Archive for the ‘Notranjska’ Category

Cerknica

Cerknica was given the town status in the 11th century and is a good example of how important communication tracks are for development of a town- during the Roman period, it was a layover on the road going from Ljubljana to the coast.
The city is located near the biggest seasonal lake in Slovenia, the world famous Cerknica Lake, situated on the karstic field. This geographical phenomenon of the Slovene Karst has always been the subject of many legends.
The lake can cover up to 26 km² at times of high water, but it is never more than a few metres deep. The lake dries during the height of summer and then reappears in spring and during rainy periods. How is this wonder happening? When all the water flowing off streams, karst springs and underground meets, the beds of the rivers become full. As the ground cannot assimilate such amount of water, it spreads around the area creating an enormous pool – Cerknica Lake. During spring it is at its fullest. However, if you also want to see the sinkholes, you should come during drought. It is worth visiting in the winter as well, when it is frozen. Visitors may also enjoy surroundings of the lake, especially nature lovers would be delighted as the area consists mainly of forests, meadows and hills.
In a small village of Dolnje Jezero near Cerknica, where the lake really begins, you can get familiar with the whole lake’s underground hydrological system in the Lake House Museum.

Sneznik Castle

It is believed to be one of the most beautiful castles in Slovenia and definitely on the top of must-see objects.  Its name is sometimes translated to english as ‘Snowy Castle’, but basically it should be explained as the noble house of Schneberg, who was the original owner of the Castel.
This is the best preserved castle in Notranjska region. There is no other castle in Slovenia where you can feel the atmosphere of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century life. It was mentioned for the first time in 1268 as a hunting post, however its current formation goes back to 1462. Firstly, it was possessed by the Patriarchate of Aquileia. Then owners were changing several times. Before the II World War it was owned by the Saxon family Schönburg. Owing to the fact that the castle’s caretaker threw back the attacks of invaders all furniture stayed untouched and today visitors are able to have an insight into the real life of hunting and holiday residences of last inhabitants.
The castle is a three-storey residence with a renaissance wall in front of the entrance. In the 19th century it was completely redeveloped, so the two-arched stone bridge as well as two outer towers are romantic addition from that time. Most of the interior fittings of the castle also come from that time as well as the castle’s surroundings. Among the living quarters, you can visit the dinning room, the room with the curious “Egyptian” furniture and a huge hall adapted as a wedding hall. In the castle you may also find a small library and an improvised theatre hall. In all halls and vestibules  trophies and stuffed animals are hanged  as a prove of hunting character of the residence. In the eastern part of the castle there are few more additional buildings, one of them houses a small hunting museum.
The Sneznik Castle lying at the end of the Loka Valley, under the mountain Sneznik, creates the impreassion of a fortress surrounded by the virgin nature. It was perfectly integrated into the huge, protected park with walking and riding paths, bordered by rows of trees. It also contains two artificial lakes filled up by Obrh and Brezno springs.

Predjama Castle

It is located 10 kilometers from Postojna Cave and although tourists usually choose cave as a place to visit, the castle is said to be even more impressive and unfairly overshadowed by the fame of the cave. Its history goes back to the 12th century when it was supposedly built. It is situated in the mouth of a cave on the 123 meter cliff, approachable only from one side and equipped with all necessary fortification it had extremely high defensive capability. Originally, it was owned by Patriarchs of Aquileia who gave it the name: “Castle in front of the cave”. Later on, the Luegg family, vassals under Aquilean authority, became owners of the castle, expanded and fortified it. In 1478 its property was taken by the castle’s most famous inhabitant, knight Erazm, the Robin Hood of the 15th century. He is said to have been robbing rich wagons and then passing it to the poor. He is the main protagonist of countless legends and as one of them says he came into conflict with the Habsburgs because of killing the commander of the Imperial army. He hid himself in his castle and was defying the attack for a year and a day. Invader tried to starve Erazm to death, he failed though , because Erazm was using a secret passage to have the food supplied. But as in all stories traitors appear, he is believed to be betrayed by one of his servants who contributed to the fall of Erazm marking the location of a rest room. Having miserable fate, he was shot by a cannon ball in the toilet. After being seized and destroyed the castle was rebuilt by Purgstall family, to be ruined again during historical earthquake in 1511. A new owner of the castle Philipp von Cobenzl invested money and in 1570 erected new castle in a renaissance style, which is the one we can visit now. However, the exterior is really impressive, the interior is also worth visiting as it shows how incredibly the castle was adapted to the cave. Visitors can watch original equipment but also replicas and models. The room with most abundant equipment is the knight’s room whereas in the dining room tourist can learn about the castle life in late gothic period. Finally, the hunting trophies of the last castle’s owner Windischgrätz Prince are exhibited in the Renaissance hall. From May to September the scenic cave under Predjama Castle is accessible to tourists. The cave cannot be entered off this season because of its special inhabitants – colony of bats that has its hibernation period that time.

Postojna Cave

This is the biggest and the best-known karst cave in Europe. With thousands of aisles, tunnels and arches it creates an impression of labyrinth that tourists can enjoy in the company of experienced guides. The first 4 kilometers of 5,5-kilometers route takes place aboard the special cave railway. During the journey through this incredible figment of nature tourists can experience the beauty and complexity of underground world.
Going firstly through the Gothic Hall with countless flowstone creation, then through Congress Hall (used for concerts and other events for almost two centuries) and moving deeper to the Great Mountain, tourists may notice when the train route ends and since that moment tour is continued on foot.  You walk through the chambers of White Hall and the Red Hall which were given their names from different colors and shape stalactites and stalagmites that can be found there. The route ends in the Brilliant Passage, where the symbol of the cave is placed: the most beautiful and the most famous stalagmite called Brilliant.
The cave is also home to olms- a salamander-like animal (also called the proteus or the human fish). It can be met only in waters of these kinds of caves. Despite its blindness, they are really sensitive to flashes so tourist should note that taking pictures is forbidden.
The cave was created by the Pivka River millions of years ago in the process of erosion. It was discovered in the 13th century, however it was fully explored not before 1800s and the first travel trailers became available for tourists in 1819.
Inside the cave the temperature is constant and remains around 10 Celsius degrees throughout the year.