Škocjan Caves Park
The Škocjan Caves area ranks among the classic examples of contact Karst that has developed at the juncture of impermeable flysch and permeable limestone.
In 1986, the Škocjan Caves and their surroundings were entered on the UNESCO’s list of natural and cultural world heritage sites.
In 1999, the Caves were entered on the Ramsar Directory of Wetlands of International Importance, and in 2004, the Škocjan Caves Park was included in the world network of biosphere reserves called MAB – "Man and the Biosphere"; all of this was under the auspices of UNESCO.
A Regional park by 1996, the area comprises a unique and typical karst landscape that brings together, in a small area, a large number of natural valuable features or natural heritage in the form of Karst or many other phenomena and interesting features. The regional park constitutes a typical “Karst architecture” with its system of caves, collapse dolines and exceptional natural monuments.
The unique distribution of flora and fauna co-existing in an extremely small area proves that this is a highly diverse region in terms of both biotic and abiotic parameters and simultaneously a vulnerable one. With the assistance of local residents, the Park's employees dedicate themselves mainly to the preservation of natural ecosystems, living and working in the Park, respectful of this genuine natural environment.
The Škocjan Caves have a highly multi-branched system of cave passages totalling 6.2 kilometres in length, the lowest point being 223 metres deep, making them the largest and best-known natural phenomena in the region. The Caves have 11 speleological structures that are interconnected by means of the Timavo River or collapse dolines.
In the geological past, the shifting of the sinkholes in contact with the underground caves caused the formation of numerous collapsed dolines. Velika dolina and Mala dolina fascinate every visitor with their depth of 163 meters as well as great floral and faunal diversity.
The Škocjan Caves are the beginning of the underground cave system with an enormous underground gorge, many lakes and waterfalls forming part of a cultural as well as a natural heritage. Moreover, the Škocjan Caves hold one of the Europe’s largest underground chambers.