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RAISING A STRONG CHARACTER IN A STRONG BODY / 110 Years of the Sokol Gymnastic Society in Škofja Loka
Ivan Grohar Gallery, 17.2. - 23.3.2016

The first Sokol Society was founded in 1862 by Miroslav Tyrš (1832-1884) in Prague, Czech Republic. The Južni Sokol Society was founded in Ljubljana in as early as 1863. Tyrš's gymnastic system was introduced to Slovenia by Dr Viktor Murnik (1874-1964) at the end of the 19th century, tying the Slovenian Sokol members, or falcons, into a strong whole.

The idea was brought to Škofja Loka by a student from Prague and later notary Stevo Šink (1882-1972), who was joined by Dr Tone Jama (a doctor from Ljubljana), Joško Ziherl (a senior officer of the court in Ljubljana), Avgust Blaznik (a photographer from Škofja Loka) and Franc Dolenc (a landowner and merchant). The Sokol Gymnastic Society was established on 2 February 1906 at the Reading Society in the Krona inn at Mestni trg. Not long thereafter, Sokol Societies were also founded in Žiri (1907) and in Železniki (1908), and after the First World War (1923), in Gorenja vas.

The committee of the Loka Sokol Society adopted a resolution at its first session on 30 July 1907 that "exercise begins immediately on August 1907...". In the first year, around 60 members took part in exercising. Bojan Drenik, a model gymnast form Južni Sokol, was asked to assist in the education of staff and proceede to tran several members of the Society. In addition to male members, the Society also accepted female members, as well as male and female youngsters from the very start. Škofja Loka Sokol members regularly performed in public, staged academies and attended ceremonies and competitions. Skiing, football and shooting were popular.The young members went to the mountains, on trips and hikes. Dr Jože Rant and Vladimir Guzelj, who founded and led the medical section, took care of the health of the gymnasts. 

The Loka Sokol members first received their gymnasium in 1907, when Ivan Karlin left his hut at Studenec ob Sori to the Society. At the same time they exercised under the hayrack and in the garden of Franc Dolenc in Stara Loka. Later, Dolenc left them the premises at Štemarje, where they exercised until Sokolski dom was constructed in 1922.

To ensure the cultural growth of its members, the Loka Society established a cultural-educational section, whose members prepared various thematic lectures and took care of the library. A theatre operated within the section, which underwent expansion with the acquisition of its own stage in Sokolski dom. The Sokol members were accompanied at their performances by trumpeters (from 1907) and an orchestra (from 1919). A choir (from 1922) and a tambour group (from 1925) also took an active part in activities.
After the occupation in 1941, the authorities abolished the Sokol organization. In July 1945, a resolution was adopted at the Sokol assembly that the Sokol organizations should become part of the new Partizan physical education organization.

Loški muzej Škofja Loka, Grajska pot 13 , 4220 Škofja Loka
tel.: +386 4 517-04-00, fax: +386 4 517-04-12