Welcome to the Land of Charcoal

The Land of Charcoal with its centre in Dole pri Litiji lays in the municipalities Litija and Trebnje, in the local communities Dole pri Litiji and Šentrupert. Locally speaking, we can place the area into central Slovenia, between Posavsko hribovje and Dolenjsko gričevje, south of the Sava river, bordered by the Sopota river in the east, Jatna in the west while in the south it reaches all the way to Dolenjsko gričevje by Šentrupert. It is located quite far from bigger towns and municipality centres.

Access to the Land of Charcoal is possible from several directions by good, well kept roads; from Litija via Gabrovka or via Velika Preska, from Radeče down the valley of Sopota and from Dolenjska through Mirna and Tihaboj or via Šentrupert.

Present days charcoal burners have learnt charcoal burning mostly from their parents, the rest of them have learnt the technique from relatives and neighbors and some of them from professional charcoal burners whom they had assisted when they had been burning charcoal in the vicinity. The last one, of course, was the learning method of burners who are a little older. Every charcoal burner believes it is better to load thin wood or low quality logs into a charcoal pile rather than leaving it rot in the forest or by the grassland. For many of them, charcoal burning means an additional source of income at the farm. As many as 96% of charcoal burners are pure farmers or retired at farms. Besides charcoal burning, farmers are mostly engaged in stock-farming and milk production and in a smaller extent also in bee-keeping and horse-breeding. The share of income from trade with other forest assortments is not small either. There is a habit at Dole that the entire family works at charcoal burning. Many women know how to load the pile and cook it and they can replace charcoal burners in caset hey work elsewhere. In as many as 60% of charcoal burning families children know the technique of loading and cooking as they have been helping their parents since they were very young.

Today only 40 % of charcoal burners have their charcoal pile sites in the forest and the rest of them in the agricultural community, in the direct vicinity of their homes. Average age of the charcoal burners, when they started with charcoal burning, was 18 years.

Dole has terrains adequate for horse-riding, hiking and bike tours, as well as skiing which all represent a great opportunity for sports enthusiasts. To spend a night with a charcoal burner or sleep in a charcoal-burner’s hut is undoubtedly an adventure. Drawing and creating with charcoal could attract artists of different profiles. We must not forget charcoal burning days, a hike along Charcoal path … which all join the local people in joint actions, joint appearance on the market under charcoal burning trade mark.

In the Land of Charcoal charcoal piles in different stages can be found throughout the year in a rather small area. This gives us the chance to link different places into a charcoal thematic path, with the addition of other specific elements of the area as rich natural and cultural heritage.

oglarska pot

Charcoal path

Dear visitor, explorer, friend of Land of Charcoal!

Traditional hike through the Land of charcoal is thematic round trip. It will lead you nearby charcoalburning homestads, charcoal piles, many natural jewels and seals of cultural heritage. Most of hikers need about four hours to finish twelve km of marked path. No extra phisical capacity is needed, but we recommend apropriate clothes and shoes for grass, forest and asphalt. We do our best for visitors. Volunteers of many local clubs and societies are happy to welcome you and answer your questions. Satisfied guests are what metters for us indeed.

With 1 we marked start and finish point. It's near hunters cottage in Kal pri Dolah. Here you'll take tickets, we'll offer you warm herbal tea and explain signs and path marking. Local hunters will host you here with warm meal when you'll return back from hike.

Wild animal diversity of our area is amazing. Besides deer and wild boar we can occasionally see brown bear, black stork, stinking beetle, black vein and some protected rare birds. In some water streams it's still possible to find noble crayfish. All this is just a prove of untouched nature.

To maintain a balance between wild life and nutritional capacity of enviroment is the main goal of hunting organisations all over the world. With right hunting structure and proper feeding they minimize deseases among wild animals and lower damage caused by animals in agricultural land.

With 2 and 6 we marked only two points in villages Suhadole and Slavina where you can meet charcoal burners. You can find them all the way along the path and they are always happy to show you what they've learned from their grandfathers.

Charcoal burning is a great tradition in Dole and for many people simply way of living. They burn more than thirty charcoal piles per year, some of them near their homes, the others on more than 2,000 ha of the forest. Technique of charcoal burning was brought by Italians in the middle of ninteenth century.

For a better quality of charcoal or for a more even carbonization of the charcoal pile, selection of the charcoal pile site is very important. The charcoal pile site must be flat, slightly elevated in the centre, with an inclination of about 5 % which enables water and distillates to flow away.

