8th BIG BERRY Mastermind 2018: Janez Weiss
How much do you actually know about the history of the region you’re living in? The BIG BERRY story began 3 years ago by the Kolpa river in Bela krajina, and we are still at the beginning of our adventure. On the other side, Bela krajina has a noteworthy history, and we were proud to host historian Janez Weiss as our 8th Mastermind to talk more about historical insights on this region. We had a large number of people listening to this interesting presentation. Our partner RIC Bela krajina made sure that other historians got the chance to participate and people from other countries gathered at our resort.
‘’I’m entangled in history. One of my earliest memories is reading a book together with my grandfather.’’
Janez started describing the history of Bela krajina before the 15th century. The region was actually a fully developed feudal landscape on the border of Holy Roman Empire. Many revenues derived through its excellent economic and political connections with Croatia and Slavonia. Regarding the population, we can only guess the number at that time. A broad approximation would amount to around 7.000 people, 4 times smaller than today’s number. When talking about ethnic groups, Janez said that the population consisted mostly of slavic population using Carniolian language (kranjski jezik), an ancestor of today’s Slovene. Specific was the Kolpa river area, where a mix of slovenian-Croatian dialect was spoken. It’s interesting that nowadays people from Bela krajina understand the Croatian language too.
''You sail through time, read original sources, the words by long forgotten people and that is one of the biggest enjoyments for me.''
Janez explained how Ottoman incursions and attacks on Bela krajina started depopulation of the region, further leading to migrations of different populations from the Balkans. This lead to the creation of different social groups like Uskoki, which functioned mostly as military. Janez explained how this social group caused many challenges for Bela krajina and how there were many complaints regarding them. Convivance - or how Janez said ‘Zusammenleben’- actually developed from the late 19th century onwards, which is a very interesting fact.
‘’I can’t understand anything if it has no musical component.’’
After the talk, we enjoyed a little small talk with food and wine. Janez had time to relax a bit and was happy to do a short interview afterwards. Did you know that he also plays a guitar in his free time? You can check out his bands and their performances here and here. Be sure to see the interview and the full Mastermind talk below!