Škocjan Caves (1986) 
Slovenia

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This exceptional system of limestone caves comprises collapsed dolines, some 6 km of underground passages with a total depth of more than 200 m, many waterfalls and one of the largest known underground chambers. The site, located in the Kras region (literally meaning Karst), is one of the most famous in the world for the study of karstic phenomena. 

Between the Alps and the Dinaric mountains, on the south-western part of Slovenia lies the Karst region, a small limestone landscape, bare and waterless on the surface, but full of natural treasures inside. 
 

Slovenia 1996. World Cultural Heritage Skocjan Caves.

In the past times, the thick lime layers were covered by the waterproof flysch strata that were washed away during the Ice Ages and so denuded the lime layers, thus enabling the natural phenomena to shape the surface. 

These features were researched for the first time on that area, so they are called "Karst phenomena", this part of Slovenia is "basic Karst". The internationally accepted term KRAS comes from it (in German Karst, in Italian Carso). 

  • Slovenia 1996.  Škocjan Caves. 

The visit of the mysterious Karst underworld starts at Globočak ( a sunken Karst cave) where visitors enters the artificial tunnel, 525m long into Tiha jama (a Silent cave), discovered in 1904. The first part is because of its various colours of stalagmites & stalactites beauties called a Paradise. The path leads you to a 118m long, 25m high and 35m wide Big Hall. 

A vaulted ceiling is full of stalactites and enormous stalagmites spring out from the gravely ground. The cave is narrowed to the steep Hank channel, where a bridge is 45m over the Reka river. The Šumeča jama ( a Murmuring cave) situated even deeper is famous for the calcareous sinter pools. The booming of the Reka river that created the Škocjan caves could be heard in the distance. The Reka river is known for its extreme water oscillation. In summer, in the time of drought, the river almost disappears, and in the time of heavy spring rain, it becomes the biggest underground stream. The path goes on through enormous underground halls with the vertical walls, the river rustles on the bottom as far as the Schmidl's hall where a daylight appears again. 

The view spot over the cave (423m above sea level) embraces the whole sunken Karst cave, Velika dolina, villages Škocjan and Betanja, a natural bridge with a waterfall and a 164m deep wall where the Reka river disappears in the underground world. Škocjan (its church is situated on 426m above the sea level) dates from the Iron Age. The remains of the material culture and the emperor August inscription give evidence of the Roman fortification. The system of sunken Karst caves of Velika and Mala dolina and the underground stream Reka create the unique microclimatic conditions. 

An interesting mixture of Central European, Mediterranean, sub-Mediterranean, Illyric and Alpine flora species could be found in the region of Velika dolina. On the very small area you can see the Mediterranean species - Adiantum Cpillus - Veneris and the relic Alpine flower - an Alpine primrose which is an incredible phenomenon. 

The Karst region, waterless on the surface and with scattered eroded stones, sinkholes and fields, is very attractive, mysterious, murmuring and stiff in its inside. It is situated between the Ljubljana moor and the Trieste bay, a plateau called Kras is in the hinterland of Trieste from the pre-Roman period and many roads from sea to mainland run over it. 

Source:  
Ms. Ludvika Foški, Slovenian Post Office.  

Some notes about the Slovenian national flag.
three equal horizontal bands of white (top), blue, and red, with the Slovenian seal (a shield with the image of Triglav, Slovenia's highest peak, in white against a blue background at the center; beneath it are two wavy blue lines depicting seas and rivers, and above it are three six-pointed stars arranged in an inverted triangle, which are taken from the coat of arms of the Counts of Celje, the great Slovene dynastic house of the late 14th and early 15th centuries); the seal is located in the upper hoist side of the flag centered in the white and blue bands

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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