The stories about King Matjaž are part of oral tradition, and the main narrative about the good king goes as follows. King Matjaž and his goodness towards his subjects got him into a conflict with nobility, who eventually went after him and cornered him by Mount Peca. The mountain opened and gave The King a place to hide. Inside the mountain Matjaž fell asleep at a stone table and when his growing beard turns nine times around the table, he will wake up and good times will return to Carinthia (Koroška). Oh, and he had a wife, Alenčica, who had been kidnapped by a Turkish Sultan, so Matjaž goes and sets her free by dressing up as a Turk.
Every year, and this will be the 28th time, the municipality of Črna na Koroškem organizes a King Matjaž inspired weekend event, with a snow castle building competition as the focus. Since the website is only in Slovenian and German, we provide some basic information in English below.
The three-day event begins on Friday night, with a night slalom between torches for the King Matjaž Cup at the ski resort in Črna, Carinthia.
The main event, which will take place on Matevžavi Travniki uder Stadion in the Centre of Črna na Koroškem, is a Saturday competition of teams in the construction of snow castles and snow sculptures thematically related to the legend of King Matjaž. Each year's construction is accompanied by an entertaining cultural program (presentation of teams, selection of Alenčica, lighting of torches and candles, fiery performance, solemn arrival of King Matjaž, best team awards, musical performances, etc.). The all day fairytale happenings will culminate with the lighting of the snow castle torches in the evening.
Sunday is the day reserved for children, with activity programs, puppet shows, songs, a search for hidden treasure, horseback riding and more. On Sunday, awards are presented for the best fine art and literary works on the subject of King Matjaž, created by pupils of Slovenian elementary schools.
Entrance fees for visitors on Saturday:
Children under 8 – free of charge, children aged 8 – 15: €2.5, adults: €5.
Entrance fee for visitors on Sunday:
Children under 15: free of charge, older than 15: €5.
Registration and fees for castle building teams (5-8 members):
The registration fee is €11 per group member
Registration is possible until January 25, 2002 until 9AM at the place of the event or with an online form.
At the registration point every team collects their lunch vouchers and trash bags, and places a plan of their castle on the pole with the number of their building plot. Only natural materials are allowed to be used (snow water, ice and rods) and people should bring their own construction tools.