along the right bank of the River Hubelj, pleasantly shaded by trees and caressed by the calming murmur of water, you will ascend to the settlement Fužine. By the trail you can see the remnants of an old power plant which once powered a mill and sawmill.
The higher you get, the further into the past you'll be going. Above the old power plant is a river crossing, then heading past the ruins of the rolling mill a mighty ironworks built in mid-16th century, a pinnacle of historical technological heritage along the Hubelj River. From there, a couple minutes' walk will take you to the river's source, magnificent to witness right after rain when the water is bursting forth from the porous side of the hill.
You can return downtown down an asphalt road, or opt to once again enjoy the primordial beauty of the mountain stream bed, going back the same way you arrived. Near the old town square, today named the Lavrič Square, your eyes are bound to wander to the curiously coloured facade of the Pilon homestead where the Pilon Gallery resides. Having witnessed the fascinating technological heritage of centuries past, another welcoming treat is the painting opus of Veno Pilon whose artworks often deal with the historical legacy of his birthplace. Veno Pilon, painter, graphic artist and photographer ranks among the most important representatives of Slovene fine arts. Though most of his creative life was spent in Paris, his heart was always close to home Ajdovščina. Pilon's extraordinary works of art display an invaluable record of an age, featuring marvellous representations of early industrial buildings, once the solid symbols of economic progress.
Touring the gallery, a pristine culinary adventure awaits right across the street. The wine bar and food shop Faladur is found in a restored Roman tower, offering tastings of select Vipava Valley wines and craft beers as well as traditional home dishes.
Technological heritage can be colourfully explained by a tourist guide. When walking to the source of the River Hubelj, you're advised to wear hiking shoes.