The Scarlet Wild of Green Karst

Published: 18.6.2015

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The Scarlet Wild of Green Karst

Feel the natural movement of the soil, wind and water among the houses made of stone. The scattered villages on the edge of the Karst Plateau provide magnificent views of the Gulf of Trieste. Karst shows its primal and in some places its wild face. For centuries small cattle used to graze on stony meadows covered with bushes and healing plants. The persistent people from Karst put a lot of effort into subduing the landscape, using stones and stone walls. Welcome to the stony Karst with a soft heart!

The Scarlet Wild of Green Karst

Feel the natural movement of the soil, wind and water among the houses made of stone. The scattered villages on the edge of the Karst Plateau provide magnificent views of the Gulf of Trieste. Karst shows its primal and in some places its wild face. For centuries small cattle used to graze on stony meadows covered with bushes and healing plants. The persistent people from Karst put a lot of effort into subduing the landscape, using stones and stone walls. Underground, the water has carved the incredible shapes of the Karst landforms and caves since the highly soluble rocks never managed to keep the water on the surface. That is why locals used to build water wells in the large courtyards which used to be the centre of their social life. Still today, they lovingly cultivate the Refošk wine whose grapes grow on the red Karst soil. The typical flavour and aroma of the Teran Wine which is kept in every cellar in addition to the famous prosciutto is offered by locals to be tasted by their visitors. Welcome to the stony Karst with a soft heart!

A very special world is opened up to the visitors in the south and south-east Slovenia. At Karst there are waters which come to the surface and vanish under it that have created large caves and a mysterious underground world of peculiar shapes. The entire underground world is intertwined with more than eleven thousand caves and other shapes of Karst creation. It is from here that the names for all Karst phenomena in the world created by the water dissolving the limestone have evolved.

The largest cave of the classical Karst is also the most visited tourist cave in Europe. More over 35 million visitors have visited the Postojna Cave in its 200 year old tourism tradition. Meet the olm or the white salamander, an endemic species that resembles an underground dragon. In the vicinity, there is the famous Predjama Castle. The castle which is half built in a cave stirs the imagination of its visitors with the legend of the Erazem of Predjama. A part of the Postojna cave system is also the Planina Came with the largest confluence of underground rivers in Slovenia. This is where the Pivka river and the Rak river unite and come to the surface as the Unica river. All inflows are only a part of the river system of the Ljubljanica river which runs through the capital of Slovenia! When it reaches Ljubljana, it appears on the surface 7 times, disappearing again underground, which is why the Ljubljanica river also has 7 names.

On the surface of the beautiful karstic landscape there are hiking trails and paths, intertwined with cultural sights and typical karstic houses. Go hiking over the most beautiful hill tops through the extensive forests. You may taste sweet and fresh apples at the Brkini Fruit Road where almost all farms used to cook fruit brandies, dry fruit and produce home-made apple vinegar. Walk the Slovenian legendary story of Martin Krpan on the Krpan Path at Bloke or on the Great Krpan Path. When on the way, make a stop at one of the homesteads and taste a glass of home-made apple juice. Do take the road with your bicycle. It will be easier for you to find and admire the beauty of the Karst and the towns of Karst. Find some hints for other experiences in the Karst region!

Hit the road towards the gullets, natural bridges in Rakov Škocjan and the intermittent Cerknica lake. This is the largest Slovenian karstic field. It is remarkable for the fact that it is filled with water for one part of the year while it is completely dry in the other part of the year. During this period you may ride your bike across the lake bed.

Another speciality of Karst is its flavours and local culinary delights. On the burja wind, a very dry and strong wind, pork prosciutto is dried and the air is an important element in the maturing of the wine variety of Refošk from which Teran wine is made. The prosciutto and Teran wine have been protected with a European designation of origin and together they create a perfect culinary pair which is best consumed among friends as an appetizer. To honour them, the Festival of Teran and Prosciutto is organized by the locals every year in August. Stop in Dutovlje between 7 and 9 August and observe the procession of traditional farm carts and taste the delicious selection of prosciutto slices and a glass of the best Teran wine.

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