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The true colours of our world

The Karst is a unique world. Its appearance and soul are both due to stone, long ago transformed by both water and man. Want to know how? What has water created from stone in the world of nature and what has man created from stone over the millennia?

Visit the Karst and fall in love with the beautiful signs of this dynamic coexistence on the edge of the Mediterranean.
Take this chance for truly special experiences. And meet our true colours.

The Karst and its many caves

The name of our special world, located between the Gulf of Trieste, the Vipava Valley and Brkini, is the Karst. It is where water and soluble rocks make contact. This has seen the emergence of a magic world filled with underground caves, disappearing rivers, dolines and other karst phenomena. In fact, our Karst plateau gives its name to all similar landscapes around the world with comparable soil composition and the whole set of karst natural phenomena.

The most astonishing wonder of the Karst is the underground caves. Lying deep beneath the earth, the waters have carved out unusual river beds and halls, and slowly, really slowly, created dripstones of incredible beauty. It is only when you descend into this world that you can perceive its splendour and understand its never-ending transformation.

Visit the Škocjan Caves

Come to the Škocjan Caves, a very special natural phenomenon found on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites, and take in the biggest underground canyon in the whole world, the many stalagmites and stalactites and other karst phenomena.

Don’t miss the area’s other interesting caves. The Vilenica Cave is the oldest tourist cave in Europe, whereas the best known and most visited in all Europe is the Postojna Cave. The Divača Cave, Dimnice Cave and Križna Cave are also well worth exploring.

The Lipica Stud Farm and its Lipizzan horses

People often come to the Karst mostly for the white horses, whereas images of thoroughbred Lipizzan horses galloping freely across the karst landscape provide one of the most recognisable motifs in photographs of Slovenia. These elegant white Lipizzan horses, known and admired by the entire world, come from Lipica – the heart of the Karst. This particular breed is named after our village.

Founded in 1580, the Lipica Stud Farm is home to over 300 white thoroughbreds and is the world’s largest stud farm breeding Lipizzan horses. Its breeding of elite horses coupled with appealing visitor programmes, old buildings and the spacious green grounds make for a unique sight that every year attracts visitors by the thousand.

Visit the Equestrian Park Lipica

Get to know the centuries-old story of the stud farm, connect with white horses, watch the inspiring ‘A Tale of Lipica’ show, enjoy the special ‘Become a Horse Whisperer’ experience, go for a ride in a carriage and soak in the outstanding beauty of the green nature.

Štanjel

Stone, plenty of which can be found in the Karst, has been creatively used by man since the very beginning. The picturesque medieval village of Štanjel, one of the oldest in the Karst, is a wonderful example of architecture and building construction. Declared as a cultural monument, it encompasses the village, the castle and the later-introduced Ferrari Garden.

The narrow alleys so typical of settlements swept by the bora wind, and the Karst House, probably the oldest village building, tell volumes about the local people’s ingenuity and skilfulness. The carefully renovated medieval castle is today an important cultural centre. Designed by the architect Maks Fabiani, the famous Ferrari Garden adds an invaluable cultural dimension to the space.

Visit Štanjel

Take a stroll along the old alleys and learn about the Karst’s unique architectural heritage, visit the gallery inside the castle featuring art works by the painter Lojze Spacal, and enjoy one of the many exhibitions.

Architecture and landscape

The Karst is unique, and so too is its architecture. The climate, the abundance of stone and modest way of living have each contributed to the typical architecture and creation of a very special landscape. Some visitors are simply unable to overlook this. Perfect harmony, refined details and stone carved by masters earns admiration every step along the way.

The first thing catching the eye in the Karst is the dry-stone walls that mark out plots of land and close off pastures. The Karst House will fascinate you with its original architectural elements, enclosed courtyard called borjač, and typical karst-style entrance called kalona. Stonecutting is a craft that has attained the level of mastery. Not only because items made of stone are usable but also because the karst stone is an inexhaustible source of artistic inspiration.

Get to know Karst stonecutting

Quarrying and stonecutting in the Karst date back to the antiquity. Ever since then, the stonemasonry tradition has been a key influence on the Karst landscape with the carved, typically designed building profiles becoming the flagship of the Karst architecture’s identity. Visit a stonecutting workshop, with some also offering beginners’ courses several times a year.

