Sunday, August 9, 2009

Day 63, Postojna, Slovenia

As we fly towards Postojna we see Predjama Castle.

What a remarkable looking castle!!! It looks like it is growing out of a cave!! Just look at at it...It appears to hang dramatically in the middle of a 123m high rocky cliff!

For more than 700 years it has perched proudly on its 123-metre cliff: powerful, defiant and impregnable – the perfect hideout for the bold, headstrong and rebellious knight Erazem of Predjama, a "robber baron" who is the subject of a romantic and beautiful legend. Since we have just been on a castle tour we will skip this one and move on.....

Did you know that the caves in Slovenia are the main attraction for tourists the world over? The karst caves, famous all over the world are s pread over the entire region of Slovenia and around 8000 of them are registered out of which 25 are "show caves", open for tourists.

Slovenia's Kras region give the geological term "karst" to the world. It's used to describe geological formations similar to those in the Kras area. Kar
st is a dry, rocky limestone surface in which the water carves underground caverns and caves through chemical solution. About 44 % of the territorry of Slovenia is karst area
Several other geologycal terms originate from the Slovenia langunage like dolina (valley) or polje (field or plain).

I am so excited .....we have arrived in Postojna....and we are going to the biggest and most world-renowned Slovenian cave system – the Postojn
a caves, a two million-year old and 27km long system of subterranean caves and it is the only cave in the world operating a cave train!!

All we go......through a series of cave halls with stalactites, pillars and translucent curtains.... unforgettable impressions.
In 1872 railway tracks were laid in the cave, and in 1884, electrical
wiring was installed. What a unique way to see this wonder .......

The underground system is home to the mysterious, unique and rare amphibian Proteus Anguinus, or 'human fish', as it is popularly called keep an eye out for it .....

What a feast for the innumerable richness of stalactites of various shapes, colours and generations, calcareous sinters and other works of art which
nature developed over millennia, and which had been admired in the previous centuries by kings, caesars, presidents of countries and other important people.

Since the middle of 17th century, the Postojna Cave has been a point of interest for natural scientists and explorers, and thus it is also known as the cradle of speleobiology, the science of life in the underworld.

Guess what?? The cave is so big, it has several other human
installations beneath the train: a cave restaurant, a concert hall for more than 10.000 people, and the cave post office!!! So c'mon, guys we have to post some cards from here.......

The walls are black in the first section of Postojna Cave.

During WW ll, Germans stored more than 1,000 drums of gasoline in the cave, which they used as a bunker. Partisans blew up the fuel, leaving black soot on the stalactites and stalagmites.

Strategically placed lights illuminate the cave formations and enhance their colours. Some stalactites and stalagmites are rust colored, from deposits of iron oxide. Others are cream colored and beautifully translucent.

Nopi wants to know how stalactites and stalagmites are formed?
Well, when water, in the rock above, dissolves calcium carbonate as it seeps down toward the cavern. As water drops from the cave roof, it leaves a deposit, which eventually becomes a stalactite. When water drops land on the floor of the cave, the deposits build up stalagmites. These formations grow at the tremendously slow rate of 1/25 inch (1 mm) in seven years.
When you look around and see stalactites and stalagmites seven feet (two meters) in diameter and up to fifty feet (15 meters) high, it's obvious that the caves must be very old!! No one knows their exact age. We did see old graffiti at the entrance.... it documents visitors to Postojna Caves as early as 1213.

This was really awesome.......I LOVE caves!!!
Okay guys....lets find the next one......

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