Last modified: 2013-06-15 by ivan sache
Keywords: ribnica | fish (blue) | cross (white) | proposal |
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Flag of Ribnica, vertical and horizontal (unconfirmed) versions - Images by Željko Heimer, 6 October 2002
The municipality of Ribnica (9,266 inhabitants; 15,360 ha) is located in Lower Carniola, southern Slovenia. The municipality is made of the town of Ribnica proper (3,480 inh.) and of the villages of Andol (14 inh.), Blate (59 inh.), Breg pri Ribnici (412 inh.), Breže (156 inh.), BrinovŠčica (17 inh.), Bukovec pri Poljanah (9 inh.), Bukovica (94 inh.), Dane (59 inh.), Dolenja vas (794 inh.), Dolenje Podpoljane (50 inh.), Dolenji Lazi (246 inh.), Dule (4 inh.), Črnec (25 inh.), Črni Potok pri Velikih Laščah (29 inh.), Finkovo (n/a), Gašpinovo (11 inh.), Gorenje Podpoljane (25 inh.), Gorenji Lazi (32 inh.), Goriča vas (437 inh.), Graben (15 inh.), Grčarice (166 inh.), Grčarske Ravne (13 inh.), Grebenje (12 inh.), Grič (321 inh.), Hojče (13 inh.), Hrovača (198 inh.), Hudi Konec (35 inh.), Jelenov žleb (no permanent population), Junčje (22 inh.), Jurjevica (227 inh.), Kot pri Rakitnici (5 inh.), Kot pri Ribnici (127 inh.), Krnče (17 inh.), Levstiki (8 inh.), Lipovec (142 inh.), Makoše (n/d), Marolče (30 inh.), Maršiči (20 inh.), Nemška vas (268 inh.), Ortnek (18 inh.), Otavice (107 inh.), Perovo (9 inh.), Praproče (31 inh.), Prigorica (456 inh.), Pugled pri Karlovici (3 inh.), Pusti Hrib (11 inh.), Rakitnica (285 inh.), Rigelj pri Ortneku (10 inh.), Sajevec (151 inh.), Slatnik (123 inh.), Sušje (136 inh.), Sveti Gregor (45 inh.), Velike Poljane (127 inh.), Vintarji (15 inh.), Vrh pri Poljanah (n/d), Zadniki (14 inh.), Zadolje (16 inh.), Zapuže pri Ribnici (18 inh.), Zlati rep (12 inh.), Škrajnek (8 inh.), Žlebič (236 inh.) and Žukovo (9 inh.). The villages form the four local communities of Ribnica, Velike Poljane, Dolenja vas and Sveti Gregor.
Ribnica is "the cradle of Slovenian entrepreneurship". In the 19th
century, a sports and medical equipment factory was established in the
town, under the name of JOR. The modern company RIKO (Ribnica metal
processing factory) (municipal website) was built on its very foundations. From that time onwards and until 1990, agricultural mechanization, tractor trailers, aircraft and municipal equipment, waste management equipment as well as highly sophisticated flexible systems were developed.
In the 1990s, RIKO shifted its focus from pure manufacture to engineering. RIKO was founded by Janez Škrabec, whose ancestor Friar Stanislav Škrabec (1844-1918), a linguist who established the norm of standard Slovene language, was born in the Škrabec homestead, located in the Hrovača village. This village has been awarded several time the title of "Most Beautiful Slovene Village" by the Tourist Association of Slovenia. The Škrabec homestead is today an art and business center managed by RIKO, which also runs the RIKO Art Collection in Ribnica. The collection includes more than 250 paintings and sculptures by Slovene artists of the 20th-21st centuries.
Ribnica is the birth place of two politicians who significantly
contributed to the rise of the Slovene People's Party and prepared the unification of the South Slavs after the First World War.
The lawyer Ivan Šusteršič (1863-1925) represented the Catholic National Party (1899), subsequently renamed Slovene People's Party, in the Austrian Parliament and was elected President of the Slovene Parliamentary Club in 1907. He also presided the Slovene Union (1909-1911) and the Croat and Slovene Parliamentary Club (1912-1914), and was eventually appointed Governor of Carniola in 1914.
