Luxury of freedom

Old town of Metlika

Among other storeyed houses by the old city ramparts, in the Mestni trg square (Town Square) facing the Church of St Nicholas, Provosts House, and Commandry the administrative seat of the former Teutonic Order, stands the building that was home to the first national reading society in the Dolenjska region and the Bela krajina region. The former pharmacy building featuring the relief of the Holy Trinity, and the Town Hall with a faade concluding in pinnacles and bearing Metlikas metallic coat of arms are also located in this square. Memorial plaques remind us of significant Slovenes who were born and working in Metlika. The mighty castle in the Trg svobode square (Freedom Square) houses the Museum of Bela Krajina, a wedding hall and the Tourist Information Centre. A memorial park has been set up in front of the castle, displaying statues and plaques commemorating the fallen during the National Liberation Struggle of WWII. Busts of notable Bela krajina natives have also been erected nearby.

The building of the first savings and loan bank in Bela krajina and in the wider Dolenjska region, and Slovenian Fire-Fighters Museum displaying the collection of Slovenias first fire fighting organisation, are also in the Trg Svobode square.

The Partizanski trg square begins where the entry to the town was once protected by means of a tower and town gates. Standing out among the structures in the square are the Trade Home and the former primary school building, which served also as the officers school of the National Liberation Struggles headquarters.

The Kambič gallery is located by the main road, not far from the old town core. It houses a lavish collection of artworks that were donated to Metlika by the academic Prof. Dr Vinko Kambič and his wife, Vilma Bukovec, a well known operatic prima donna. The largest wine cellar of Bela krajina in the spaces of the agricultural cooperative is also nearby.

Not far from Metlika lies the village of Gradac, where the Slovenian Red Cross was first established in 1944. In 1999 the memorial collection of the Slovenian Red Cross was put on permanent display there.

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