Let yourselves be charmed by the half-a-millennium-long history of Idrija mercury!
Ever since in 1490 the tub maker soaking his tub in a creek found droplets of unusually heavy and unfamiliar shining matter, life in Idrija revolved around one thing only: mercury. The oldest Slovenian mining town that had supplied the entire world with this valuable liquid metal offers remnants of the rich mercury heritage at every step. Yet a completely new world opens up when you enter the mysterious depths of Idrija underground. Mercury heritage in Idrija, together with Almadén in Spain, has global recognition: it features on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Dive into the unforgettable exploration of the Idrija underground!
Hidden under the town streets is the priceless richness of Idrija mine that drove the development of this mining city for 500 years. Through Šelštev (the entrance building), you can enter the Anthony’s Main Road, enjoy the shimmer of mining lights showing you the trail of Idrija miners, and take a walk through the oldest part of Idrija mine. With some luck, you’ll even be able to catch a glimpse of the roguish mine elf Perkmandlc!
Discover the story of mercury from the ore to the droplets!
On the premises of the ancient mining smelting plant, find out more about the exciting yet dangerous characteristics of this metal, which is the only metal liquid at room temperature. Learn about the various ways mercury can be used and follow the interactive presentation to discover how the smelting furnaces of the mine produced more than 3 million of steel bottles of mercury in the five hundred years of Idrija mine.
Meet the odd one out of Slovenian castles!
The Gewerkenegg Castle is not your regular castle as there was never an aristocratic family who took home there. From the beginning of the 16th century to the end of WWII, the castle above the town housed the mine’s administration, while its well-build and guarded basements served also as a safe storage for the valuable mercury. Today, the Renaissance castle hosts the Idrija Municipal Museum exhibitions presenting the five hundred years of Idrija history: the story of technical achievements and their connections with the Spanish Almadén with the largest mercury mine in the world, of the wearisome mining work and of the refinement of the Idrija lace.
See Idrija kamšt, a jewel of Slovenian technical heritage!
With the help of water energy, the mechanism of Idrija kamšt was bringing water from the depths of mining shafts onto the surface for more than 150 years enabling the miners to work in the least accessible parts of the mine. With its more than 13 m diameter, the wheel of Idrija kamšt from 1790 is the largest preserved wooden water wheel in Europe. Its unusual name comes from the German word Wasserkunst (water art) designating just such historic water apparatus.
Experience the 500-year-old tradition of the mining story!
During Mercury Days, Idrija tips its hat to the memory of the generations of miners whose diligent work helped create the successful story of Idrija Mercury Mine. Every autumn, lectures, projections, experiments, public tours and intergenerational discussions bring the exciting mercury story, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, closer to the home and international public.