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Tekoci Hg - foto Jani Peternelj.jpg

We would like to invite you on a route that tells a story about the underground treasure feeding generations of Idrija families, building educational, cultural and social life of the town, attracting the greatest minds of European science. Idrija started to develop with the discovery of mercury in 1490, just a few years before Christopher Columbus' discovery of America. Under the surface of the town there was once an immense maze - hundreds of kilometres of mining shafts. The mine is now closed.

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Idrija – the story of the five century mercury mine

Idrija – the story of the five century mercury mine

Tekoci Hg - foto Jani Peternelj.jpg
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  • Contact info available at: TIC Idrija, Mestni trg 2, 5280 Idrija
  • Phone: +386 (0)5 374 39 16
  • E-mail: tic@visit-idrija.si
  • GEO:46.001195000000 / 14.026232719421

We would like to invite you on a route that tells a story about the underground treasure feeding generations of Idrija families, building educational, cultural and social life of the town, attracting the greatest minds of European science. Idrija started to develop with the discovery of mercury in 1490, just a few years before Christopher Columbus' discovery of America. Under the surface of the town there was once an immense maze - hundreds of kilometres of mining shafts. The mine is now closed.

The universal value of heritage of mercury of Idrija and Almadén, both world's largest mercury mines, has been recognized and in 2013 enlisted to UNESCO World heritage list.

A visit to Antonijev rov (Anthony’s shaft), the oldest part of the Idrija mine is always an interesting experience. Accompanied by a guide you get to know the underworld of the Idrija miners.
During a short stroll through the old part of town, numerous stories come to life. By uncovering a rich cinnabar ore on 22nd June 1508 in the Ahacijev jašek (Achatius’ shaft) the foundation was set for five centuries of constant mining in the Idrija basin. In memory of this important event the miners from Idrija celebrate their miners' holiday. Among the buildings that circle the oldest town square definitely stand out the mining granary (magazin) and the miners' theatre, famous for being the first solid construction theatre structure in Slovenia. Through the underpass under the granary you will reach the renovated Mestni trg square, where the focus definitely goes to the monumental buildings of Mestna hiša  (the town hall) and ljudska šola school.

Up the steep street past the old primary school you reach the cerkev Svete trojice (Holy Trinity church), where mercury has been first discovered. According to legend, this is the exact place where a tubmaker's tubs were filled with this precious metal. Past the buildings of the first Slovenian non-classical school (realka) we reach the Gewerkenegg castle, which has served as the management building of the Idrija mine and a warehouse for the mercury. Today it houses Mestni muzej Idrija museum, where the visitors are able to experience the amazing 500-year history of the town and the mercury mine and get to know the history and the beauty of hand-made Idrija lace.

From the castle you take on the »pot živega srebra« (the Mercury route) where this liquid metal was once transported into the castle from where it was sent into the world, past the St. John of Nepomuk chappel, and Akvarij M aquarium, considered to be the most beautiful and diverse aquarium in Slovenia, and continue toward the Scopolijev trg square.

You continue the tour in the exceptional collection of mining devices and machinery in the building of jašek Frančiške (Francis' shaft). The pride of the collection is the renovated Kley's pump dating back to 1893 – the largest preserved steam machine in Slovenia and Europe. The Mining geological collection will impress you with the presentation of the extraordinary ore deposit and the unique mercury ores and minerals.

A special type of house has been shaped in Idrija, giving a mighty impression with its exterior. In the renovated miners' house which has been turned into a museum, you will get to know numerous stories from the life of a miner from Idrija and his family. Their life was never luxurious, on the contrary, it was very modest, but special, just like the people who have created and shaped the history of the Idrija basin together with nature.

At the end of your trip the nearby restaurants offer the pleasure of tasting idrijski žlikrofi, the traditional culinary specialty of the miners' housewives.

Starting point: TIC Idrija or the bus station
Length: 1,5 km
Walking time: 1 h (without the museum tours)
Difficulty: easy
Elevation: /

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Contact

TIC Idrija, Mestni trg 2

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

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