The Skocjan Caves are the system of karst caves, passages and dolines in Slovenia’s Karst Region (18 km from Postojna). The cave system is one of the world's largest natural phenomenon and one of the largest underground canyons in the world with an exceptional beauty, a unique ecosystem, and great historical value because the caves were inhabited since prehistoric times.
Therefore, the Skocjan Caves have been inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. After gaining independence, the Slovenian authorities have established the Skocjan Caves Regional Park.
What makes Skocjan Caves unique of all the world's caves is the giant canyon of the River Reka which is long 2.600 m, width from 10 to 60 m, with a maximum height up to 146 m. It is the largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world. In some places is spreading in the vast spaces. The largest is the Martel Chamber which is 146 m heigh, 120 m wide and 300 m long.
An interesting thing is that this huge underground canyon has a very small river entrance causing that the water level of the river can rise to more than 100 m. Particularly impressive is how the Reka River during the rainy season descends 160 meters in depth (near the village of Skocjan).
The most interesting stalactite formations in the caves are Paradise – flowstone deposits, the Organ Hall – stalactite formation in the form of organ, Great Hall – giant stalagmites and Rimstone Pools' Hall – large rimstone pools.
In 2004 the Skocjan Caves Park, Slovenia, was included in the UNESCO – MAB World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The area reveals the interdependance of man and nature and the importance of education to mantain the existing level of welfare.
This karst cave has many kilometres of trails for visitors with no less than 500 steps. The trail leads you across incredible bridges. The heighest is the Cerkvenik Bridge with the height of 47 metres above the Reka River. From them you can see numerous underground waterfalls, grand halls, giant stalactites and stalagmites that have grown to 15 metres in height, and other underground creations made by the karst Reka River.
The area surrounding Skocjan Caves is a regional park – an area of protected natural and cultural heritage. Educational and biking trails take visitors around the park.
The Skocjan Caves were entered on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance in 1999, because together with the underground stream of the Reka River represents one of the longest karst underground wetlands in Europe. It is also included in the MAB World Network of Biosphere Reserves.