The priest Janez Evangelist Krek (1865-1917), born in Sveti Gregor, was one of the promoters of the Slovene's People Party. He often opposed to Šusteršič's conservatism, proposing several measures for social welfare, to no avail. Krek was the leader of the May Declaration, issued in May 1917, which promoted the unification of South Slavs. This was a first step to the formation of the State of Slovene, Croat and Serbs, which was formed after Krek's death and the collapse of Austria-Hungary.
Jelenov Žleb was on 26 March 1943 the place of one of the most famous battles won by Slovene partisans. Two battalions destroyed the Italian "Macerata" division, made of 480 soldiers and officers, of which 106 were killed and 102 wounded. The partisans had 5 killed and 20 wounded.
Prigorica is the birth place of Ignacij Merhar (1856-1944), the founder of volunteer firefighters' associations. When 24 years old, he used Slovene rather than German as the command language during a parade held in Ljubljana. Shortly jailed for his act, he received public support by several Slovene writers.
Željko Heimer, 10 March 2000
The flag and arms of Ribnica are shown in Banderas municipales de Eslovenia [drn96i], published in Banderas [ban]
#58 (March 1996), quoting as the source a Decision adopted on 20 April 1978 and published in Skupščinski Dolenski List, XV/11, 1 (6).
The description of the symbols is repeated in the successive Municipal Statutes, Statut Občine Ribnica, adopted on 19 December 1991 and published on 31 January 1992 in the official Slovene gazette Uradni list Republike Slovenije, No. 5; Statut Občine Ribnica, adopted on 29 June 1995 and published on 28 July 1995 in Uradni list Republike Slovenije, No. 44; Zacasni statutarni akt Občine Ribnica, adopted on 2 February 1995 and published in Uradni list Republike Slovenije, No. 11; and Statut Občine Ribnica, adopted on 6 April 2000 and published in Uradni list Republike Slovenije, No. 37.
Stane Kljun, from the Miklova gallery (quoted by Primož Tanko, Kaka beseda o novem ribniškem grbu in zastavi..., Rešeto, 29 September 2011), states that the current flag and arms were started to be used in the early 1960s, in connection with the Ribnica festival. He adds that the proposal was made by the Ribnica-borne painter France Mihelič.
Franc Pirker ("Prava" resnica o nastanku ribniške zastave, Rešeto, 28 October 2011) rejects the claim that the designer was the painter Mihelič, explaining that the idea to make a flag for Ribnica emerged in 1969, when the male choir was established in the town. The choir gained much sucess in Slovenia in those days, which initiated in 1973 the establishment of a local festival. Pirker quotes a document addressed by the choir board to the then Local Community of Ribnica, proposing to fund the production of 200 copies of the flag for public display during the festival, and afterwards. They already had the design ready, said by Pirker to have been prepared by the entire "intelligentsia" of Ribnica of the period, including Janko Trošt, Pr. Janez Debeljak, Janko Hren and others.
The flag is vertical, in proportions 1:2, vertically divided blue-green with the coat of arms in the middle.
The coat of arms is of the "official" design, set on the flag within a white border. Variations in the size of the coat of arms are noticeable (photos in Rešeto - August 2007, March 2009, July 2009, May 2011).
Anticipating the adoption of new symbols, the municipality adopted on 9 February 2012 newer Statutes Statut Občine Ribnica, published on 5 March 2012 in Uradni list Republike Slovenije, No. 17 (text). The descriptions of the flag and arms (Article 7) were dropped and left for a subsequent Decision (as usual in the Statutes of Slovene municipalities).
Željko Heimer, 8 November 2012
The coat of arms is "Gules on a bend sinister argent a fish azure".
The use of a fish as the symbol of Ribnica is straightforward, riba meaning "a fish in Slovene.
