Heritage Trails from the Idrijca to the Kolpa
Heritage Tours from the Idrijca to the Kolpa
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Cerkno - Idrija - Rakov Škocjan - Cerknica

From Cerkljansko forests to the forests of Snežnik, from the Idrija underground to the Bloke plateau, so many natural beauties will be revealed to the curious eye that it is quite possible to be convinced that the witches of Slivnica were at work here. The route, which seems such a short distance on the map, is easily transformed into a two-day journey worth every step.

Day 1:
We turn off the Ljubljana-Koper expressway toward Logatec and past Idrija toward Cerkno. Signs lead us to the well-concealed Franja Partisan Hospital (1) in the Pasica ravine. Its fifteen cabins display the operating theatre, x-ray equipment, the convalescent center, the kitchen, and the power plant. Surrounded by the winds of war, more than five hundred wounded soldiers could be hidden here. We will also visit the old Čufar homestead and then enjoy a lunch in Cerkno.
From the embrace of the forests we return along the clear Idrijca River to Idrija. In the town and its surroundings, equipment and buildings connected with five hundred years of mining mercury have been restored and arranged for visitors: Gewerkenegg Castle (2), which was built for the needs of the mine administration and for storing mercury and is now a museum, a typical miner's house in the town, the Franciscan Shaft with its museum of old mining machinery, the Kamšt (a dam built high in the forest for sluicing timber down to the mine), the Antonij Shaft (3) ... While the men worked in the mine, the women of the town produced remarkable bobbin lace, and the lacemaking tradition has been preserved to the present day. Just as with lace, every Idrija woman knows how to prepare the famous and delicious local specialty idrijske žlikrofe, a sort of ravioli stuffed with potato, cracklings, and chives.
From Idrija we return on the road to Planinsko polje, through which we continue to Rakov Škocjan. In this regional park we will explore the Rak stream, which in its mere six-kilometer journey through a green valley from the Zelška jama cave to the Tkalca jama cave has carved two remarkable natural bridges.
We end our day in Cerknica below Mount Slivnica, which according to folk tradition is inhabited by witches. Here we will enjoy dinner x and an overnight rest.

Križna jama - Grad Snežnik - Nova vas

Day 2:
After a hearty traditional breakfast in Dolenje jezero we will inspect the model of the Cerknica polje, which after a rainy spell is rapidly transformed into Slovenia's largest lake, a most remarkable disappearing karst lake. The model clearly illustrates this karst phenomenon that was first brought to the world's attention by Janez Vajkard Valvasor, whose research on Cerknica Lake brought him membership in the Royal Society of London. In the Jezerski hram Museum (4), we can see the workings of numerous swallowholes, and in dry periods we can walk across the polje and discover the beauties of this unusual karst world. At one of the tourist farms in the area they will happily serve us an authentic meal. Those who wish can ascend Mount Slivnica, the witches' mountain (1114 m), from where there is a magnificent view of Cerknica polje and the lake.
From Cerknica we continue on toward the Bloke plateau, turning south at Bloška polica toward Lož where signs lead us to Križna jama cave (5), whose dry upper passages were discovered by prehistoric bears seeking spots to hibernate for the winter. The most beautiful part of the cave is the water passage through which the guide takes us by boat. Only the lights from the boat reveal the beauties of the crystal water from which myriad stalagmites rise.
After the underground experience and lunch, we continue just a few kilometers to the Snežnik Regional Park and Snežnik Castle (6), which still boasts the original furnishings of its last private owner and is used for protocol occasions by the Republic of Slovenia. On September nights, the surrounding beech forest still today attracts hunters for the traditional dormouse hunt.
From Snežnik Castle we retrace our route past Križna jama cave and continue on to the Bloke plateau. This region is famous for the Bloke skis that its ancient inhabitants used for everyday travel and errands when deep snow paralyzed life elsewhere. We can learn what Bloke skis looked like and how they were used at the Slamar gostilna in Nova vas (7), where a room has been devoted to the Bloke skiers. Here we will enjoy our evening meal.
We return home on the same route looking forward to learning about more unique and unusual places in Slovenia on other Heritage Trails.

(1) JCerkljansko 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
(2) Idrija City Museum (Gewerkenegg Castle),
Prelovčeva ulica 9, Idrija (05/372-66-00); open every day from 9:00 to 18:00
(3) 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, larger groups by prior arrangement
(4) Jezerski hram Museum, Dolenje jezero 1e, Cerknica (01/709-40-53, 041/561-870);
Saturday and Sunday from 15:00 to 17:00, and by prior arrangement
(5) Alojz Troha, Bloška polica 7, Grahovo (041/632- 153), , every day by prior arrangement
(6) Snežnik Castle, Kozarišče 67, Stari trg pri Ložu (01/705-78-14, 01/705-84-00), open Wednesday to Friday from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00; Saturday, Sunday,
and holidays from 10:00 to18:00; Mondays and Tuesdays by prior arrangement
(7) Gostilna Slamar, Nova vas 45, Nova vas (01/709-81-52); open from 10:00 to 22:00, closed Tuesday and Wednesday