The house in which the linguist, literary historian and librarian Matija Čop was born was that of an average well-off family in Gorenjska, with a history that dates back to the 16th century. There is a Gothic portal with cut corners preserved in the former cellar where the Ajdna Museum Room – an archaeological exhibition – is located today. When the house was built, the cellar was the only part of the building other than the hall that was made out of stone. The other parts of the building were wooden. In the 17th century a granary with two Gothic windows was built. In the 18th and 19th centuries an extension was added to the courtyard. Thus, by the 19th century all the rooms in the house were made of stone. The building was then given today’s rectangular floor plan.
In 1919 a memorial plaque with the inscription: ‘On 26 January 1797 Matija Čop, a giant of science, was born here’, was commissioned for Čop’s birth house. In 1988 the house was bought for museum purposes and renovation work was completed in 1994. Funds for the purchase and renovation were contributed by Slovenian schoolchildren, local residents, the municipality of Jesenice, the Ministry of Culture, and others. During the development phase the house was reconstructed as a 19th-century building, i.e. as it would have been during Čop’s lifetime.
On 26 January 1997, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Matija Čop, the Upper Sava Valley Museum in Jesenice opened a permanent exhibition in Čop’s Memorial Room. It contains the collections: The Life and Times of Matija Čop, Čop’s Creative Work, Matija Čop and France Prešeren, and Matija Čop – Librarian. Photocopies of manuscripts and published texts are exhibited on a Biedermeier desk in the centre of the room, and published issues of Čop’s works are on view in a showcase in the wall niche. In 2016 the Žirovnica Institute for Tourism and Culture, in collaboration with the Gorenjska Museum and the Municipality of Žirovnica, organised a permanent archaeological exhibition in the former cellar.
An important element of the exhibition is a multimedia programme that can be viewed in the former living area. The light-hearted documentary film titled ‘There is No Fairer Place’ takes viewers along the Žirovnica Path of Cultural Heritage to all four birth houses of the famous men from Žirovnica, to Janša’s Memorial Apiary, to mysterious Ajdna and to the green Završnica valley. The film includes interesting information about the lives of the renowned Žirovnica men France Prešeren, Fran Saleški Finžgar, Janez Jalen, Matija Čop and Anton Janša who come ‘alive’ in the film played by local amateur actors. The film is 25 minutes long and is intended primarily for school groups but can also be of great interest to tourists as a presentational film about Žirovnica and its attractions.
Čop’s birth house in Žirovnica is one of the attractions along the Žirovnica Path of Cultural Heritage, one of the oldest and most prominent theme paths in Slovenia. The path connects cultural and historic monuments along five core sites in the villages below Mt. Stol. These are Prešeren’s birth house in Vrba, Čop’s birth house in Žirovnica, Janša’s memorial apiary in Breznica and the birth houses of the writers Fran Saleški Finžgar in Doslovče and Janez Jalen in Rodine.
Čop’s birth house also serves as an event venue and as a seat for the Žirovnica Institute for Tourism and Culture.
Guided tours of Čop’s house can be adapted to school groups, smaller groups, individuals or families. Urška, an expert on Čop’s times, will be delighted to take you on a journey that touches your soul.
Monday to Friday: 8am–11am and 12pm–3pm
School children: €2
Pre-school children: €1
Adult groups (more than 10 persons): €2.7