According to heritage experts, the birth house of Janez Jalen, referred to by locals as ‘At the Sextons’ is one of the oldest buildings in the village. The local name reveals that it was used for the needs of the neighbouring church when the ancient parish was located in Rodine. The wooden building originally served as a vicar’s office. A stone building was erected on the site of the fire that experts believe occurred in the 17th century. The building still has the original layout. There was an outbuilding attached to the living quarters. The residents cultivated the land which they rented from nearby farmers. In 1821, when the seat of the Rodine parish was transferred to Breznica, the house lost its importance, but it continued to be used for the needs of the Rodine branch church.
The house was nationalised following World War II. In 1954 Jalen bought it back from the then municipality of Žirovnica so his sisters could use it. He always thought he would spend his later years in his birth house, however, unfortunately he died prematurely. Jalen often joked that he had only one jump from the cradle to the family’s grave in the Rodine cemetery.
Jalen’s birth house was declared a cultural monument in 1987 and has been open to the public since 1997. Today the homestead is divided into two parts. The new section, which housed the writer’s great-nephew and guardian of his legacy since 1991, is built on the foundations of a former barn. The former living quarters remain as they were in Jalen’s time and have been set up as a museum which houses many personal items that belonged to Jalen. All the rooms are original and serve as a reminder of the lives of our ancestors, making the museum even more worthy of a visit. The museum part comprises an entrance hall, black smoke kitchen, living room and a bed chamber where the reconstruction of the writer’s study with original pieces of furniture, clothes and some personal belongings have been set up to host an exhibition of most of Jalen’s literary legacy (manuscripts, letters, awards, literary works and his library).
This house, together with the birth houses of Fran Saleški Finžgar in Doslovče, Matija Čop in Žirovnica, France Prešeren in Vrba, and Anton Janša’s apiary, are included in the Žirovnica Path of Cultural Heritage.
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