On-ground beauties are diverse in this world but travelling high enough and down below, opens doors to wondrous natural phenomena. Tourism industry with the help of virgin group is planning tours to space, far above what our eyes can see, similarly the mining industry has compelled people to go underground and sometimes what they find below is beyond precious and so unique that it become a component on your bucket list. From stone formations to underground water channels, from trekking to boating, from natural sculpture to colorful gems all are features of caves that deserve a visit. Such a wonder can also be found along the South Western border of Slovenia, known as the Sockjan caves, offering the huge underground chambers and water bodies.
Since 1986 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for being the largest cave system within Europe. Today it is a National park and open to visitors at very affordable prices. To give you an idea of its vastness the canyon is 34 km in size. To add a cherry on top, the region is of both cultural and historical significance and is said to be inhabited several time over history. Evidences of the Bronze and Iron age are significant components of its cultural value. It not surprising that the place attracts more then 100,000 visitors each year.
Underground Stream -Reka River
The actual scale of the river stretches across 3 European countries, It starts from the Croatian big creek or the vela voda and continue to western Slovenia, where it goes underground into the caves of Sockjan, and ends at Tivovo river in Italy. It attracts fishermen in large numbers, in search of brown Trout and rainbow trout. Imagine catching a trout and barbecuing it in the wilderness of the river, it ought to get crossed of somebodies bucket list. If your into that only fly-fishing is permitted.
Special Eco system
Cave must have formed millions of years back, developing an extravagant diversified ecosystem within. They are made of 300 meter thick Cretaceous and Paleocene limestone. Creatures that can be found there are mostly blind, you may come across some endangered birds or blind salamanders and it also inhabits lots of species of bats.
The caves system stretches across 6 km distinguished in the world because of its spectacular underground canyons, at times 90 m deep and about 205 m deep at its lowest of positions. There are also chambers to be seen in the caves, such as Martel’s Chamber, having 308 m in length, 89 m wide and 106 meters in height, with the largest area measuring around 12,000 square meters. it feels as if you have entered an eternal abyss, its a setting fit for a fiction based movie, with dropping ceilings and lime stone formations.
Tour options and prices
There are three tour options at the park. I went for the “through the underground canyon” in which you will see the passageway in the Globočak Collapse Doline and the Silent Cave (Tiha jama), a fossil-age passage filled with numerous dripstone formations. Leaving the cave, you will be enthralled by the view of the underground canyon of the Reka River from a suspended Cerkvenik Bridge, fifty meters above the riverbed. You end the tour past the Tominc Cave (Tominčeva jama) and see natural waterfall under the natural bridge in the Big Collapse Doline (Velika dolina). The other two options are “Following the Reka river ungerdround” and “Along the Cockjan education trail”