|SLOVENIA||JAME :: CAVES|
"Postojnska jama" cave
virtual excursion (2012)
24,120 meters of subterranean tunnels of the Postojnska jama cave system have been explored until the year 2022. This karst cave system with a maximum documented depth of 115 meters near Postojna is the second-longest in Slovenia after the M16 system - Tolmiski Migovec, which has a length of underground tunnels of 43,009 meters and the largest tourist cave on the Dinaric Karst.
The cave system of Postonjska jama also includes its natural and historical entrances: Otoška jama, Magdalena jama, Črna jama and jama Pivka. The cave was created by a subteranean river Pivka, which sinks from the Postojna polje under the hill Sovič and continues its underground flow towards the underground confluence with the river Rak in the Planina jama cave. From the Planinska jama cave, it flows to the plain as the river Unica.
After the Pivka river made its way underground, it gradually lowered its bed over the course of two million years, creating different levels of the cave. The water that seeped through the bejeweled surface deposited calcite drop by drop in the dry tunnels from the dissolved limestone, creating unique stalactite forms.
The constant temperature inside the cave three decades ago was about 8 °C, but today it varies between 8 and 10 °C, which is a result of global climate change.
Postonjska jama cave is famous nowadays as the cradle of speleobiology, that is, the biological science of the life of animals in subterranean. The most famous is the Olm (Proteus anguinus).
To date, more than 175 species of animals living in the Postojnska jama -Planinska jama cave system have been listed in biological literature; of these, 115 are true cave species, which is the largest in the world and shows the great biodiversity of the local karst subsoil. Many representatives of several groups of cave animals were described for the first time based on specimens from Postonjska jama. Therefore, in the cave section "Trenches of new signatures", 50 meters from the main entrance to the Postonjska jama, a modern speleological station interesting for visitors has been restored: Vivarij Proteus. On the initiative of Ivan Andrej Perek, this station was founded 100 years after the discovery of the small-necked speleothem, in 1931 as "Stazione biospeleologica". It was one of the first such laboratories in the world and was modernly equipped for those times.
The preserved signatures on the cave walls bear witness to the fact that Postojska jama was visited long ago. The oldest of them date back to the 13th century.
Organized tourist development began after 1818, when local man Luka Čeč discovered the inner parts of the Postojnska jama. Already in 1819, the first routes were arranged in it. They established the Cave Commission, which took care of the cave and established the first cave guide service. In 1884, electric arc lighting was introduced in the cave, which was among the first in the world. Walking through the cave was tiring, so already in 1872 railway tracks were laid all the way to the foot of Velika Gora, along which the cave guides initially pushed carts with visitors. Today, trains are powered by smaller electric locomotives.
In 1928, the "Cave Palace", a monumental reception center for visitors, was built in front of the entrance to the Postojnska jama, which even today combines the interior of the cave with everything that a modern guest needs outside it.
More than 5 km of caves are open for regular tourist visits. Visitors can walk through them accompanied by cave guides or with an audio guide in one of the world's languages.
Around 700,000 visitors visit the Postonjska jama every year. With more than 40 million visitors from all over the world, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Europe and the world in its two-hundred-year history.
During World War II, the German army stored fuel for the entire northern Adriatic, from Trst to Rijeka, in the cave, at today's exit from the tourist train and the exit from the cave, to protect it from air attack. The entrance to the cave warehouse was, of course, heavily guarded, but on April 23, 1944, a sabotage platoon of Vojka's brigade managed to sneak into the Postonjska jama and blow up the warehouse. For this purpose, partisan saboteurs used an old, artificially made tunnel that led to Postonjska jama from Črna Jama. The trench was half-filled and was not marked on the German maps of the cave.
The fire burned for a week. It caused the stalactites to fall, the walls of the cave covered with soot. The black layer of soot is still visible in this part of the cave today.