Iron Forging Museum
Kropa 10, 4245 Kropa
Phone:+386 (0)4 533 72 00, +386 (0)4 533 72 01
Fax: +386 (0)4 533 72 05

Joža Eržen
Kropa - Iron Forging Museum

is a settlement with a couple of hundred of years of iron working and blacksmithing tradition. It is one of the most important Slovenian historic places because of its preserved architecture and technical heritage. It has been protected as a cultural monument since the year 1953. It started to develop in 14th century when the forest iron work industry started to move from iron ore deposits on Jelovica towards valleys and brooks. The remnants of autochthon smelting furnace (Slovenian furnace) near Kropa come from this time.

In 15th century, there were two smelting furnaces that were built lower in the valley, Spodnja and Zgornja fužina, and forges for spike manufacture. Over 100 different types of spikes for sale at home and abroad were attested; the most typical among them are nails of the so called Mediterranean assortment. In the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, the time of greatest proliferation of Kropa iron works, there were also 2 iron foundries in addition to 7 forges, that took care of producing semi-manufactured goods and 19 spike-forges that jointly provided daily bread for a little over 1000 people. Smelting furnaces were in operation since 1872 and 1880. The lower smelting furnace started to grow into factory plant for manufacture of nails at the end of 19th century with the foundation of industrial cooperative (1894) and later became the screw factory Plamen. Artistic iron works began to develop. 

Iron forging museum

The museum is located in the central part of the old square, in Klinar house, which is an example of better-off iron master's architecture with building elements from 18th and 19thcentury. The first floor, which used to serve as an apartment of iron master's family, preserved its typical central room, a saloon which features cassette ceiling that is completed by three baroque canvases. 

The Iron forging museum was opened in 1952 as the first Technical museum in Slovenia. It shows technical and historical development of iron handling from ore to spike, economic, social and cultural conditions in Kropa and nearby iron working location since 15thcentury until decline of iron works in 19th century and spike-making handicraft in 20th century. 
Documents represent historic foundations of iron works in Kropa and the models show the image of the settlement in the 19th century, working of iron foundries, forges and bellows.

zbirka zebljevThe museum became richer for 42 artistically forged works by the master Joža Bertoncelj in 1974. They are displayed in a special room within the museum. 

The ethnological room shows the life of smiths from Kropa, exposing their co-existence with iron foundry masters in big iron foundry houses.

The collection of spikes has 94 types of preserved spikes, from the smallest, used in shoemaking, to those that are 70 cm long and were used in dam building.

Zbirka zebljevThe exhibition also features specimen of special shoemaking spikes for manufacture of mountain footwear that were forged manually in Kropa until the middle of fifties of the 20th century.

The projection room on the ground floor (accessible also to disabled persons) shows two Slovenian films by Milka and Metod Badjura, The blacksmiths of Kropa from year 1954 and Carol-singers from 1963.

The first one shows the work and life of blacksmiths and the other one shows the custom of Carol singing. Both films feature numerous residents of Kropa as actors. 

Vigenjc ViceThe museum also includes technical monument vigenjc Vice, the only preserved spike-forge for manual forging of spikes. This is an authentically preserved, partly wooden and partly brick built building from 18th century where spikes were still forged in the first half of the 20th century. A visit with display of manual forging is possible for previously appointed groups. It is located near the museum on a plain adjacent to dam of former ironworks in upper part of Kropa.

Iron Forging Museum, Kropa 10, 4245 Kropa, Phone: +386 (0)4 533 72 00, Fax:+386 (0)4 533 72 05 E-mail: