Mysteries of submerged villages

Place: Velenje Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter Active time: From a few hours up to a whole day, approximately 4 hours (from 15.00 to 19.00 or by arrangement) Number of people: 2 - 14
*Guaranteed to take place if at least 2 people register.
Guided tour Language: Slovenian, English Type of experience: Taste Slovenia, Culture Contact:
Zavod za turizem Šaleške doline
Stari trg 3
3320 Velenje
+386 (0)3 896 17 15
From 116,00 € Book

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Mysteries of submerged villages

An experience that reveals how mining has shaped the landscape of Šaleška Valley and its inhabitants.

Slovenia unique experience

Following the traces of submerged villages and mining traditions

The miners of Velenje have changed the landscape of the region where they live by mining lignite from one of the thickest seams of coal in the world. Hear their stories and help a descendant of the miners find a precious object beneath the surface of the lake!

Discover the secrets of the submerged villages

Underground in the Šaleška Valley lies Slovenia's largest coal deposit. More than 230 million tonnes of coal have been mined in this area over almost 150 years. Mining has left a lasting mark on the valley and its people. Where once there were villages, today there are lakes. What has happened to the houses, the schools, the churches? Why did they sink and where did the villagers go? Discover the incredible life stories of the villagers, the miners, the people of Velenje, told by the grandson of a miner. Take the elevator down into the tunnels 160 metres underground and experience the everyday life of a miner. With the help of virtual reality, water covers the former villages before your eyes. Take a boat across the surface of Velenje Lake and take a virtual plunge into the depths that still hold the treasures of a mining family. Enjoy a selection of local delicacies at the lookout point. Take away an unforgettable experience and a special symbol of the Velenje miners.

SUE potopljene vasi_velenjsko jezero

What to expect from the experience:

  • Reception in front of the Slovenian Coal Mining Museum. Your guide will equip you and escort you by lift into the mine tunnel.
  • Ride the cave train and get to know the peculiarities of the coal mine in a different way than the usual museum visitors.
  • See a digitised presentation of the subsidence of the earth's surface and the sinking of the villages in the cave part of the museum. Presentation of technical contents in the mining changing room and bathroom.
  • A talk in a miner’s apartment that sheds light on the life stories of former miners.
  • Guided walk past Škale Lake and the unique garden area of Velenje to Velenje Lake.
  • Board the boat at the pier of the new park and event space. Experience a virtual dive into a former village during a ride on the lake.
  • Return to the lake shore and experience the culinary end at the Vista lookout point.

SUE potopljene vasi_rudnik

Schedule: a few times a year at pre-arranged times and upon prior arrangement

Location: Velenje, Šaleška Valley

Price: from EUR 116 per person (for 7-10 persons); for 3-6 persons: 128 EUR/person; for 2 persons: 242 EUR / person

The price includes:

  • Organisation and guiding
  • Tour of the Coal Mining Museum of Slovenia, tailored for programme participants only – with a digitised presentation of surface subsidence and the formation of the lakes
  • A snack in a miner's apartment
  • Guided walk to Velenje Lake
  • Boating on the lake with a virtual dive experience
  • A meal of local delicacies with drinks included at Vista
  • Souvenir

Find out more about the experience

Discover the precious stories of the sunken past

In the company of a descendant of former "knapi" (miners), discover the mining heritage of the Šaleška Valley and discover the secrets of sunken villages.

Zavod za turizem Šaleške doline
Stari trg 3
3320 Velenje
+386 (0)3 896 17 15


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Did you know?

Družmirje, Škale, Preloge, Metleče, Pesje and Gaberke are villages that started to sink by the end of World War II due to mining activities. Almost 400 homesteads disappeared and 2,000 people were displaced.

Around 1975, three large lakes began to form in the area of the disappeared villages: Škale, Družmirje and Velenje Lakes. Družmirje Lake is the deepest artificial lake in Slovenia, with a depth of 87 metres.

The oldest lift still in operation in Slovenia takes you down into the underground kingdom of the Šaleška Valley. It has been in operation since 1888.

By Velenje Lake is a unique garden village, named after the TV series Kunta Kinte. The 250 typical houses are completely self-sufficient and driving a car in the settlement is only allowed on Fridays.

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