Marina Gradišnik, historian at the local museum, (quoted by Primož Tanko, Kaka beseda o novem ribniškem grbu in zastavi..., Rešeto, 29 September 2011), explains that the oldest rendition of the arms of Ribnica is found in the book Slava vojvodine Kranjske, published by Janez Vajkard Valvasor in 1687/1688. She adds that it is unknown whether Valvasor had some info on the original arms or if he made them up from the arms of a Knight Friedrich from Ribnica in Carinthia. Anyway, these arms were used in Ribnica for the next 330 years.
In the same article, Stane Kljun, from the Miklova gallery, identifies the fish as a lipan, that is a grayling (Thymallus thymallus L.), a fish from the Salmonidae family.
According to the municipal
website, the coat of arms recalls the legend of the naming of the
Once upon a time, the valley of Ribnica was a large lake, rich in all kinds of fishes. Among others, there was one beautiful goldfish there. In the nearby mountain Velika gora lived also a mighty giant, who slept the day, and went fishing in the lake by night. The goldfish shining in the night helped him fishing. In Suha krajina ("drylands") there was no water, and people living there went to the lake to get water. Once taking the water, they also caught the goldfish, and they threw it away amidst some rocks, where the fish turned to stone. When the giant woke up and could not find the fish, he went searching for it. Unable to find it, he went in rage, throwing into the lake anything he got his hands by - trees and stones. These stones made numerous openings at the bottom of the lake, though which all the water leaked out. Numerous fishes were left dry and people came to take them with wagons from everywhere. And, therefore, the place was named after the fishes.
Željko Heimer, 20 May 2006
Coat of arms used on the flag
"Official" coat of arms of Ribnica - Image by Željko Heimer, 20 May 2006
Franc Pirker ("Prava" resnica o nastanku ribniške zastave, Rešeto, 28 October 2011) states that the drawings of the arms were made by the architect Janko Hren, after the arms sculpted by his father Alojzije Hren in 1928 on the facade of the former town hall. The two drawings proposed by J. Hren are similar to the design eventually adopted, but the colouring of the coat of arms on the flag is different; the fields of the shield are green-blue-red in the first proposal and red-blue-red in the second proposal, but with a white fish in it. The red-white-red field with a blue fish was eventually adopted, following the historical designs.
Variant of the coat of arms of Ribnica - Image by Željko Heimer, 8 November 2012
The "official" design by J. Hren was used in three variations, probably
depending on the background onto which the arms were intended to be placed:
- a version without outline;
- a version with a white outline, as shown on the flag;
- a version with a blue around white outline.
Željko Heimer, 8 November 2012
Variants of the coat of arms
As the coat of arms of Ribnica is defined only by the blazon in the Statutes, all the variants that have been used in official capacity are equally correct. None of them seems to have appeared on the flag.
"Historical" coat of arms of Ribnica - Image by Željko Heimer, 8 November 2012
A design based on Valvasor's drawings was occasionally used as the "historical" coat of arms in black and white graphic representations, and, possibly, also in coloured representations.
Coat of arms of Ribnica used on car license plates - Image by Željko Heimer, 20 May 2006
Stanič & Jakopič [j2s05] shows the coat ot arms used on car licence plates (and, probably, nowhere else).
Coat of arms of Ribnica used in 1998 - Image by Željko Heimer, 8 November 2012
A design with a semi-circular shield shape was also used (Rešeto, 27 March 2006. p. 14; Rešeto, 30 July 2009, p. 15)).
Coat of arms of Ribnica used since 2011 - Image by Željko Heimer, 8 November 2012
Since January 2011 the Rešeto magazine has been using a new design of the arms, with a triangle-pointing shield.
Željko Heimer, 8 November 2012
Ribnica's Municipal Council is considering adopting new symbols "meeting the norms of Slovene and Central European" heraldry. The proposed new symbols were published on 5 December 2011 on the municipal website to elicit a public debate. A footage from the local TV, RKanal+, 27 September 2011, shows the Mayor of Ribnica, Jože Levstek, presenting the new proposed symbols that are exhibited, most probably in the town hall.
