Breathtaking Skocjan Caves in Slovenia
The Škocjan Caves were inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1986. They sit on 413 hectares of land. They are a natural phenomenon located on the northeast section of the Kraski Landscape Park. The caves are made up of four deep and picturesque chasms which include;
- Sokolak in the South
- Globocak in the West
- Sapen dol in the North
- Lisicina in the North
The chasms are alike floristically and physically. Also to be found in the system is the Mahoric cave that hosts several underground lakes and five cascades.
The intricate system of subterranean passages was fashioned by Reka River and constitutes an outstanding example of large-scale karst landscape. The passages run from Reka’s source to Timavo on the Italian Gulf of Trieste. With time, some of these passages have collapsed giving an appearance of deep chasms. A most interesting fact is that the river enters into Skocjan grotto in an underground passage that is 350 meters long and then reappears again at the bottom of 150 meters deep and 300 meters long chasm before disappearing again in a passage that is 2 kilometers long. In total, you will find 25 cascades along the river. You will be led to the surface by a gallery of stalactites and stalagmites.
The site on which the property rests has been occupied for more than 10,000 as evidenced by archaeological finds of continuous settlement. From middle Stone Age to Iron Age, the area has seen human settlement. Amazingly, a fort was constructed at the area where Skocjan stands today. The Romans also built a fort in the same place and during the Middle Ages a fortified rural settlement was founded.
The area is home to a mixture of floras from central Europe, Sub Mediterranean, Alpine, Mediterranean, and Illyrian. All these flora species thrive side by side in the Great Valley. The rare Campanula Justiniana is endemic to this ecosystem.
Since the 19th century when the first studies were conducted at the grotto system, the authorities tasked with preserving it have done a pretty good job. With a population of just 400 people in 3 villages of Skocjan pri Divaci, Matavan and Betanja; you can be sure that the grotto will not see human intervention for a long time to come. Make sure you get a chance to visit this unique Slovenian World Heritage Site.