Brkini

How nice of Mother Nature to finish off the edges of the stony Karst with green and very fertile hills! Come to Brkini, a wonderful realm of orchards and endless meadows. The views are breath-taking. On nearly every hilltop a white chapel will greet you, evoking romantic feelings.  It is here you can escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Brkini is an area land that produces excellent fruit. It is best known for its apples and plums which the locals use to make exquisite fruit brandy. A shot of homemade brandy is a traditional welcoming gesture at farms in the neighbourhood where you will be warmly greeted and truly pampered. Here, the idyllic tranquillity will let you unwind.

Visit Brkini

Every tourist farm you visit will enchant you with its hearty hospitality and exquisite homemade food, while also offering many opportunities to sample their culinary specialties.

Natural and biological diversity

No matter how often you visit the Karst, the nature there will never cease to surprise you. Meadows and forests, stone, waters and the underground world are, each in their own way, a true exuberance of peculiarities, an epitome of natural wealth. Blades of grass along with butterflies, tenacious pine trees and the mysterious caves lying well beneath their roots…. Thousands of life forms work together to create a remarkable world.

The various Karst phenomena, limestone works of art made by nature, give the Karst a recognisable character, but are in no way its only claim to fame. The extraordinary diversity of plant and animal species ranks the Karst among the richest natural habitats in Europe and as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.

Did you know?

A large part of the Karst plateau is included in Natura 2000, the European network of special preservation sites, whose mission is to preserve biodiversity. More than 300 butterfly species live in the Karst. An outstanding wealth of plant and animal species can be found in the forests and dry grasslands, marsh meadows, in village ponds and puddles, in rock crevices, scree slopes and stony turf, on agricultural land and in the karst underground caves.

Calmness

While the calmness of the karst nature enchants everyone, a traveller might still easily come across examples of the very opposite. The Karst is located where not only where different winds collide, but where different cultures intertwine, explaining why this area was often a dreadful battlefield. Today, the turbulent history’s traces have been transformed into paths of peace, whereas the absurdity of war is embodied in the mighty Peace Memorial sitting on top of the Cerje Hill.

The Great War left quite considerable remnants across the Karst landscape. The warfare of the time left behind a number of trenches and dugouts, whereas armies found temporary shelter in many underground caves. The well-maintained and marked remains of the Great War can be explored as part of theme-based hiking trails on the western edge of the Karst which are connected with paths of peace along the Italian side of the border.

Visit the Cerje Peace Memorial

A monumental memorial to the defenders of the Slovenian homeland on the Cerje Hill is dedicated to all victims of war. The seven-storey tower houses museum collections and also provides a wonderful lookout, offering views of four different provinces. The Cerje Hill is the starting point for many hiking trails that will take you past the Pečinka Cave and other caves that still have tales to tell about the Battles of the Isonzo.

Wine and cuisine

Ask Slovenians about the word “Karst” and the first two things that spring to mind are Teran wine and prosciutto. The little hedonist, hiding within us all, is the first to make these associations. The famous Teran red wine with its officially recognised traditional denomination and the Karst prosciutto ham, dry-cured by the bora wind, make a perfect couple. The intense ruby colour and special intertwining of flavours will take you into a world of culinary excellence.

The Karst dining table is laden with authentic food. Home-baked bread, a slice of prosciutto, pancetta bacon and pork neck accompanied by a glass of home-produced wine are a traditional welcome snack, followed by a variety of local culinary specialties. Sometimes intense like the Karst, sometimes wild like nature. In any event, tasty and unforgettable …

Eating in the Karst

The restaurants and inns of the Karst are something special. For centuries they have pampered the palates of their most loyal guests, visitors from Trieste. These townsfolk have always been discerning, ensuring Karst restaurants are consistently excellent. Plain on the outside, yet all the magic happens on the table. But excellent eating also awaits you at any tourist farm or a typical Karst osmica event, where homemade wine and food are on offer to honour a local tradition.

Add beauty to your day

With experience of the people who live in the Karst

Plan your stay

How about a different break? In the middle of nature, in the core of experiences…
Visit us. Explore the Karst and our genuine hospitality.

Plan Your Stay

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