Between miners, lace and ravioli

Published: 18.6.2015

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Between miners, lace and ravioli

Idrija is the oldest Slovenian mine city. In addition to the once treasure trove of mercury, it is famous for world known Idrija lace and delicious ravioli, locally called žlikrofi. The city is situated at the border between the Karst and the pre-Alpine world and it is included in the prestigious list of Unesco protected destinations. Experience contact with tradition and nature. Take a walk in the fresh forests or go fishing in the crystal clear Idrijca River.

Between miners, lace and ravioli

Idrija is the oldest Slovenian mine city. In addition to the once treasure trove of mercury, it is famous for world known Idrija lace and delicious ravioli, locally called žlikrofi. The city is situated at the border between the Karst and the pre-Alpine world and it is included in the prestigious list of Unesco protected destinations. Experience contact with tradition and nature. Take a walk in the fresh forests or go fishing in the crystal clear Idrijca River.

Idrija is home to a mixture of valuable technical, industrial and cultural heritage. The legend says that a bucket maker working in a local spring spotted a small amount of liquid mercury over 500 years ago. The Idrija miners then discovered the Fortune Shaft and the wealth of the cinnabar ore which made Idrija the centre of the natural science. There are more than 700 km of mining shafts laid under the town from which more than 147,000 tonnes of the only liquid metal, mercury was mined, thus digging out the material that would make almost 2 Keops pyramids. You enter the mine through the Anthony`s Shaft, one of the oldest preserved entries into the mine. In the underground shafts you may welcome the Perkmandeljc, the playful mining dwarf who used to keep company to the miners, helping them digging up the mercury, sometimes also playing tricks on them. When digging, the Idrija Kamšt water wheel, the largest preserved wooden water wheel in Europe, used to be of great assistance to miners when pumping water. Today it is put on display in the Idrija City Museum. You can learn about the history of Idrija in the Gewerkenegg Castle, which is considered to be the best European museum of industrial and technical heritage, once the headquarters and the warehouse of the Idrija Mine.

An exceptional heritage is marked by the Idrija lace. Its renowned form and generally established lace making with seven pair of needles is continuously preserved in the Lace School established in 1876. You may also become a master of Idrija lace making and present the lace masterpieces or the techniques of thread interlacing at the traditional Idrija Lace Festival taking place in June.

After the course in lace making, it is time for some culinary delights. You should gather your strength by tasting traditional Idrija žlikrofi which are the culinary pride of the region and a protected traditional speciality of Europe. In August, Idrija pay tribute to this delicacy by organising the Idrijski Žlikrofi Festival. They are made from dough and potato filling with bacon and herbs, marked with a personal seal - a fingerprint of the chef. They are best served with bakalca, a sauce made of mutton and vegetables. Try the local delicacies in the local inns and restaurants where ocvirkovca, potica made with leavened dough and filled with pork scratchings, is served as a starter, or the smukavc stew, made of cabbage and potato.

The area surrounding Idrija is an excellent place for an active holiday break. Green forests are home to numerous flora and fauna. Owing to the turning point between the Karst and the Pre-Alpine hills, the soil is rich in vivid world of rocks, minerals and fossils about which you may learn in the Idrija Geopark. The life of the locals is closely connected to water. Let yourself be charmed by the river barrels and the babble of streams in the Upper Idrijca River Landscape Park. Feel the mystery and the power of water along the Divje jezero - Wild Lake, the largest Karst spring in Slovenia and the first Slovenian natural museum.

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