About the Transportation in the Glory of the Duchy of Carniola

Written by Sandi Sitar, 1989


In The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola the different varieties of land and water transport which were in use in the 1680s, as well as the early experiments with flight, are described and illustrated with copper engravings. At this time various extension devices for arms and legs such as sticks, stilts, and skis were employed as aids for walking and for carrying loads. The latter evolved into horseback transport, which was due to bad roads, more suitable than conventional horse-drawn means of transport like haulage, farm wagons, carts and carriages. Valvasor also gives an account of his project for the construction of a tunnel through the Karawanken. It may also be interesting to note that regular postal connections already had a tradition of more than a hundred years when the book was issued.

As concerning river traffic, the most important was that along the Sava and Ljubljanica: small boats were chiselled from tree trunks, whereas the larger ones were made of boards.

Transport by rafts and ferries was also developed and made use of all suitable waterways, including lakes. There are, in addition, descriptions of sea transport, particularly in the Gulfs of Trieste and Rijeka, and its link to transportation by land and rivers.

Valvasor devoted much of his time to observation of animal flight. In his book he gives accounts of fantastic cases of flying such as that of witches and dragons. His illustrations often contain allegorical motifs of flying. The myth of Daedalus and Icarus was illustrated in his editions of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.