Postojna Cave

Description

Postojna Cave
Photo from wikipedia.org

Postojna Cave (Slovene: Postojnska jama; German: Adelsberger Grotte; Italian: Grotte di Postumia) is a 24,120 m long karst cave system near Postojna, southwestern Slovenia. It is the second-longest cave system in the country (following the Migovec System) as well as one of its top tourism sites. The caves were created by the Pivka River.

History

The cave was first described in the 17th century by the pioneer of study of karst phenomena, Johann Weikhard von Valvasor. In 1818, when the cave was being prepared for a visit by Francis I, the first Emperor of the Austria-Hungary, a new area of the cave was discovered accidentally by local Luka Čeč.

First tourist guide and electric lighting

In 1819, Archduke Ferdinand visited the caves, this is when the caves became officially known as a tourist destination. Čeč became the first official tourist guide for the caves when the caves were opened to the public. Electric lighting was added in 1884, preceding even Ljubljana, the capital of Carniola, of which the cave was part at the time, and further enhancing the cave system's popularity.

Cave rails

In 1872, cave rails were laid along with first cave train for tourists. At first, these were pushed along by the guides themselves, later at the beginning of the 20th century a gas locomotive was introduced.

Blackening of the entrance

During World War II, German occupying forces used the cave to store nearly 1,000 barrels of aircraft fuel, which were destroyed in April 1944 by Slovene Partisans. The fire burned for seven days, destroying a large section of the cave and blackening the entrance.

After World War II

After 1945, the gas locomotive was replaced by an electric one. About 5.3 kilometres (3.3 mi) of the cave system are open to the public.

21st-century tourism

In June 2015 the cave administration reported that cave divers managed to explore a further underwater section of the cave leading towards Planina Cave, thus lengthening the cave system from 20,570 m (67,490 ft) to 24,120 m (79,130 ft).. The cave also houses the world’s only underground post office.

Natural environment

The caves are also home to the endemic olm, the largest troglodytic amphibian in the world. The tour through the caves includes an aquarium with some olms in it. On January 30 2016, a female olm at the cave began to lay over 50 eggs. This rare event led to global news about Postojna Cave and the olm. From the end of May to mid-July 2016, twenty-two baby olms successfully hatched. Karst topography refers to a plateau in southwestern Slovenia and northeastern Italy, which gave the name to karst topography.

Postojna Cave was carved by the Pivka River over millions of years. There are stalagmites, stalactites, and formations called curtains or draperies that look like folded curtains.

The cave system is 24.12 kilometers (14.99 mi) long and is made up of four caves interconnected through the same underground river. However, according to speleology rules, the passages and siphons connecting the caves must be walked or swum through by man for them to be considered one whole. Connecting two of the main cave systems will make this the longest cave system in Slovenia and one of the longest in all of Europe. There remain 400 meters (1,300 ft) between the two caves, which would make the cave system between 31,000 meters (102,000 ft) and 35,000 meters (115,000 ft) long.

Environmental issues

In 2014, around 40% of the trees were destroyed by an ice storm. Water from karst springs is important for the water supply; drinking water from karst aquifers supplies one-fourth of the world and half of Slovenia's population. The vulnerability of caves is high due to the nature of water drainage in karst areas and its limited self-cleaning capacity. Surface pollution (pesticides, heavy metals, and fertilizers), which seeps into subterranean waters, poses a great danger to cave-dwelling animals, including the olm, for which prolonged exposure to pollution may prove fatal. The olm’s natural habitats are therefore part of the European Natura 2000 Network.

Expo Postojna Cave Karst

The exhibition EXPO Postojna Cave Karst was opened in April 2014. This is the largest permanent exhibition about the cave and karst phenomena around the world. The exhibition features interactive presentations about the history of the tourism-related development of the cave. Visitors learn about karst phenomena through projections of various material onto a three-dimensional model, discover the special features of the karst environment, and learn about historic events at Postojna Cave on the Wall of Fame. The exhibition is of interest to both the general public and experts. Special attention is devoted to children, who are interactively guided through the exhibition by an olm and a slenderneck beetle, and they can drive the cave train by themselves.

