Under a 2126-metre-high mountain of the Karavanke mountain chain, also famous for the legend of the sleeping King Matjaž, lies a labyrinth of as many as 1,000 kilometres of shafts dug out in the search for lead.
Under a 2126-metre-high mountain of the Karavanke mountain chain, also famous for the legend of the sleeping King Matjaž, lies a labyrinth of as many as 1,000 kilometres of shafts dug out in the search for lead. Today, special adventures invite you to the disused mine in this remote and forested northern part of Slovenia. Get to know Mežica in the north of Slovenia that has always been known as the tourist centre of the Mežica valley and is a popular point for lovers of an active lifestyle.
Unique mining adventure
In the north of green, active and healthy Slovenia, Mežica is surrounded by mighty forests. Above the landscape rises the highest surrounding mountain Peca, in which a disused zinc and lead mine is hidden. Today, it is a tourist mine offering unforgettable adventures. Enter it riding a mining train and wearing mining equipment. The train’s last stop is 600m below the surface, where the mining hall that often hosts different events is located. You can explore the mining tunnels by bike, wearing head lights and accompanied by a guide. Biking on the more than 5 kilometre-long underground biking trail is a unique adventure in the world. Spice it up by exploring underground with kayaks. When the mine ceased to operate, the draining of water from underground also stopped. Therefore, the large excavation sites were flooded, and now seem like magical underground lakes.
You can visit world famous and protected mineral wulfenite deposits in a professionally guided tour. This is a colourful lead mineral that was used by Germans to increase the strength of cannon tubes during the war occupation. You can see it in the mine’s old administration building, where the museum, with mineral and fossil collections and a presentation of mine life, awaits you. It is precisely due to the varied structure of the rocks located in the area that Mežica is a part of UNESCO’s Global Geopark Karavanke.
Actively around the land of King Matjaž
A labyrinth, in which the legend of King Matjaž is presented, is arranged along the museum. The legend says that King Matjaž sleeps under Peca and will awaken from a sound sleep when his beard has grown nine times around the table. Enter the royal cave under Peca on foot and search for his statue.
Mežica and its surroundings offer countless opportunities to actively spend your free time. Numerous mountain trails and diverse reliefs among the forests are a true paradise for mountain bikers and hikers. Hiking trails lead to peaks such as the Olševa and Raduha mountains, while biking trails are a true paradise for mountain bikers. The first mountain bike park in Slovenia, with over 1,000 km of different tours, also arose in the Peca mountain range.
After an active day, you can have a pick-me-up in one of the restaurants and tourist farms. Here, they serve the miner’s culinary specialities. You can also try other specialities, such as kruhov hren (bread and horseradish sauce) and sweet povitnek (phyllo pastry roll) that resembles štruklji (rolled dumplings). Before you leave Mežica, you should hug the thickest tree in Slovenia, Najevnik lime, that grows near Najevnik farm in Črna na Koroškem. The circumference of its trunk is approximately 10 metres, and it should be approximately 770 years old.
Photo: Podzemlje Pece