For more than half a millennium, the mercury mine in Idrija was important to the whole world! In relation to the mine many points of interest arouse our attention even today. You enter the city along the water channel “Rake”. Next to it there is “kamšt”, a big wooden wheel, which was part of the mine’s pumping system. Not far from there, along the “Jožefov jašek” shaft, you will see the preserved old mining locomotives, and at the entrance to the “jašek Frančiška” shaft you can see the collection of mining machinery and equipment, such as “Kleyeva črpalka”, the biggest preserved steam engine in Europe!
Go below the city to the “Antonijev rov” shaft, where you might even meet the cave dwarf “Prekmandelc”! You will understand the work and life in and above those shafts after visiting the Idrija Municipal Museum in the Gewerkenegg castle, which bear witness to the mining heritage, and shows geological peculiarities and Idrija laces. Idrija miner’s house from the 18th century offers an insight into the lives of the miners and their families. You’re also welcome to visit the oldest Idrija church – church of The Holy Trinity, which stands on the place, where, according to the folk tradition, the first drops of mercury were discovered!
Where Laces Intertwine with Mercury.
If you don’t know what a lace-bobbin is, you will know after visiting Idrija! You will never forget what skilful fingers can create from threads! By patterns and other features Idrija laces are very special types of hand-made bobbin laces. In the past the women and girls of Idrija used this skill to increase the humble family budget. As early as the 19th century Idrija laces travelled far over the Atlantic ocean, while the lace-making school was established in Idrija, which is still active today. Every year Idrija bows to this tradition at the Idrija lace festival. Next to traditional meetings, trainings, presentations, and fun the festival is also a true fashion event for new lace creations. Open your eyes to delicate wonders. Take them with you to keep forever!
Mysterious World of Wild Waters.
The life of Idrija is inseparably connected with nature and waters. Visit the Zgornja Idrijca regional park, where you will come across many monuments of the past and enjoy botanical particularities, murmuring streams and rivers. You will be blown away by high river dams for timber floating – “klavže”, also called “the pyramids of Idrija”. The mysteriousness of the wild nature will tickle your skin at the Wild lake, the biggest karst spring in Slovenia, in the depths of which hides the olm. Following the trail of Idrija’s natural scientists you will reach the Scopoli’s Memorial Garden with natural treasures, discovered by numerous important European natural scientists and botanists. Idrija is also perfect for exploring rocks and other geological peculiarities. Visit the Geopark Idrija!
If you have not tasted idrijski žlikrofi, you have not been in Idrija! “Žlikrofi” are the first Slovenian dish protected by the EU’s Traditional Speciality Guaranteed label. Prepared of dough and potato filling it goes well with the “bakalca” sauce made of mutton and vegetables. With a bit of luck you will also enjoy “zeljševka” (roll with herb filling), “ocvirkovca” (bread with cracklings), “smukavc” (cabbage and potato hot top), “štruklji”, and other specialties. But if you really want to taste the miner’s past, try the ancient local drink – “pelinov geruš”, the wormwood liqueur.
It feels real good to rest in the embrace of intact nature. But if visits and new discoveries alone are not enough for you, then give your body a chance to actively experience Idrija and its surroundings! All year long you can choose between numerous hiking and cycling routes. In winter indulge in skiing, sledging or cross-country skiing. In summer enjoy fishing, hunting or horseback riding. Refresh your senses in the natural baths in Bela. All year long, but especially in summer, the city invites you to different adventures: in addition to the Lace Festival, you can also visit the “Castle Evenings” and various ethnological, sports, and other events.