The quality of charcoal depends on species of wood and it's characteristics: humidity, age, soundness, form and dimensions. Nowadays, charcoal is made mostly of broadleaved trees while the share of conifers is negligible and is usually added to broadleaved wood in smaller quantities. Heavy charcoal is obtained from: beech, sessile oak, turkey oak, maples, ash-tree, European mountain ash, pear, crab apple. Lighter charcoal is obtained from: alder, birch, elm-tree, poplar, willow, lime, cherry.

Charcoal burners bring logs around the site and then they start stacking them. In the centre of the charcoal pile site charcoal burners ram in three, about 5 cm thick, straight poles, in a form of a triangle with sides from 25 to 35 cm. On the bottom, most charcoal burners put two splinters in a form of a cross for good luck at charcoal burning. Around the pith, charcoal burners start stacking logs in a form of rings. Fat wood is stacked in the centre because the temperature around the pith is the highest and this kind of stacking corresponds to distribution of temperature in the pile. Most frequently charcoal burners make piles with two layers of logs and they form the head of the pile on the upper layer. When the charcoal burner cuts off pith poles on top of the head, the pile is loaded.

Before putting up a layer of earth, charcoal burners cover the pile with a layer of pine needles, foliage, hay or fresh grass. To prevent air to break into the pile, it must be coated with pure humus soil.

Carbonization means physical and chemical process of transformation of wood into charcoal. It runs at a temperature from 240 °C to 280 °C. From lighting to unloading the pile, it takes most of the charcoal burner’s time, as with a middle sized charcoal pile carbonization lasts from two to three weeks.

After cooking the pile is left at least two days to cool down. At the very end charcoal burners undo the pile around the fire-place. They usually fill the cold charcoal into paper bags and store it in a closed, dry place.

Village Gradišče is marked with 3. In far past It was a fortress of wooden houses. During excavations archaelogists found here funeral urn. Iron age village measures just about 80 meters in diameter. It is oval with relatively well-preserved boundary line. Terrain is not flat, but gradually rises to the highest point of the hill. To get some flat surface three smaller terraces were built on the west side. As archeologists found fossil cereal grains it is possible to conclude that in far past people here were occupied with agriculture.

Lime kiln is marked with 4. Technique of extraction is similar to that of charcoal pile. It requires temperature between 500 °C and 600 °C which makes the procedure quite complicated.

Mark 5 is to remind us about the importance of forest. As ecosystem it is not important only as a source of wood, fruits, wild animals, bedding material for cattle, but it has also huge influance to balance in our whole environment. It affects to climate, water sources, water, snow and wind erosion, avalanche activities etc. It protects lower settled objects.

With 7 we marked waterfall Bena. River Bena devides cadastral municipalities Dole pri Litiji and Šentlovrenc. Waterfall is amazing, assemled from several small waterfalls coming together in central one with height of eight meters. It's most remarkable in winter, when it's covered with ice.

Point 8 is Saint Catherine of Alexandria church. It's a part of pilgrimage route. Church was most probably built in first half of eighteenth century whereas main side altar is from 1738.

Pr'Krjan is a tourist farm, we marked it with 9. They are always happy to do their best for visitors. Usually they're opened on fridays and saturdays from 4 pm and on sundays from 11 am on. Here you can meet not only traditionally specialities but also grill and modern cooking. Beside that Ana and Rok prepare delicious juices and liquers.

In past century some farmers in this area made their own blacksmith workshops on farms. They were needed for repairing and producing farm tools. It was mostly purchased by known customers but also sold at fairs. Blacksmith workshop Mandelj at point 10 is traditionally family craft.

Viewpoint 11 is amazing place to catch panorama of Alpe, Snežnik, Trdinov vrh and many other mountains in sunny wheather. Kum seems to be just infront of you, easily to touch.

Mansion Zavrh at point 12 is considered to be the second home of Valvasors, well-known family, which also owned a mill in Sopota valley. Janez Vajkard Valvasor, polychister and author of Slava vojvodine Kranjske lived in seventeenth century and brought his noble seal to the mansion. Today well preserved statue of Saint Roch, restored hunters room and remains of trenches, which is supposed to lead to the valley of Sopota remind to those times.

zemljevid oglarske poti


  • the beginning of Charcoal path


  • Charcoal path


  • path marking board


  • charcoalburning presentation


  • waterfall Bena


  • finish point near hunters cottage