Postojna Cave marks almost 200 years, but offers new stories

Published: 3.3.2011

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Postojna Cave marks almost 200 years, but offers new stories

Postojna Cave is a unique 20-kilometre labyrinth of dripstone passages, galleries and chambers, into which experienced guides have accompanied more than 33 million visitors over a period of almost 200 years. This is the biggest cave of the classic Karst, the most visited tourist cave in Europe and one of the major tourist caves in the world, its fame being enhanced by a range of features which, alongside the dripstones, can only be seen in Postojna Cave. Its attractions are being bolstered continuously with new stories.

Postojna Cave marks almost 200 years, but offers new stories

Postojna Cave is a unique 20-kilometre labyrinth of dripstone passages, galleries and chambers, into which experienced guides have accompanied more than 33 million visitors over a period of almost 200 years. This is the biggest cave of the classic Karst, the most visited tourist cave in Europe and one of the major tourist caves in the world, its fame being enhanced by a range of features which, alongside the dripstones, can only be seen in Postojna Cave. Its attractions are being bolstered continuously with new stories.

Right up until 11 April this year, the scale models of Minimundus can take you on a trip around the world, right there in Postojna Cave. The exhibition presents numerous world features and architectural jewels from Europe, America and Asia. The Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and cathedral, the Vienna Ferris Wheel, castles, windmills, ships, cathedrals and more take on entirely new dimensions in this unique underground world, and Postojna Cave turns them into a very special experience. The train ride through the cave is in itself a magical experience, and the atmosphere in the Concert Hall – where the Minimundus exhibition is complemented by another exhibition, on famous visitors to Postojna Cave, “Entered in the Golden Book” – adds further splendour to a visit.

Meanwhile, Postojna Cave is already pulsing to the rhythm of spring. In the Proteus Vivarium hall there is a photographic exhibition “Butterflies of the World” by Slavko Polak, complete with a vivid display of 7,000 butterflies and moths from all over the world. The exhibition is open at the same times as the Proteus Vivarium.

And there are regular tours of Postojna Cave every day of the year. Each tour offers guiding in Slovenian, English, Italian and German, while tours in other languages should be checked or arranged in advance. A tour lasts 80 to 90 minutes. The cave is easily accessible, without any steps or any strenuous uphill walking. Part of the visit to the cave is on the train, and part of it on foot. There are also increasingly popular supplementary programmes offered in the form of special or experience tours - both in Postojna Cave and in neighbouring caves. These are specially adapted to various target groups, prominent among which are state protocol visits, school groups, children, cavers, speleobiologists and closed groups with organised cave adventures. Just 100 m from the entrance the cave houses the Proteus Vivarium.

Throughout its history it has posed a great challenge for daring explorers, who have shown enormous tenacity and persistence in managing to penetrate further and further into the underground world. The most interesting passages were discovered by Luka Čeč in 1818, only a year later, the cave was already set up as a show cave. The far-sighted cave management deserves credit for the fact that all the newly discovered parts of the cave were soon equipped for large numbers of visitors. Prior to that, visitors had only been able to access the passages not far from the entrance, where the signatures of visitors to the cave have been recorded since the 13th century. In 1872, railway tracks were laid in the cave and in 1884 electricity was installed. Nowadays visitors can satisfy their curiosity about how the cave came into existence by touring the passages and chambers, and above all by looking at the stalagmites rising up from the floor of the cave and stalactites hanging down from its roof, how they are joined as pillars, creased as curtains and lined up in all kinds of fantastic forms. A large number of books and other articles have been written about Postojna Cave. Around 100 tourist guidebooks alone have been published on the cave over the past 200 years.

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