It seems like we can’t get enough of caves and their wonders this week! Nestled in Central Europe, Slovenia is home to the Škocjan Caves. This 6.2km-long underground cave was chiseled out by the Reka River which disappears into the Caves for a distance of 34km before resurfacing to enter the Dead Lake It disappears again into the cave and reappears as the River Timavo!
The enormity of the Škocjan Caves was recognised by the UNESCO World Heritage committee and as such was designated a place on the coveted list in 1986. It was declared outstanding for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons was its magnificent beauty, brought out by blues and greens clashing against grey and brown backdrops.
As you tour the Underground Caves, walked though stretches of stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones and admire the the way light bounces off their surface. Watch out for hauntingly beautiful formations that mimic the architecture of towering castles. Pause by the stone pools and watch at how hundreds and thousands of years have resulted in flat stones laying on-top of another in an organised mess.
Past the eccentric formations, you will stand face to face with the Cerkevnik Bridge. It is on an elevation of 47m above the Reka Riverbed. Follow lighted walkways through into the Underground canyon. This terrifyingly beautiful feature bathes in the lights of small lamps and showcases the might of the River Reka.
Sunlight filters into an opening, hidden by tendrils of exotic plants, unique to this ecosystem. Exit the cave, into the another reason why the Caves were highlighted by the committee. It has bee noted for its historical importance, having been the home to prehistoric settlements. Currently the caves are located under the village of Škocjan and the region demarcated by the National Park is also home to two other villages – Betanja, and Matavun. The Škocjan Caves are the perfect example of how mankind can coexist with these feats of nature without causing destruction!
From Ljubljana, take a train down to Divaca. This is the town nearest to the Škocjan Caves. At the terminal in Divaca, there is a shuttle bus service available that takes you to and from the Caves at specific timings so do take note of those! There is a fair bit of walking to be expected in the caves and do dress appropriately as the temperature averages at 12 degrees celsius. Bring a headlamp or torch to illuminate your way as some areas may not be as lighted up by the pathways as others!