5 Wonderful Heritage Sites In Slovenia you Must See
If you are searching for that perfect green and safe oasis, you’ve come to the right place. Slovenia is the green heart of Europe, where everyone can find something for themselves. It’s amazing how a small region can offer a whole lot in terms of sustainable travel, whether it’s natural wonders or culture. This green heart has it all.
From the climax peaks of the Julian alps to the sparkling emerald-green coastline along the Adriatic Sea, tiny Slovenia has it all. Visitors can explore the wonders of the great lake Bled, where a tiny baroque chapel on a picturesque island and a dramatic castle looming above completely complimenting the view. One would think that many of the wonders of Slovenia are natural. That is not the case. Where man intrudes, it’s sometimes to good effect. Take a walk through the venetian harbor town of the coast and the Hungarian style farm houses of Prekmurje. Let the old Viking spirit come alive in you.
From the cave systems of the Skocjan to the primeval beech forests of the Carpathians, Slovenia offers tourists a pool of attractions to choose from in terms of responsible travel. With over 5 UNESCO heritage sites spread across the country, it is no wonder why it’s called “God’s green gift to man”. Over the millennium, there has been a shift in the dynamics of tourism in terms of regenerative travel; visitors can now enjoy the eco-friendly ambience of the green country and as such, plan their vacation accordingly.
Come! Let us be transformed in sight and mind as we explore God’s green earth!. The list below are best heritage sites you would like to see.
Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe
The “Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe” are a transnational serial property comprising 94 component parts across 18 countries. They represent an outstanding example of relatively undisturbed, complex temperate forests and exhibit a wide spectrum of comprehensive ecological patterns and processes of pure and mixed stands of European beech across a variety of environmental conditions. During each glacial phase (ice ages) of the last 1 million years, European beech (Fagus sylvatica) survived the unfavourable climatic conditions in refuge areas in the southern parts of the European continent. These refuge areas have been documented by scientists through palaeoecological analysis and using the latest techniques in genetic coding. After the last Ice Age, around 11,000 years ago, beech started expanding its range from these southern refuge areas to eventually cover large parts of the European continent. During this expansion process, which is still ongoing, beech formed different types of plant communities while occupying largely different environments. The interplay between a diversity of environments, climatic gradients and different species gene pools has and continues to shape this high diversity of beech forest communities. These forests contain an invaluable population of old trees and a genetic reservoir of beech and many other species, which are associated with and dependent on these old-growth forest habitats.
Škocjan Caves Regional Park is situated in the Kras Plateau of South-West Slovenia. The protected area of 413 ha conserves an exceptional limestone cave system which comprises one of the world’s largest known underground river canyons, that was cut into the limestone bedrock by the Reka River. Along its course, the river suddenly disappears into the karst underground, before passing through a vast and picturesque channel of up to 150 meters in height and more than 120 meters in width, often in the form of dramatically roaring rapids and waterfalls. The canyon’s most spectacular physical expression is the enormous Martel Chamber, which exceeds two million cubic meters in volume. Like the canyon, the vast underground halls and chambers of the cave system expose stunning variations of limestone bedrock and secondary cave formations. It is no coincidence that karst research has its origin in this very part of Slovenia, which is scientifically referred to as “Classical Karst”. The term “karst” itself is derived from the name of the plateau, and is one of many technical terms commonly used in geology and speleology that have their origin in the region. Beyond its almost supernatural visual appeal, its scale and scientific importance, the regional park is also home to noteworthy species and species assemblages, which thrive in the distinct world of the underground environment and in the so-called collapsed dolines, a form of karst sinkholes. The caves support many endemic and endangered species, including the Cave Salamander along with many invertebrates and crustaceans. The very particular environmental conditions of the collapsed dolines provide a habitat for rare and threatened flora and fauna. Furthermore, ongoing archaeological studies have been revealing ever more details of a very long history of human occupation since prehistoric times. There is strong evidence that our ancestors appreciated the area as a place for settlements. Archaeological research has also disclosed that the area was historically used as a burial ground as well as for rituals.
