6 December 2023 – On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, the Association of Historic Towns of Slovenia officially opened the renovated space of its new Heritage Learning Laboratory in Škofja Loka. The new space was created as part of the School Renovation for New Generations project, which is supported by the Norway Grants.
The former town hall, the Stari Rotovž, which has graced Škofja Loka’s town square since the 16th century, was abandoned for more than a decade and renovated as part of the School of Renovation for New Generations project. The renovated space will be used primarily to train primary school teachers to integrate cultural heritage content into the curriculum, in line with the new curricula being developed under the project.
The complex renovation of the building was led by the Municipality of Škofja Loka with the assistance of project partners and the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, which carried out restoration work on the building. In the process, various phases from at least five hundred years of the building’s history were uncovered. The finds discovered during the work tell the stories of the construction techniques, the skills of the craftsmen and artisans, the materials and process used, the stonework and other details, the paint and painting patterns that have transformed the building over the centuries. The new space will be a true learning laboratory, with 13 professionally presented probes that will serve to learn about cultural heritage, the laws of construction and handicraft skills. The renovated space will be tested in January next year as part of the Renovation School for a New Generation project.
In addition to the members of the association and the project partners, the new space was visited by State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture Matevž Čelik, Director of the Directorate for Cultural Heritage Špela Spanžel and representatives of the Building Research Institute of Slovenia (ZAG), which is a leading scientific research institution in the field of building construction in Slovenia and is also actively involved in the preservation of cultural heritage.
After a tour of the space, the participants opened a discussion on the preservation and renovation of the built heritage in old town centres. They also reflected together on the importance of unifying approaches to renovation and increasing activity in this field, as well as on the successful restoration and revitalisation of built heritage.
The highlight of the event was the celebratory event in the cultural hall of the Sokol House, which was dedicated to the opening of the new learning laboratory and the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Community of Ancient Towns in the Republic of Slovenia, the predecessor of the Association of Historic Towns of Slovenia.
The project School of Renovation for New Generations is co-created by the project promoter, The Association of Historic Towns of Slovenia, with partners The University of Primorska, The Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, The Ivan Grohar Primary School, the Municipality of Škofja Loka, MAGMA Geopark AS (NOR) and The Škofja Loka School Centre.