Caves in Slovenia are the main attraction for the thousands of tourists all over the world. The country is flocked with uncanny caves, which hold mysterious and exciting tales to woo your fancies.
Did You Know?
Slovenia's Kras region give the geological term "karst" to the world. It's used to describe geological formations similar to those in the Kras area. Karst is a dry, rocky limestone surface in which the water carves underground caverns and caves through chemical solution. About 44 % of the territorry of Slovenia is karst area
Several other geologycal terms originate from the Slovenia langunage like dolina (valley) or polje (field or plain).
Nova (new) Krizna Jama is a famous cave, which was not discovered until ten years ago. The cave visit is restricted to only a few outsiders. The entrance to the cave is too narrow, which is only 30 to 40 centimeter in circumference. Remember, that if you get the permission to scan through the cave, then make sure that you carry with yourself sufficient lights, tripods, plastic boats and other necessary equipments.
Discovered in 1832, the Krizna jama is a beautiful karst cave, which came into the limelight when great photographer, Bostjan Burger took some beautiful shots of the inside story of the cave. Cave bear bones were found inside in 1876, some of them are on display.
Highlight of Krizna Jama are the cascade of 22 cave lakes separated by calcite formations. In the Kalvarija jama specatacular stalagmite and stalactite formations dazzle the visitor. From there the Pisavni section can be visited which is accessible by boat. There you'll enter the Crystal Mountain the largest chamber of Krizna jama cave.
A cave tour to the Dry part and a boat ride takes 1 hour. Prices: adults 6/ €, children (3-15 yrs old) 4 €
A boat tour up to Kalvarija takes a 4 hours. Prices: 25 €/person for group of four, 27 €/ person for 3 people and 32 € for 2 people.
Cave equipment and insurance are included in the prices.
The Human Fish-(Proteus Anguinus) The Mysterious Creature of Slovenia's Caves
The 25-30 cm salamander is the largest vertebrate that lives permanently in caves. It came into the limelight of the scientific world only in the 19th century. Until then locals had thought that it was a baby dragon. The amphibian's eyes are almost invisible and it has no and protecting prigment in its skin.
The pinkish skin resembles that of human's that's why locals named the animal human fish (cloveska ribica in Slovenian). It uses its excellent sense of smell and sensitivity to electric fields in water to move around in darkness and find food.
The long tail fin aids the creature in swiimming while it can sneak arround swiftly on its four legs (the front two have 2, while the back pair three toes) on land.
The human fish lives in subterranean water systems especially in underground waters of Karst areas.
Watch out the shadowed corners of other caves in Slovenia and you can catch a glimps of the Proteus anguinus. You can also see the animal along with many other cave dwellers (bats, beetles, heddgehogs etc.) in the Proteus Vivarium at the Postojna Cave.
The highest cave in Slovenia title goes to the Snezna Jama (Snow cave) in Raduha ridge (2062 m) in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. Huge ice sculptures in the Ice Hall, pillars reaching 15 m or more heights, cave milk (malgonite) a white deposit resembling to curded milk are some of the fascinating formations inside.
Temperature inside the cave is between -1- + 2.5 °C so you need to dress accordingly. Only the entrance is illuminated so take a torch with you.
This also the only ice cave that you can visit with a guide. There's another ice cave Velika Ledenika Jama (Big Ice cave) but no guides there.
A narrow partly gravel and dirt road leads to the cave enetrance which is difficult to drive on even in dry weather.
Getting to Snezna Jama: By car: from Luče drive on road 428 towards Ljubno, turn right after 3 km at Struge. Follow the road straight ahead for about 15km, and watch the signposts.
By foot: from Luče or Solčava.
I takes hundreds of millions of years for a cave and the formation inside to form. Humans can destroy it in a much a shorter time. The delicate natural ecosystem of caves is sensible to external impacts so follow the simple rules outlined below:
Notranjska Karst Region
The Notranjska Karst region, is the best known caving area in Slovenia. Embedded with hard rocks the entire stretch accounts for about 12% coverage of the country. If the demographic search is too complicated for you, then you should seek help of a guide book, detailing the spread of the cave grounds.
