The key role in starting the ironwork industry was played by the Thurn family. According to the museum councillor Dr. Karla Oder, Count Jurij Thurn was given state funds for the construction of a rolling plant in the middle of the 19th century, launching modern industrial production using steam-powered machinery.
Count Jurij was also a member of the committee for the construction of the railway connection in the Lower Mežica Valley that improved the prosperity of the ironwork industry in Ravne. Steel from Ravne was already highly esteemed before WWI. Surgical instruments were produced from steel in graphite crucibles in the Austrian Steyermark. Quality steel was exported to the Near East and Far East, and to Russia. The ironwork industry was the pillar of life in Ravne after WWII. Today, Ravne steel has an excellent reputation around the world.
Although the work at the ironwork plant was hard, social life also blossomed in Ravne. There were all kinds of cultural and sport activities. Money from the ironwork plant helped build the Dr Franc Sušnik Library and high school. The directors of the ironwork plant, Gregor Klančnik and Franc Fale, were among the greatest supporters of cultural life, including the Forma viva symposia. Iron sculptures created by world-renowned artists, together with Carinthian steel masters, over more than half a century of iron-making history, follow you around the town at every step.
Since every hard-working man has to eat, iron workers had to eat well, for instance enjoying, “zabelena fižola z grumpi” (beans with crackling) or a typical local bread loaf. This sturdy Carinthian lunch can be tasted at the Lečnik Inn in the centre of the town, where the people of Ravne used to go bowling. They will offer you the “mežerli“, a type of pie made from offal, and a dumpling dessert called “kvočevi nudlni“, stuffed with dried pear. Traditional Carinthian delicacies from local ingredients can also be tasted at the Delalut Hotel, which is especially friendly to active visitors. You will enjoy dishes made with Carinthian cottage cheese, lard with crackling, and make a toast with genuine Carinthian must (freshly crushed fruit juice).
Mati fabrika (the “Mother Factory”) has supplied bread to many, many Carinthians over more than 400 years. Lovro Kuhar (pen name “Prežihov Voranc), one of Slovenia’s most famous writers, was also one of the many steel workers. In his works, he erected a unique monument to the people and places of Carinthia, especially his birth place Kotlje. At the house of Prežihov Voranc, desperate poverty did not prevent them being avid readers. When you visit it, you can also climb the Uršlja gora mountain, the popular hiking destination.Along the way, stop at the Smučarska koča hut. Your taste buds will enjoy the local Carinthian cuisine : local “kipjenki” (boiled flour dumplings), “Urškina enolončnica” (Urška’s stew), “rpičov zos” (potato sauce) and “pohana japka” (fried apples). The unique natural mineral water springs at the foothills of the mountain and is very rich in iron. The water was highly esteemed in the past, and even exported to America.