Winter cultural and creative kaleidoscope
Winter cultural and creative kaleidoscope
Open the chest of Slovenian culture, tradition and modern creativity! In winter, the tangle of legends and stories relating to cultural peculiarities and attractions of Slovenia becomes even more mysterious. Slovenia is the right kaleidoscope of adventures for you. It will colour your cheeks and make you smile.
Open the chest of Slovenian culture, tradition and modern creativity! In winter, the tangle of legends and stories relating to cultural peculiarities and attractions of Slovenia becomes even more mysterious. Is your spirit restless and adventurous? If so, Slovenia is the right kaleidoscope of adventures for you. It will colour your cheeks and make you smile, from Ljubljana to the beauties of UNESCO world heritage and from mediaeval legends to a true winter fairy tale amid snow castles.
The underground and UNESCO Slovenia
Did you know that in winter you can find a warm hideaway in the mysterious world of the Slovenian karst underground, where the air temperature in the caves is around 10 degrees Celsius all year round? You have certainly heard about the world-famous underground train adventure in the Postojna cave, one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Slovenia and Europe.
Not far away, on the way from Ljubljana toward the Slovenian coast, are the Škocjan caves, which have already been on the prestigious list of UNESCO world heritage sites for three decades. A walk through the immense Martel’s Chamber, one of the largest in the world, where stalactites, stalagmites and rimstone pools shimmer in the darkness and dim lights deep underground, is an unforgettable adventure.
Also on the UNESCO world heritage list is the former Idrija Mercury Mine, which is full of surprises. In the ever-creative Slovenian town in which one of the most innovative companies in Europe is located, visitors are welcome to the famous Idrija Lace School and lacemaking workshops.
Vortex of water and love in Ljubljana
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia and the European Capital of Culture 2016, has a UNESCO world heritage site as well. The protected cultural features of stilt house dwellers, who inhabited the Ljubljana Marshes between the fifth and the first millennium B.C. and lived in wooden stilt houses elevated above the marshland, are worth exploring. Put on warm clothes and take a walk when you want a change from the lively, brightly illuminated city centre. At the only bio hotel in Slovenia, which is located in the vicinity of the Ljubljana Marshes, you can warm up again while tasting ecological house delicacies; afterwards we recommend you visit the Water exhibition in the City Museum in the heart of Ljubljana.
The fact that 8th February is celebrated in Slovenia as a work-free national Cultural Holiday, which is unique in the world, testifies that legends, stories and words have great power in Slovenia. The holiday is dedicated to the greatest Slovenian poet, France Prešeren. The seventh stanza of Prešeren`s poem Zdravljica (A Toast) is the Slovenian national anthem, while the central city square (Prešeren Square), with the statue of the poet, also bears his name. The statue depicts Prešeren and above him his muse. The poet is symbolically gazing towards the bust of his great and unrequited love, Julija Primic. There is a legend about Prešeren according to which he enjoyed eating Slovenian figs and giving them to children. Today, figs can be found in the Ljubljana chocolate shop as chocolate-covered pralines. In December, Prešeren Square is the central venue of events in Ljubljana’s festive atmosphere. Look up into the sky where more than 60 kilometres of festive lights and sculptures glow, attracting thousands of visitors from around the globe to Ljubljana.
Amid snow castles and Slovenian legends
Slovenia could easily be called the country of castles. Among more than 150 castles, one stands out in particular: carved into a rock face, mysterious and more than 700 years old, the Predjama Castle is located in the vicinity of the Postojna Cave. It made its way into the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest cave castle in the world. It is particularly attractive in wintertime during which the surrounding landscape is blanketed in snow. Related to the castle is the legend of Erasmus of Predjama, a notorious young knight, also called the ‘robber baron’, and the most famous inhabitant of the castle. In the 15th century, he came into conflict with the Habsburg Emperor, who wished to eliminate him. But Erasmus knew his castle very well and supplied himself with food and beverages by way of a secret tunnel. Legend has it that Erasmus perished after being betrayed by a corrupt servant while using the toilet.
In the Mežica Valley in Carinthia, the foot of the Peca mountain in the Karawanken range is home to King Matjaž. A just and good king in the period of the Carantania principality, he is said to have found refuge in a cave together with his soldiers while seeking shelter as he was attacked by an enemy. Legend has it that he sat at a table with his soldiers, who all fell asleep. It is said that King Matjaž is still resting at the table. When his beard grows around the table nine times, the Slovenian king will wake up and eliminate injustice from the world. The cave in which you will discover a statue of the legendary King Matjaž is a popular modern attraction. In January each year, the atmosphere beneath the Peca Mountain is regal.
For more than twenty years now, they have been organising the largest winter tourist event in Carinthia – Kralj Matjaž’s Castles. Many teams from Slovenia and other European countries that compete in building snow castles gather at the special event. You can also participate in a night slalom with torches for the King Matjaž Cup or simply enjoy having a walk among romantic castles.