Kavčnik Homestead is an incredible outdoor museum of folk architecture. The central room in one of the oldest wood buildings in Slovenia is a more than 300-year-old smoke room with an open fireplace, which served for cooking and heating. The smoke room was both a working and living room, and they often had animals in it, too. The Kavčnik Homestead is the southernmost preserved Alpine smokehouse and is the only building of its kind in Slovenia that has been transformed into a museum.
The Kavčnik Homestead in Zavodnje is a pearl of Slovenian folk architecture and the southernmost preserved Alpine smokehouse in the European Alpine space. Such buildings mostly dominated this area from the 11th to the end of the 18th century, when the authorities started to decisively persecute them as dangerous dwellings due to frequent fires and replaced them with more modern designed buildings with the so-called “black kitchen”.
The building emerged as a result of various conversions and extensions and consists of a row of autonomous rooms. The oldest part of the homestead is a smoke room, which is around 400 years old. The owners called it “kuhna” (kitchen), which was also its function. The small windows in a smoke cell, the sliding mechanism and even the details on wooden hinges of the entry door to the shed testify to the fact that the core of the building with the shed was probably created in the 17th century. Back then the preserved smoke cell was the only dwelling room in the Kavčnik Homestead.
There are at least two reasons why the Kavčnik Homestead was largely preserved until this day: When a new route via Mislinja to Carinthia was opened in the 19th century, Zavodnje was placed increasingly more on the edge of the populated world. Even laws and measures did not reach it as fast and as thoroughly as the valley. So the homestead, despite the legal prohibition by the Austrian authorities, was never converted or rearranged, but instead remained what it was in its core from the very beginning – an Alpine smokehouse. Another, just as important reason, should be sought in the fact that the house remained populated for a very long time – all until 1983, when it was left by its last inhabitant, Ferdo Kavčnik, who lived there without electricity and water, in a house that was furnished in the same manner as it is today.
source: Muzej Velenje