Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Julius Kugy

"And thus you, the long sought and passionately desired miraculous flower of my heart, will rise some time from the dreams of my yearning, from the strength of my trust, from the mysterious gloom of your origin, of your blossoming and vanishing, and you will come and join me in the late evening of my life. Silent and modest, soft and smooth is your sunny figure, your tiny calix has a silvery gleam, the shining white garment of petals is embroidered with golden anthers, you are immersed in a transparent mist of far-off longing, encircled with an aureole of poetry, myth and romance. It will be in this form that you, the little princess from fairy land, will be looking at me from your new castle high above the foaming young Soca. In your heavenly reality. Scabiosa Trenta! Never did my belief in you die, though you seemed to be beyond my reach. And though you were far away, I have never been unfaithful to you. I have been on the lookout for you all my life, anxiously listening to any news about you. I have been repaid for my love by the great, beautiful, good, eternal mountain."

Born in 1858 into a prosperous family, Julius Kugy lived in Trieste and had many passions, botany, writing books and discovering and climbing mountains. At a very young age, he became interested in botany, and in the flora of Karst in particular. During his studies, he met a well-known botanist Muzio Tommasini who brought the unsolved enigma of a flower named Scabiosa trenta (the Scabious of Trenta) to the attention of young Kugy.

He systematically visited (walked, climbed) practically the whole of the Julian Alps, aided by the local guides, most of them wild hunters. He was very careful about selecting these, and although they were already masters on their own terrain, he gradually made them first class climbing guides.

Although he knew the approximate location where the Scabiosa Trenta was first spotted, he walked around with different guides for months and years without finding it. On the other hand, he did find the beauty of the Julian Alps, which he described in his unsurpassed books about the Julian Alps.

If you now walk or climb in the Julian Alps, you will probably be following in Julius Kugy's footsteps.

During the First World War, Kugy was moved to the army because he knew the area very well but he did not carry a weapon. He only worked as an adviser on the Austrian side of the front. In his middle age he started writing, which soon became his other passion. He wrote seven books. Six of them describe the Julian Alps. His style of writing shows how he loved mountains. His first and most famous book was published in 1925 under the title Aus dem Leben eines Bergsteigers (From the Life of an Alpine-Climber).

He died at 85 in Trieste.

His statue stands in the "Muzio de Tommasini" public garden.


VP said...

Excellent post, beautiful photo and incredible persona!

Julie said...

What an interesting person. Great profile and a photo that shows such character. I also really liked your Valentine's Day photo. Great capture.

Jane Hards Photography said...

Very interesting and such a marvellous close up.

Hilda said...

His writing is wonderfully poetic and romantic! Almost erotic, actually. Thank you for the beautiful introduction to his works. Your photo of his bust is also very beautifully textured.
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