The proposed symbols were designed by Donald Fürst, from Atelje A2, with the help of the expert in heraldry Aleksander Hribovšek.
Proposed new flag of Ribnica, horizontal and vertical versions - Images by Željko Heimer, 8 November 2012
The first proposed new flag is in proportions 2:5, vertically and
horizontally divided red-white-red, the middle of the flag being
formed by a white square charged with a blue fish placed horizontally,
looking at the flag's hoist.
In the proposed flag for vertical hosting, the elements are properly rotated, so that the fish is still placed horizontally, looking at the flag left's border, on a white square forming the central part of the flag.
The proposed flag is said to have been designed based on the
principles of design of the Slovene municipal flags drafted in the
International Congress of Vexillology.
The main reason invoked for the change is that the flag's colors should match those of the coat of arms, which represents the "essence" of the municipality. Accordingly, green was removed from the flag since this color does not appear on the coat of arms.
Proposed new flag for Ribnica, horizontal and vertical versions - Images by Željko Heimer, 8 November 2012
Another proposal is simply divided red-white-red, the central white part still forming a square.
Ivan Sache & Željko Heimer, 8 November 2012
Coat of arms
Proposed coat of arms of Ribnica - Image by Željko Heimer, 8 November 2012
The proposed coat of arms is "Gules a bend argent a fish azure per bend". The shield was redesigned with the "standard Slovene shape", that is "late Gothic, oblong ending in a point". The central stripe was changed from bend sinister to bend so that the fish "face the correct heraldic right" (dexter).
Stane Kljun, from the Miklova gallery (quoted by Primož Tanko, Kaka beseda o novem ribniškem grbu in zastavi..., Rešeto, 29 September 2011), says that the process of modernization of the arms started in 1998 in cooperation with the heraldic, genealogic and vexillologic society Heraldica Slovenia. The society proposed corrections to the arms (flipping of the bend, details of the fish); the only result was a schematization of the arms and asimplification of the shape of the shield made in 1998 (in regard to the coat of arms appearing on the flag, seemingly.
Ivan Sache & Željko Heimer, 8 November 2012
Primož Tanko (Šilcportal, 29 September 2011) introduces the debate on the new flag.
"Other views" (uncredited) criticize the proposed new symbols, claiming that unnecessary details have been added to the coat of arms, questioning the 2:5 proportions (adding that 1:2 proportions would make sense as matching those of the national and European Union flags!), calling for a public contest, and, finally, calling for the respect of tradition rather than short-sighted changes.
The article ends with an on-line survey asking the question "Do you like the new proposal for Ribnica emblem and flag?". Out of 170 voters, 145 (85%) answered "no", 13 (8%) answered "yes" and 12 (7%) did not care. Well, the "survey" is slightly biased since it is placed immediately below the "other views", all negative!
Finally, the nine comments posted between 2 October and 8 November 2011 all bitterly rejected the proposal, deemed "an unnecessary waste of time and money". The posters found the red color inappropriate - not bright enough - and the design too Swiss and Austrian-looking.
Some suggest to keep the current flag but changing its proportions to match the flag of European Union, or to better use the money to offer a copy of the current flag to every citizen of Ribnica.
Ivan Sache, 5 January 2012
The village of Žlebić, with some 250 inhabitants, has a mock-mayor as part of a folklore custom to which most of the inhabitants seem to participate. The flag of the village was raised for the first time on 9 October 2010 during the celebration of the village day. The article Predvolilni shod na dan volilnega molka - Vaščani Žlebiča dobili svojo zastavo by Kristjan Kozina (Rešeto, 30 December 2010) explains the (folk etymology of the village name, from Slovene žleb, "a groove", "a flume". According to the legend, there was in ancient times a spring there, but the women could not easily access it, therefore the men made the flume to allow them to collect water. The flag therefore depicts, reportedly, a vessel and a flume. Colours are not mentioned and photos are black and white.
Željko Heimer, 8 November 2012