Heritage Trails from the Idrijca to the Kolpa
Heritage Tours from the Idrijca to the Kolpa
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Hotedršica - Idrija - Cerkno

From Logatec to Cerkno and from the swallowholes of the Hotenjka to the Pasica ravine, the wonders of nature and the achievements of human creativity, ingenuity, knowledge, and persistence inspire curiosity. Just as lace thread outlines a pattern, this Heritage Trail binds in memory experiences that can fill us with new knowledge in one day and because of their extraordinary nature will tempt us to recall them many times over.

From the Ljubljana-Koper expressway, we turn of toward Logatec and on the way to Idrija we stop in the village of Hotedršica, which is famous for the nearby swallowholes of the Žejna and Hotenjka streams. At the Hotenjka swallowhole is the Tomažinov Mill, which has its mill wheel positioned just over the swallowhole and is one of the rarest of its type in Europe.
After lunch, our path leads on through the canyon of the Zala stream to the Idrijca River and the Zgornja Idrijca Regional Park. Hidden in the karst section of the park below an almost vertical cliff is Divje jezero Lake, from which enormous amounts of water erupt following heavy rains. Only fifty-five meters long, Slovenia's shortest river, the Jezernica, flows from the lake into the Idrijca.
Following the road beside the Belca stream, we drive to a valley of stone dams called "klavže." In some places they are also called "Slovene pyramids," as much for their appearance as for their exceptional importance in Slovenia's technical heritage. These dams once served to collect water for sluicing wood downstream for the needs of the mine.
Along the Idrijca River we arrive in Idrija, Slovenia's oldest mining town and the site of the second largest deposit of mercury in the world. The Holy Trinity church stands today on the place where this unusual metal ore was discovered in 1492.
After a traditional Idrija meal, which must include the famous idrijski žlikrofi, a sort of ravioli stuffed with potato, cracklings, and chives, we will discover all the mysteries of Idrija mining at the museum in Gewerkenegg Castle (1), which once served as the mine's administrative center and storehouse. From here we go to an authentic miner's house and the remarkable Antonij Shaft (2) built in 1500. A fabulous underground world is conjured up by the bergmandelci or trolls. In addition to the mining exhibitions, Gewerkenegg Castle also houses Idrija's other treasure, a collection of bobbin lace items created by Idrija's women and girls that contains many true masterpieces.
From Idrija we drive to Cerkno, the center of the unusual Cerkljansko region. Here we visit the Cerkljansko Museum (3) and the church of St. Ana, which was designed by Gregor Maček and where the frescoes of Fortunat Bergant arouse admiration. We follow our visit to the town, which is particularly enlivened during Mardi Gras period by its laufarji masqueraders, with a visit to the Pasica ravine. Here we discover the well-hidden Franja Partisan Hospital (4), which is considered one of the most interesting World War II monuments in Slovenia. Afterwards we can visit the old Čufar homestead. In the evening we return to Cerkno for a traditional Cerkljansko dinner.

(1) Idrija City Museum (Gewerkenegg Castle),
Prelovčeva ulica 9, Idrija (05/372-66-00); open every day 9:00 to 18:00
(2) Antonij Shaft, Arkova 43, Idrija
(05/377-11-42), www.rzs-idrija.si ; Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 16:00, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays at 10:00,
15:00, and 16:00, by prior arrangement for larger groups
(3) Cerkljansko Museum, Bevkova 12, Cerkno (05/372-31-80), open Monday to Friday 9:00 to 15:00
(4) Cerkljansko Museum, Bevkova 12, Cerkno (05/372-31-80)
Franja Partisan Hospital
open April 1 - September 30 every day 9 - 18, March, October, November 9 - 16, December, January, February Saturday, Sunday and holidays 9 - 16