Brilliant Passage, with the stalagmite Brilliant, the symbol of Postojna Cave (second from the right)
|Depth||115 m (377 ft)|
|Length||24,120 m (79,130 ft)|
Postojna Cave (Slovene: Postojnska jama; German: Adelsberger Grotte; Italian: Grotte di Postumia) is a 24,120 m long karst cave system near Postojna, southwestern Slovenia. It is the second-longest cave system in the country (following the Migovec System) as well as one of its top tourism sites. The caves were created by the Pivka River.
The cave was first described in the 17th century by the pioneer of study of karst phenomena, Johann Weikhard von Valvasor. In 1818, when the cave was being prepared for a visit by Francis I, the first Emperor of the Austria-Hungary, a new area of the cave was discovered accidentally by local Luka Čeč.
- First tourist guide and electric lighting
In 1819, Archduke Ferdinand visited the caves, this is when the caves became officially known as a tourist destination. Čeč became the first official tourist guide for the caves when the caves were opened to the public. Electric lighting was added in 1884, preceding even Ljubljana, the capital of Carniola, of which the cave was part at the time, and further enhancing the cave system's popularity.
- Cave rails
In 1872, cave rails were laid along with first cave train for tourists. At first, these were pushed along by the guides themselves, later at the beginning of the 20th century a gas locomotive was introduced.
- Blackening of the entrance
During World War II, German occupying forces used the cave to store nearly 1,000 barrels of aircraft fuel, which were destroyed in April 1944 by Slovene Partisans. The fire burned for seven days, destroying a large section of the cave and blackening the entrance.
- After World War II
After 1945, the gas locomotive was replaced by an electric one. About 5.3 kilometres (3.3 mi) of the cave system are open to the public. In June 2015 the cave administration reported that cave divers managed to explore a further underwater section of the cave leading towards Planina Cave, thus lengthening the cave system from 20,570 m (67,490 ft) to 24,120 m (79,130 ft).
The caves are also home to the endemic olm, the largest trogloditic amphibian in the world. The tour through the caves includes an aquarium with some olms in it.
|Underground railway in the cave|
Notes and references
- "Postojnska jama" (in Slovenian). Cave E-Cadastre. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- Močnik, Blaž (16 August 2012). "Nov najdaljši jamski sistem je pod Migovcem" [The New Longest Cave System Is Under Migovec]. Delo.si (in Slovenian) (Delo, d. d.). ISSN 1854-6544.
- Kogovšek, Janja; Pipan, Tanja; Stanka, Šebela; Zupan Hajna, Nadja. "Postojnski jamski sistem" [Postojna Cave System]. In Šmid Hribar, Mateja; Golež, Gregor; Podjed, Dan; Kladnik, Drago; Erhartič, Bojan; Pavlin, Primož; Ines, Jerele. Enciklopedija naravne in kulturne dediščine na Slovenskem – DEDI [Encyclopedia of Natural and Cultural Heritage in Slovenia] (in Slovenian). Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- Johann Weichard Valvasor, Die Ehre dess Hertzogthums Crain: das ist, Wahre, gründliche, und recht eigendliche Belegen- und Beschaffenheit dieses Römisch-Keyserlichen herrlichen Erblandes, Laybach 1689; reprint Ljubljana 1984
- Clark, Sydney. 1955. All the Best in Europe. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, p. 472.
- Šerko, Alfred, & Ivan Mishler. 1967. The Postojna Grottoes and the Other Marvels of the Karst. Postojna: Tiskarna Toneta Tomšiča, p. 21.
- Merrill, Christopher. 1999. Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, p. 91.
- "Postojnska jama". Hrvatska enciklopedija (in Croatian). Leksikografski zavod Miroslava Krleža. 1999. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- "V Postojnski jami odkrili nov podvodni rov" [A New Underwater Passage Found in Postojna Cave]. Delo.si (in Slovenian). 30 June 2015.
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