Pictures shows a traditional wooden ferry and his owner, Martin, on Mura river in Melinci, Prekmurje (Slovenia). Ferry takes people from one river bank to another, but is without engine, sails or paddles. The ferries in Ižakovci and Melinci are two ferries that are still in operation on the Mura River. The ferry is made up of two shallow boats called kumpi and linked with a connecting and carrying platform on which there is the ferryman’s little hut. The platform with its enclosure is attached to a steel riverside rope that carries the pulley with the hanging rope. The ferry moves on the river with help of the river’s current. When there is not enough water it moves slowly because there is no pressure. It is also not moving when water is too high and it floods the riverbank.
In the old days the ferry was used for transporting livestock from one side of the river to another and later for transporting cars, tractors, lorries, bikes, bicycles. In the time of Austro-Hungarian Empire, the wooden ferry was the only connection between Slovenians on the both side of the river. Till end of World War I transport across river Mura was possible only with wooden ferries. Later when they build the bridge in Veržej (1922) and Petanjci (1940) they didn’t need them anymore. Despite the bridges, ferries are still doing their job as a connection between the left and right side of the river – Prekmurje with the rest of Slovenia and with Austrian and Croatian side of the river. The lifespan of the ferry is about 20 years without any repairs. Carrying capacity is around 5 to 6 tons.
The river Mura springs in Hohe Tauern in Austria and is 444 km long. It mouths into the river Drava near Legrad in Croatia. The river undergoes an interesting journey: starting as an alpine river it turns into a flatland river in Slovenia. The latter used to need a wide river space with numerous meanders, sideway river branches, bays, gravel pits, flooded groves and lethargies.
Nowadays the vast part of the river is lead into a permanent riverbed. Nevertheless, one can still find many plant and animal species alongside the Mura – species that have vanished completely elsewhere due to the destructive influence of mankind.
The river Mura is hailed as something special, mystical and almost exotic among lovers of nature.