The intermittent Lake Cerknica thac can cover up to 26 km² of the Cerknica Polje at times of high water. Photo: Aleš Fevžer

Among the Slovenian regions, Notranjska was arguably the first to have become more widely known in Europe, thanks to the Slovenian nobleman, castle-owner and polymath Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641-1693), whose comprehensive opus, The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola describes the special natural and cultural characteristics of this part of Slovenia. His study of the intermittent Cerknica Lake earned him membership of the English academy of sciences – the Royal Society of London. Also to Valvasor’s credit is the first mention of skiing tradition on the Bloke Plateau in Notranjska, which puts Slovenia alongside the Scandinavian countries as one of the cradles of European and world skiing.

Idrija lace. Beauty created with needle, bobbin and thread. Photo: Municipal museum Idrija archive

Besides Cerknica Lake, there are other Karst phenomena in Notranjska, such as the Rakov Škocjan Caves, the Postojna and Pivka Caves, and also the settlement of Predjama with Predjama Castle, and the picturesque Križna Cave with its small lakes. The centre of the region is the town of Postojna, which developed on the ancient route towards Trieste and became even more important from the 19th century due the development of tourism at Postojna Cave. 

The areas known as Rovtarsko, Idrijsko and Cerkljansko are notable because of the special Idrija-type bobbin lace. Idrija lace is one of the finest expressions of Slovenian handicraft traditions. The lace-making school at Idrija, a town also made famous by its former mercury mine, was founded in 1876 and is the oldest continually working school of its kind in Europe. As for the Idrija mine, now a museum, it should be noted that it gave rise to many technical inventions and machines, which constitute a valuable technical heritage.