The works of Jože Plečnik in Ljubljana – Human Centred Urban Design
The urban design for Ljubljana was conceived by Architect Jože Plečnik (1872–1957) in the period between the two World Wars. Following World War I and the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a desire to create independent nation states triggered various State and town building projects in Central and South-Eastern Europe. In the changed social contexts, the urban planners and architects introduced new urbanistic and architectural approaches under the influence of the Modernist movement. The transformation of Ljubljana from a peripheral town of the former Empire into a national capital emerged during the introduction of these modernist guidelines, although from entirely different architectural starting points.
The urban design of “Plečnik’s Ljubljana” is based on an architectural dialogue between his interventions and the existing older city. Based on the man-made cityscape and its natural features, two urban axes were conceived: the land axis and the water axis. These two axes are connected by transversal axes, which help to form the urbanistic network of the city. The land axis – the Green Promenade starts at the Trnovo Bridge and runs through the Square of the French Revolution, along Vegova Street with the National and University Library, and ends at the Congress Square with Zvezda Park. Running parallel is the water axis – the Promenade along the Embankments and Bridges of the Ljubljanica River – which extends from the Trnovo district to the Sluice Gate. The historical city centre is connected with vital points in both the rural and urban suburbs, and with the broader spatial network of Ljubljana: the Church of St. Michael, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Plečnik’s Žale – Garden of All Saints.
The city centre was interpreted anew and developed into a series of public spaces (squares, parks, streets, promenades, bridges) and public institutions (library, churches, markets, funerary complex).
The property is an outstanding example of urban renewal developed in the context of existing buildings and spaces and tailored to suit the inhabitants. Together, Plečnik’s interventions have created a different type of urban space and architecture, which is not limited to a certain specific use, but instead gives rise to a connecting of the different uses and meanings and creates a new identity for the space. The architectural elements, types and spaces of classical architecture are innovatively summarised, transformed and modernised.
Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps
The series of 111 out of the 937 known archaeological pile-dwelling sites in six countries around the Alpine and sub-alpine regions of Europe is composed of the remains of prehistoric settlements dating from 5,000 to 500 BC which are situated under water, on lake shores, along rivers or in wetlands. The exceptional conservation conditions for organic materials provided by the waterlogged sites, combined with extensive under-water archaeological investigations and research in many fields of natural science, such as archaeobotany and archaeozoology, over the past decades, has combined to present an outstanding detailed perception of the world of early agrarian societies in Europe. The precise information on their agriculture, animal husbandry, development of metallurgy, over a period of more than four millennia, coincides with one of the most important phases of recent human history: the dawn of modern societies.
In view of the possibilities for the exact dating of wooden architectural elements by dendrochronology, the sites have provided exceptional archaeological sources that allow an understanding of entire prehistoric villages and their detailed construction techniques and spatial development over very long time periods. They also reveal details of trade routes for flint, shells, gold, amber, and pottery across the Alps and within the plains, transport evidence from dugout canoes and wooden wheels, some complete with axles for two wheeled carts dating from around 3,400BC, some of the earliest preserved in the world, and the oldest textiles in Europe dating to 3,000 BC. This cumulative evidence has provided a unique insight into the domestic lives and settlements of some thirty different cultural groups in the Alpine lacustrine landscape that allowed the pile dwellings to flourish.
Heritage of Mercury. Almadén and Idrija
Mercury is a relatively rare metal, whose use has long been irreplaceable in a variety of technical, chemical and industrial processes. It has only been produced in substantial quantities and over a long period by a small number of mines worldwide, of which the two largest, until recent times, were at Almadén in Spain and Idrija in Slovenia. These two mining towns, whose origins date from ancient or Medieval times, demonstrate the lengthy period over which a socio-technical system of extraction specific to this metal was in operation, and the process of evolution it underwent. Controlling mercury extraction enabled control of the market, which very quickly became intercontinental in scope because of its decisive role in the extraction of silver from deposits in the New World. A heavy metal, which is liquid at room temperature and has very specific chemical and physical properties, mercury is also a pollutant, which is dangerous for human health. The two sites contain technical remains of large numbers of mine shafts, and their galleries and surface facilities, with artefacts which are specific to the extraction of mercury-bearing ores; they also include significant urban, monumental and infrastructure elements and material and symbolic materials associated with the life styles and social organisation of mercury extraction.