When walking through Kropa you can see that the traditional art of the blacksmith is strongly woven into the very fabric of the place. In both the old and the new parts of the village we can find products of a tradition now more than 700 years old. Skilfully designed decorative window bars, massive fences, authentic forged wrought iron signs and other wrought iron decorations on the houses show how proud the people of Kropa are of their activity.
At first, the people of Kropa kept their artistic expression in iron to themselves. But by the end of the 19th century, the foundations were laid for planned work in this area. During the next few decades, the art of the blacksmiths of Kropa reached an enviable level and became quite well-known in the world.
The blacksmithing tradition in Kropa is nowadays continued by a company, UKO Kropa d.o.o., which follows modern trends and adapts forged products to the demands of the modern market. Useful and decorative products are manufactured in their workshops.
“A candlestick designed by the architect Jože Plečnik is one of the most interesting items produced in our workshop,” says Tomi Kržišnik from UKO Kropa, and adds: “Most products are manually forged and therefore unique.”
The traditional art of the blacksmiths of Kropa can also be seen in the wider area of the Municipality of Radovljica and beyond. A decorative forged item, ‘Vigenjc’, made by UKO’s blacksmiths, embellishes the roundabout between Radovljica and Lesce. Uniquely forged street lamps can be admired in the car park in front of the entrance to the old city centre of Radovljica. The sculpture of ‘Vigenjc’ as a lamp is the product of a collaboration between artists and blacksmiths. UKO also forged the street lamps that light the route around Lake Bled. Kropa’s tradition can also be seen in Kranj, i.e. the forged fence on the bridge over the River Kokra.