Gallery

Photo (30)

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Street view

Reviews

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22.04.2017 Iris
What an interesting tour on a little railway throughout the cave.
Good spotted light on Stalagmites.
It is a limestone cave.
Entrance prices are moderate. When not holiday season - no crowds.
Friendly staff ?
 Excellent
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20.12.2016 Mesut
Before Die u have to see :))
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09.10.2016 Haitham
Best attraction in Slovenia for sure. Don't miss it just try to avoid busy time (noon)
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28.08.2016 Marko
Very nice cave! But... Expect to be robbed by the expensive prices of the merchandise and photos. 7 eur for your sweaty photo? Wtf. Plushy toy for 8 eur. This is robbery!
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11.08.2016 Witold
The cave is beautiful, but they're not quite prepared to handle the tourist crowds during the season. Early September - it's better.
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18.05.2016 Alexandra
Very impressive!
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07.10.2015 T
Definitely a must-see in Slovenia. Riding a small train is also fun :)
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23.09.2015 Nick
Pretty interesting and worth a trip but €22 per person is quite hefty for the hour and half in the caves.
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08.08.2015 Jernej
The cave is amazing, a bit expensive but still worth the money. Make sure you have some warm clothes. Avoid restaurants around, nothing special and way overpriced.
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29.07.2015 Tyler
A truly huge cave system that is almost impossible to grasp the intensity of. The tour starts with an open car train ride for about 15 minutes into the depths of the caves where you whisk past caverns
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25.07.2015 Lucie
The cave is fascinating but why do they make it such such a mass attraction? We couldn't hear a word from the guide. Please don't take there kids younger than 5 years if you can't make them quiet.
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05.07.2015 Renata
One of the nicest places I've ever been to. The journey in small train was breathable :-) Must see in Slovenia.
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25.04.2015 Adnan
Have to be seen
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13.04.2015 Janet
The most amazing & jawdropping cave in the world!
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10.10.2014 Miha
Very expensive but totally worth it.
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29.08.2014 Purutcuu
Should see when in Slovenia. Don't miss.
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28.08.2014 Andre
Very nice Cave. A bit expensive. Visit may be longer
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16.08.2014 Stefano
Grotte bellissime
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10.08.2014 Xose
Amazing caves. The castle a little so-so. Don't stop only here and check also the Skocjan caves.
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30.07.2014 Rob
The combination tickets are cheaper, but the cave is the best thing to see
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30.07.2014 Rob
Wear something very warm, especially for the train
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29.06.2014 Jamie
Beautiful place!
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28.04.2014 Elitsa
Unexpected, amazing, a must-see!
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19.04.2014 Karel
Must see!!
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16.10.2013 Ni
Great place to see. Dress warm. It is 10 celsius inside.
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09.09.2013 Ivan
Great, nature is sometimes makes most wonderful things that makes us speachless
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29.08.2013 Ashwin
You are given a ticket to caves 4 specific time. But don't worry, even if you miss your visit timings. Just go to ticket counter and they should be able to give you another ticket with new times.
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16.08.2013 Nessy
Amazing cave and great experience :-)
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14.08.2013 Dean
Great experience!
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09.08.2013 DayWalker
One of the best i ever seen
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03.08.2013 Alexandra
Very expensive but very professional organisation and service: excellent guides in many languages, waiting time, entrance organization, fotos... The cave is awesome
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28.07.2013 Przemyslaw
Excellent experience, wonderful view!
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10.05.2013 Alina
Stunning huge cave of great beauty. You will get there by 2km train track and will be guided around the pathway. In the end of the tour you also get to see underground river. Amazing experience!
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14.03.2013 Antony
Starting of spring but it's still snowy here.. Im wearing wrong cloth for this kind of season..
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04.10.2012 Peter
In the Cave, photographing or making video is forbidden, even without flash...
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01.02.2012 jaaka
waaaw this is crazy wonderful. You have to go here at least once in your life. The most beautiful cave in the wordl...
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27.04.2011 Tomasz
Make sure to wear something really warm.
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