For Tourists: The Križna Jama Cave – A Gallery of Underground Lakes
Križna Jama is one of the most famous karst caves in Slovenia and the world. It is often called an underground island. The cave is 8,273 m long and 32 m deep. It is especially famous for its gallery of 22 underground lakes with crystal clear emerald green water (due to the special composition of the water) separated by several calcite barriers. The maximum depth of the lakes is 7 metres. These lakes are accessible for visiting. In total, Križna Jama has 45 reservoirs.
The name of the cave – Križna Jama – is translated as “the cave of the cross.” It got its name in honour of the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross the settlement of Podlož. There is a natural attraction near the church. Scientists discovered Križna Jama in 1832. However, its part with a large number of lakes was studied by cavers only 94 years later! In 1878, a member of the Vienna Academy of Sciences, Ferdinand von Hochster, and six other expedition members, along with the Ljubljana museum curator Ferdinand Schulz, found here about 2,000 cave bear bones belonging to at least 100 animals. As a result of the work, two complete skeletons were collected, which are now exhibited in the Museum of Natural History in Vienna. The first excursion to Križna Jama was held in 1956.
You can get to the cave by car. Starting a trip to Ljubljana, head to Tržaška cesta, then continue along the highway in the direction of Koper and Postojna. Upon reaching Vrhniki, continue in the direction of the settlement of Unc, and then towards the Church. When you arrive at the Bloke Plateau (Slovene: Bloška planota), the signs will direct you to the Križna Jama entrance. The entrance to the cave is located about 1.5 kilometres south of the settlement of Bloška Polica.
The cave has no concrete paths and general lighting. You can visit it accompanied by an experienced guide, wearing rubber boots and using a battery torch, which you can take at the entrance to the cave. An hour tour around the cave with a ride along the underground lake will cost 9 EUR per an adult and 6 EUR per a child. Dress warmer because the average temperature in the cave is 8ºС!
The most beautiful parts of the cave include lakes and are accessible for viewing only by boat. The calcite barriers that form the boundaries of the lakes make the Križna Jama cave a unique natural sight of Slovenia. Calcite barriers are constantly growing, water in the lakes rises and floods stalagmites in many places. It seems that some of the formations grow out of the water.
Sources: lepote-slovenije.si, tury.ru,