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UNESCO town Idrija invites you on an adventure

Learn about the beginnings of the charming town Idrija, hidden in the deep hollow between the Alpine foothills and Dinaric plateaus. In the oldest mining centre in Slovenia, the pounding of hammers and mining machinery echoed day after day for more than 500 years. The second biggest mercury mine in the world helped Idrija to grow in every aspect: from technology and science to commerce and culture. Today, the entire old city centre is on the UNESCO world heritage list. Let’s explore it together!

Legendary barrel-maker and his family came to this remote area over 500 years ago. He began to make wooden barrels to provide for his family, due to the abundance of wood in the area. Unwittingly, he discovered mercury, when he was soaking his barrels. That is how the incredible story of Idrija began. 

    

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Idrija-foto Dunja Wedam, arhiv Občina Idrija (Medium).JPG

UNESCO town Idrija invites you on an adventure

Learn about the beginnings of the charming town Idrija, hidden in the deep hollow between the Alpine foothills and Dinaric plateaus. In the oldest mining centre in Slovenia, the pounding of hammers and mining machinery echoed day after day for more than 500 years. The second biggest mercury mine in the world helped Idrija to grow in every aspect: from technology and science to commerce and culture. Today, the entire old city centre is on the UNESCO world heritage list. Let’s explore it together!

Legendary barrel-maker and his family came to this remote area over 500 years ago. He began to make wooden barrels to provide for his family, due to the abundance of wood in the area. Unwittingly, he discovered mercury, when he was soaking his barrels. That is how the incredible story of Idrija began. 

    

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UNESCO town Idrija invites you on an adventure

UNESCO town Idrija invites you on an adventure

Idrija-foto Dunja Wedam, arhiv Občina Idrija (Medium).JPG
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  • Price: price on demand
  • Contact info available at: TIC Idrija, Mestni trg 2, 5280 Idrija
  • Phone: +386 (0)5 37 43 916
  • E-mail: tic@visit-idrija.si
  • Website: www.visit-idrija.si
  • GEO:46.000973200000 / 14.021466800000

UNESCO town Idrija invites you on an adventure

Learn about the beginnings of the charming town Idrija, hidden in the deep hollow between the Alpine foothills and Dinaric plateaus. In the oldest mining centre in Slovenia, the pounding of hammers and mining machinery echoed day after day for more than 500 years. The second biggest mercury mine in the world helped Idrija to grow in every aspect: from technology and science to commerce and culture. Today, the entire old city centre is on the UNESCO world heritage list. Let’s explore it together!

Legendary barrel-maker and his family came to this remote area over 500 years ago. He began to make wooden barrels to provide for his family, due to the abundance of wood in the area. Unwittingly, he discovered mercury, when he was soaking his barrels. That is how the incredible story of Idrija began. 

    

Start your exploration with a stroll around the renowned old city centre and visit the spot where the legendary barrel-maker discovered mercury. On the same spot, stands the 500 years’ old Gothic Church of the Holy Trinity. Then head down to Anthony’s Main Road, the oldest preserved mining entrance. Dressed in overcoats and equipped with helmets you will enter Idrija’s underground and learn what it was like to work in the mining shafts. 

  

During your visit to the exhibition “From Ore to Mercury Drops” in the recently renovated Hg Smelting Plant you will learn about the unique liquid metal and the evolution of smelting furnaces through five centuries. Your tour will end with a walk along the path of ore, where you will see the entire procedure of mercury extraction. This exciting and educational tour lasts for an hour and a half.

Did you know that in 1764 a mine granary “magazine” was built in Idrija? The food, which was stored there for 250 years, was used as part payment to the miners. Next to the “magazine” stands the old theatre, which has been turned into a film theatre and is considered to be the oldest preserved theatre in Slovenia. They mostly used leftover materials from the construction of the granary, to build the mining theatre in 1770. An Emperor's official from Vienna was so surprised by this unusual feat that he exclaimed: “This could only happen in Idrija!”

A pleasant exploration of Idrija is followed by a delicious lunch. In of one Idrija’s restaurants you can order the traditional Idrija lunch consisting of “smukavc”, “žlikrofi” with bakalca or roast, and “zelševka” for dessert. 

   

With your bellies full, you will go to the mighty mining castle Gewerkenegg, where the mining administration lived and officiated, while mercury was stored in the basement. Today, the castle houses the Idrija Municipal Museum and its expansive and interesting collections about Idrija’s mining and lace-making history. You will meet Idrija lace up close; a gentile beauty that enchants even the most demanding visitors. You will also be able to try lace-making for yourself, should you feel the need.

At the Town Square, you will have time to visit the Lace School and little shops full of charming Idrija lace, offering you the opportunity to buy and admire masterpieces made by Idrija lace-makers. 

    

The day will continue with a visit to the Idrija Miner’s House from the second half of the 18th century. An astounding number of people lived in the house in the year 1910, 18 to be precise. In the Francis’ Shaft the museum curator will show you the collection of restored steam-powered and electric mining machines, and transport machines.

Your exploration will continue in the city park, where you will see “kamšt”, a wooden wheel with a diameter of 13.6 metres, which was a part of a water pumping mechanism, to pump water from the depths of the mine. Water flow from Rake powered the mining machines “kamšti”, which pumped water and raised ore. You will be able to see the wooden water wheel up close. 

  

Locomotives which were used to transport ore are displayed on a stage above “Kamšti”. Your eyes will be able to rest upon rare flower species from the nearby area, during the walk through Scopoli’s Memorial Garden. From there, you will go along the Path of Idrija’s natural scientists, which leads along the Rake channel to Divje jezero, which lies about 2 kilometres south of the city. 

  

Divje jezero is an extraordinary example of natural heritage, which boasts incredibly rich fauna and flora; for example, Carniolan primrose - Primula Carniolica and human fish, or Olm. It is located in the Zgornja Idrijca Landscape Park, which covers most of the river basin of Idrijca and its spring. Another interesting attraction, besides Divje jezero, is the river Jezernica, the shortest surface river in Slovenia; the stream flows into the Idrijca after just 55 metres.  

The road that passes by Divje jezero leads into the heart of Zgornja Idrijca Landscape Park. Pools of the river Idrjica, suitable for swimming during the summer months, and luscious nature will accompany you from Idrijska Bela forward. At the confluence of the rivers Idrijca and Belca, you will find a popular swimming area, where you can eat and rest, before your next adventure. This is a great starting point for further exploration. 

Wood meant for smelting was transported from the inside of the forests to the river banks using a forest railroad called “Lauf”, which was one of a kind in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The road takes you past the Brus’ and Purtih’s “klavž” - water barriers, towards the forestry outpost and further down to the monument in honour of the Partisan Hospital Pavla, which was operating on this difficult to reach terrain during the last years of the Second World War.  

From the confluence, you can also head towards the Vojsko plateau. Here, the Idrijca formed an impassable gorge; you will be amazed by the mighty Idrija’s “klavže”. 

  

You can visit the park either on your own or in the company of a guide. You can walk or cycle through most of the park if you have enough stamina. Pristine nature, attentively preserved by the residents of Idrija, awaits you.  

Come to Idrija and explore a UNESCO destination! 

Send you inquires   or call on Tel.: +386 5 37 43 916

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Contact

TIC Idrija, Mestni trg 2

+386 (0)5 37 43 916
tic@visit-idrija.si

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