A karst cave with a lake and a speleologist

Photo: Peter Gedei

There are approximately 10,200 recorded caves in Slovenia, and about one hundred new ones are discovered every year.

The Karst  is a limestone plateau between the Gulf of Trieste, the plain of the Soča/Isonzo, the Vipava Valley and the Upper Pivka Basin as far as the Brkini Hills. 

The action of water on the limestone has created a variety of unusual relief reforms, caves and characteristic subsurface water flow. The geological phenomena of this region are so distinctive that the expression "karst phenomena" has been adopted everywhere in the world where sim-ilar features are present. The region's mysterious natural phenomena once led people to believe that it was a place of magic. 

Among its most attractive and mysterious features are karst caves – magnificent "cathedrals" of white or coloured limestone. The Škocjan Caves  are a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of their extraordinary beauty and the largest underground canyon in the world. The caves and the surface above them also enjoy protected status as a Regional Park. 

The most famous and most visited show cave in the world is Postojna Cave , the home of the cave salamander popularly known as the human fish . The Postojna Cave System consists of Postojna Cave, Otok Cave, Magdalene Cave, Black Cave and Pivka Cave, each of which also has its own entrance. Postojna Cave formed at the contact between Cretaceous limestone and Eocene flysch. Today the river Pivka disappears underground into the cave, which has an extensive and elaborate system of passages and rich dripstone decoration (stalactites, stalagmites, etc.) and has been attracting vast numbers of tourists for centuries. Postojna cave has also become the epitome of a karst cave. 

Text by Tanja Glogovčan