Projekt Izgubljene kočevarske vasi

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The former village of the Gottschee Germans is situated in a hilly country, next to a road Struge–Kočevje. German word Tiefenthal means »deep in a valley«. The settlement originates from 1558, when Count Franc Blagay – a leaseholder of The Kočevje County – allowed to his subjects to clear land for making an inhabitable space. At the time of its formation, Tieffenthal counted three whole estates, which were divided into six halfway farms with nine landlords, according to the Kočevje Registry Book. This meant 35-40 inhabitants of the village. 


Looking into The Franciscan Cadastral Register from 1824, one sees mostly wooden residential houses along the eastern side of road. The land was divided into narrow, but regular parts, so the buildings were close one next to the other, showing the shortest side to the road. Behind the residential houses were lines of the farming edifices, orchards, cultivated fields, pastures and woods. The farmers had the parcels of farmland also at the other side of road. 

Until 1880 the number of villagers was growing, so in 19 houses 131 people were living then. But, like other villages all over the Kočevje Region, people were leaving Vrbovec to get their living on the other side of Atlantic Sea. In 1910 23 houses had only 77 inhabitants left. A trend of emigration continued in the following decade. The last official census in The Royal Yugoslavia (1931) recorded only 57 inhabitants. Eight of 21 houses remained empty and one was ruined. With few exceptions, just the Gottschee Germans were living in the village. Among 1880 and 1910, the Austrian censuses counted two or nine »Slovenians«. The Yugoslavian census in 1921 counted only one and later on here was no person of Slovenian origin anymore.

The majority of population made living by farming and foresting as well as by hawking – the typical activity of the Gottschees. In the village, there were two fairs each year. But the progress of the village was obstructed by deficit of water resources. The villagers collectively got the water from a modest reservoir – a cask. 

A school and a parish church were at Polom (3 km away), along with a graveyard. There, two tombstones are preserved: one for Alois Hönigman from Vrbovec No. 11 and the other for Johann Hönigman from Vrbovec No. 10. The village belonged to the Municipality Polom until 1933. After the small municipalities’ uniting, it belonged to Stari Log (11 km away). 

After the occupation, in 1941 the entire Kočevje Region became part of The Royal Italy, which made inhabitants of Vrbovec and other villages of the Gottschee Germans disappointed, as they wanted to live inside the German Reich. So they left the Kočevje Region in the winter of 1941 to live next to Sava- and Sotla river (Lower Styria), as the area there should become a part of German state. On 2. 12. 1941 53 people left 12 houses in Vrbovec. 

After they departed, the village remained empty and after the end of war all 16 houses were not suitable for use. The land became property of the state, as it was confiscated. After the war, occasionally there were up to three families, but after 1981 there was nobody in the village anymore. In the last two decades, Vrbovec is revived as a holiday settlement. 

The Church of St Mary of the Snow and The Chapel of St Thomas

It is assumed that The Church of St Mary of the Snow was built soon after the formation of Vrbovec (in the middle of 16th century) as a subsidiary church. But the building, which was preserved until World War II, was probably erected a century later. It was mentioned by the name Maria Hülff in Tiefenthal by Valvasor in 1689. According to a legend, the villagers raised the church to honour St Mary after it was snowing during one summer. 

The church was a destination for pilgrimages. During the second quarter of the 18th century it was enlarged and redesigned in the baroque manner. A ground plan shows a square nave and a three-sided presbytery. 

After World War II the sanctuary was not used anymore and it slowly decayed. The church was pulled down in 1951. The new settlers have cleared the location of church, so one can see its’ ground plan again. 

The Chapel of St Thomas was built next to a road to Mala Gora, approx. 2 km away from the village. One can still see two pillars and a part of wall. 

The archaeologists and speleologists jointly explored Vrbovška- or Popisana jama (the later meaning “written-all-over”) – a Carts cave, lying approx. 1,5 km southern of the village. They found traces of a pre-historical settlement.

Predstavitev vasi v besedi in sliki

  • All
  • Borovec Pri Kočevki Reki
  • Czmk
  • GLAŽUTA, Karlshütten, Gloschhittn
  • INLAUF, Inlauf, Inlaf
  • Izgubljene Kočevarske Vasi
  • JELENDOL, Hirisgruben
  • KUKOVO, Rapljevo, Kukundorf, Kukndoarf
  • Mitja Ferenc
  • Morobitz
  • Mröbitz
  • Nemška Loka, Unterdeutschau, Agə
  • ONEK, Honegg, Wrneggə
  • RAJHENAV, Reichenau, Reichenagə
  • Rajndol, Reintal, Reintol
  • Tvkocevje
  • VERDRENG Podlesje, Verdreng, Vərdreng