Last modified: 2012-08-01 by ivan sache
Keywords: ribnica | fish (blue) | cross (white) | proposal |
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Flag of Ribnica, horizontal and vertical 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.
The flag is rectangular, in proportions 1:2, horizontally divided blue-green with the coat of arms in the middle.
From the municipal website, it seems that the current design of the coat of arms is the "official" design shown above, set on the flag within a white border. It seems that the vertical flag has the blue stripe on the viewer's right, just opposite to what would be expected.
Željko Heimer, 6 October 2002
Coat of arms of Ribnica, left, "official", right, as shown by Stanič & Jakopič [j2s05] - Images by Željko Heimer, 20 May 2006
The coat of arms is "Gules on a bend sinistrer argent a fish azure".
As the coat of arms of Ribnica is ancient, the shape of the shield and artistic details of the representation are not fixed and are left to the artist.
Stanič & Jakopič [j2s05] shows a different version of the coat of arms, which seems to be similar to the version used on the car licence plates.
The use of a fish as the symbol of Ribnica is straightforward
(riba means fish in Slovene). Such a coat of arms is shown
already in Valvasor's collection from the 17th century.
According to the municipal website, the coat of arms recalls the legend of the naming of the town.
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 wtter, 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
Proposed flag of Ribnica, horizontal and vertical versions - Images by Ivan Sache, 5 January 2012
According to the municipal website, 5 December 2011, Ribnica's Municipal Council is considering adopting new symbols "meeting the norms of Slovene and Central European" heraldry.
The 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 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).
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.
Rejected flag proposals for Ribnica, horizontal and vertical versions - Images by Ivan Sache, 5 January 2012
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. We see there another proposal, most probably eventually turned down, with the flag divided red-white-red, the central white part still forming a square.
In Šilcportal, 29 September 2011, Primož Tanko introduces the debate on the new flag. As far as the old - and still official - flag is concerned, Marina Gradišnik, historian at the local museum, recalls that it was designed in the early 1960s for the first Ribnica festival by the local painter France Mihelič.
The proposals of new symbols were drafted by Donald Fürst, from Studio A2, with the help of the expert in heraldry Aleksander Hribovšek.
"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