Postojna, is the principle town in the area. Perched between Ljubljana and Trieste, the area is famous for being the haven of numerous caves, which have magnificent wonders attached to it. The area is surrounded by Croatian border to the south and province of Gorenjska and the Julian Alps to the north.
The Postojnska Jama is a cave that is endowed with most number of stalagmites and stalactites you have ever visited. As you step inside the cave, you can watch the famous proteus anguinus salamander, which is found only in Slovenia and nowhere else in the world.
Known as the 'Show' cave, it stretches to a length of 5.7 km. Take a foot ride round the cave, and you will find the experience worth your endurance.
Other caves north of Postojna include the a short (632 m) Otok cave (Otoska jama) which has very spectaular stalagmites and stalactites.
Pivka Cave and Black Cave (Crna Jama) are 5 km north of Postojna. More than 300 steps lead down to the 4 km long underground world. Bridges connect Pivka with the Black cave which is a dry, dripstone cave and received its name after the black colour of formations caused by torch smoke.
You can visit the 3 caves (Postojna, Pivka and Crna) on guided tour arranged by appointment.
Formations of Crna Jama (Black) cave blackenned due to fire smoke
The Škocjan caves are situated more to the south-west in the region of Primorska. You can say that the cave region acts as the sink for the river Reka. The Škocjanske Jame is like any other caves.
Nothing is unusual about the formations of the interior of the caves, but the most fascinating fact is the 500 m long underground canyon, which calls for the crowd.
The river is swift and powerful and you should carry your camera to captivate the enchanting flow of the river.
The Skocjan cave system is part of UNESCO's World Heritage and Cultural Sites.
Predjamski Jama 9 km from Postojna connects to the 13th century historic impression. You can see the castle guarding the entrance from far away. Interestingly, the cave has three levels, with a castle on the third level. The best part is that, you can visit each level with help from the guide. Those who have visited the cave have found it quite sporting.
Planinska Jama near the village Planinska is the meeting point for the two rivers – the Pivka and the Rak, whose combined water emerge as river Unica.
The chattering noise of the rivers enlivens the uncanny aura of the cave.
It used to be a show cave but the path collapsed at some points so it's quite dangerous to tour this cave however guided visits can be arranged by appointment and you'll be able to see cc. 900m of the 6500 m long cave.
Tours: Apr-Sep: Sat: 15.00, 17.00, Sun: 11.00, 15.00, 17.00? Jul-Aug: Mon-Fri: 17.00).
Admission: cc. 7 €/adult.
Other Caves in the Karst Region
As already hinted, the Notranjska Karst Region is a great site for numerous caves, here are some more interesting underground worlds worth exploring.
Dimnice Jama (Smoke Cave 23 km southeast of Trieste). Entering this cave requires some skill because a nearly 40 m steep, pothole leads down to the cave. Along the path meandering down to the White chamber you'll pass by. impressive stalamgmite pillars. At lowest level of the cave a small stream trickles. Cave is open: every Sunday at 15.30
The Bear Cave (Medvedja jama) above Kamniska Bistrica valley is famous for the remains of hundreds of cave bears found inside.
The deep underowrld of Zadlaska or Dante's cave at the gorge on Zadlascica and Tolminka rivers (in Soca valley in Triglav National Park inspired Dante to write the Hell part of the Divine Comedy.
The Varanja Jama has a lake at the very entrance in rainy weather, which freezes during the extreme cold seasons. The cave looks small and muddy.
Even if you are a non-caver, you would definitely love the experience of caving in Slovenia by taking a stroll through the Skednena Jama.
As you enter deeper the Jama na Meji (aka Owl cave), you will find the brilliant 40 m abseil through the roof, which is clogged with large boulders.
The Zelške Jama is divided into parts - the daylight cave and the river cave. The daylight cave is formed with a sequence of 8 dolines, which is well connected with a small stream at the bottom and covered with rock bridges atop.
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