The mysterious Slovenian underground. Find out what is hidden in Krizna cave!

Beneath the picturesque green landscapes of Slovenia lies a mysterious underground world waiting to be discovered. With over 14,000 known caves and pits, the country boasts an extensive subterranean network. Among these natural wonders lies Križna Jama (Cross Cave/Križna Cave), located just 15 kilometers from Cerknica.

It is a witness to the wonders of Mother Nature, with labyrinthine passages, breathtaking formations, and many secrets. Of course, that’s why it attracts many adventurers, tourists, and speleologists throughout the year.

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Krizna jama, Photo: Jošt Gantar, www.slovenia.info

 

Renowned for its underground lakes, Križna Cave stands as the sole naturally preserved cave in Slovenia. Carved by the ceaseless force of water, this cave extends over 8 kilometers, ranking among the longest in the country.

While official evidence of its existence and visits dates back to 1557, it’s speculated that the cave’s first visitors arrived nearly 5,000 years ago. Archaeologists unearthed a significant amount of ancient pottery, with the oldest pieces dating back to 2800 B.C. During that era, the cave primarily served as a hideout.

 

Krizna jama, Photo: Društvo ljubiteljev Krizne jame, arhiv RRA Zeleni kras d.o.o., www.slovenia.info

 

In the centuries following its initial discovery, Križna Cave saw less visitation. However, its significance to the world grew with the discovery of cave bear remains. The largest amount was found in 1887, revealing around 2000 bones, with some estimated to be between 45,000 and 146,000 years old.

 

Krizna jama, Photo:Photo J.KYSELAK, CC BY-SA 4.0

 

In addition to the cave bear bones, speleologists also uncovered 45 lakes within the cave, comprising 22 large and 23 smaller ones. Visitors have the opportunity to explore some of these lakes via boat tours guided by professionals.

Križna Cave is also abundant in underground fauna. To date, researchers have identified 60 underground animal species, placing the cave as the fourth most diverse in the world. In addition to aquatic and surface-dwelling creatures, the cave provides a habitat for horseshoe bats.

 

Krizna jama, Photo: Jošt Gantar, www.slovenia.info

 

And that’s not it! As you pass through narrow passages and high chambers, you also have the opportunity to encounter countless geological wonders such as tall columns of stalactites and stalagmites to shimmering stone curtains, each of which tells a story about the cave’s ancient past and the forces that shaped it.

If you’re interested in visiting Križna Cave, there are four types of tours available, ranging from short durations of an hour to an hour and a half to longer excursions lasting up to 8 hours. Certain sections of the cave have limited daily visitation capacities, so it’s essential to make reservations in advance if you plan to explore these areas.

 

 

 

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