I have always liked to modestly regard myself as a bit of a Slovenia expert, especially when it comes to its tourist areas. If someone was to ask me about the country’s lakes, the mind inevitably turns to Bohinj and Bled; to a lesser extent, the Triglav lakes above Bohinj including Crno Jezero are also more than worthy of a mention, albeit due to their wonderful inaccessibility to all but the most ardent hikers.
A further lake in Slovenia has though recently piqued my interest, one I must profess to hitherto having little or no knowledge on. Lake Ptuj(Ptuj Jezero) eponymously named after the town situated close to the Hungarian and Croatian frontiers, will attract shrugs of indifference or complete ignorance from British tour-operators and many Slovenophiles but this area of Stajerska(Styria) is synonymous with a depth of culture and tradition befitting Slovenia’s oldest town. At this time of year Shrovetide is celebrated by the Kurent carnival, described in Steve Fallon’s Lonely Planet guide to Slovenia as a “god of unrestrained pleasure and hedonism”. For all the trappings of modernity and the freedoms secured after the breakup of Yugoslavia, long-held traditions and lore still have a great emphasis placed upon them in today’s Slovenia.
The epithet “jezero” is where the similarities end between Lake Ptuj and Slovenia’s alpine lakes. An artificial lagoon, its primary function has been to produce hydro-electricity but is in fact controlled by the Ranca Boat Club, the custodians who are now seeking to work in harmony with the Drava Power Stations to realise the lake’s potential as an economic driver for the area, subject to funding being secured from the European Union. Being part of Nature 2000, the network of protected areas spanning the EU, has potentially put any further development of Lake Ptuj in jeopardy, such are the criteria of being included under the Nature 2000 banner. These areas are considered to be environmentally sensitive and highly susceptible to the vagaries of human intervention. The very status though that Lake Ptuj has under the protection of Nature 2000 will in fact assist with its application for centrally acquired funding, with ecotourism being at the very forefront of its plans for the future. This is particularly heartening, especially as the lake is seemingly ‘shared’ between business and pleasure, whilst keeping environmental impact to a minimum.
Further details on this issue can be read at: RTV Slovenia: Lake Ptuj plans for an exciting future