The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden

Round Tower, Škofja Loka Museum
12 May–5 September 2021

Team: Tadej Curk (project coordinator), Branka Gradišar, Nina Misson (exhibition curator), Simona Žvanut

The exhibition is dedicated to the project The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden and its implementation, placing it in the context of the history of the Škofja Loka Castle's garden areas, whose appearance and purpose have changed over time.

From 1890 onwards, the castle garden was managed and tended by the Ursuline Sisters, who grew fruit and vegetables for their own use and as a source of income, as well as medicinal herbs for their pharmacy. The garden played a particularly important role for the Ursulines' girls' school, which focused on holistic education, so classes were often held on the linden tree-lined path and the girls spent a lot of time in nature.

After the Ursulines left Škofja Loka in the 1950s, the Škofja Loka Museum moved into the Škofja Loka Castle building and set up one of Slovenia's first open-air museums in the castle garden. The garden became a popular place for walking and a venue for various events.

The garden that serves as a successor of the Ursuline Sisters' garden in terms of herb-growing and educational activities is an enclosed garden on the north-eastern side of the castle. It was designed in 2008 and was then renovated as part of the project ‘The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden’ according to a conservation and restoration plan using traditional skills and procedures, as well as natural materials. Under the guidance of a mentor, members of the Škofja Loka-based Sožitje – Society for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities planted various herbs, tended the garden and then used dried plants to make natural soap and paper. The members thus learnt some basic gardening skills and gained work experience. The project was also a step towards their greater inclusion in the local community. The name of the Sožitje Society means coexistence, so the name of the project is a play on words, referring to both the society and coexistence as such.

A big part of the project was the collaboration between the Škofja Loka Museum and the Sožitje Society. The castle garden became a place for education, socialising and cooperation, and a place that will allow the local community to grow hand in hand with it.

The project was one of the 15 best practice examples of sustainable urban development in Slovenia, selected as part of the Institute for Spatial Policies' invitation to tender Mesta mestom in 2020.

The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden Project

Partners: Škofja Loka Museum, Sožitje – Society for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, Municipality of Škofja Loka, and Sora Development Agency.

Project duration: 1 August 2019–30 September 2021

The project is funded by the Republic of Slovenia and the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund.

The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko
The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko
The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko
The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko
The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko
The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko
The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko
The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko
The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko
The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko
The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko
The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko
The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko
The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko
The Sožitje Society in the Castle Garden <em>Photo: Janez Pelko</em>
Photo: Janez Pelko

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