Good Practice Database - Country - SI - Škocjan Caves Park
Good Practice Database

Škocjan Caves Park

Practice on:

Tourist visits to Škocjan Caves Park and other tourist offer.

Practical details:
NUTS 2: SI02 Zahodna Slovenija
Start date: 2nd half of 19th century
Type of initiative:  public
Description of the practice:

Sustainability of cave tourism.

Due to their exceptional significance, the Škocjan Caves were entered on UNESCO’s list of natural and cultural world heritage sites in 1986. International scientific circles have thus acknowledged the importance of the Caves as one of the natural treasures of planet Earth.

Ranking among the most important caves in the world, the Škocjan Caves represent the most significant underground phenomena in both the Karst region and Slovenia.

From time immemorial, people have been attracted to the gorge where the Reka River disappears underground as well as the mysterious cave entrances. The Reka River sinks under a rocky wall; on the top of it lies the village of Škocjan after which the Caves are named.

Archeological research has shown that people lived in the caves and the surrounding area in prehistoric times – from the Mesolithic, the Neolithic, the Bronze and Iron Ages through Antiquity and the Middle Ages to the present; altogether for more than 5,000 years. The finds from this area testify that the Škocjan Caves had not only local but regional importance in prehistoric times. Pioneering research of Karst and karst phenomena began in this area in the 19th century. The international karstological terms "karst" and "doline" originate here.

Collapse dolines and their surroundings are home to rare and endangered birds and several bat species. Due to particular geo-morphological and microclimatic conditions, an extraordinary ecosystem has developed here in which the Mediterranean, Sub-Mediterranean, Central European, Illyrian and Alpine bio-geographical elements co-exist. Rare cave fauna are preserved in the underground system of the Reka River.

Evidence of success
Biological/biodiversity values:

The Škocjan Caves, a well-known and well-explored outstanding natural phenomenon, have long been recognized as exceptional due to their extremely varied terrain and exceptionally diverse flora and fauna. Collapse dolines and their surroundings offer shelter to rare and endangered bird species and several bat species, and an extraordinary ecosystem that has developed due to particular geomorphologic and microclimatic conditions has been preserved. The underground is rich with several species of cave animals: both those living on land and those living in water.

Visual impact and recreational value:

Multimedia presentations of museum exhibitions.

Cultural heritage:

Areas of settlement monuments: the villages of Škocjan and Betanja; archeological monuments: the Tominčeva Cave, Ozka špilja, Czoering Cave, Jama nad Jezerom, Luknja v Lazu beneath Matavun, Škocjan hillfort, Ponikve Necropolis, Necropolis beneath Matavun, the cliff in Sapendol, the cave in Sokolak, Jama na Prevali II, Mala jama na Prevali, the Stojance fallow near Betanja, Necropolis Za griči, Necropolis beneath Brežec, the hill fort near the village of Naklo, Tabor nad Škofijami; historical art monuments: the Church of Sv. Kancijan, the ruins of Školj Castle; ethnological monuments: Matavun 8 and 10, Škocjan 4, 5, and 7, the former curacy and communal stone well, Betanja 2; technical monuments: Matavun 4 – ice pit, buildings in Malne; historical monuments: the cemetery and old tombstones in the cemetery, the tombstone dedicated to J. Mahorčič by the church in the village of Škocjan; the sign on the part of the bridge along the Tominčeva Trail, dedicated to Emperor Augustus, the sign in the Schmidl Hall dedicated to the explorers, the monument erected to the memory of dead fighters and victims of fascism in Matavun; Hanke's grave in Škocjan and the stone signpost at the junction of the old Dolnje Ležeče-Lokev road.

Environmental impact:

The Škocjan Caves Regional Park Act provided the legal basis for the beginning of operation of the Park's Nature Protection Supervisory Service. In many countries, this kind of work is called "ranger service", while in Great Britain, where efforts are under way to familiarize people with nature protection supervision, nature protection wardens are referred to as "countryside officers". The generally-accepted nature protection supervision strategy in Slovenia does not imitate the operation of the above-mentioned rangers, who are, incidentally, armed (Italy, the Czech Republic, the USA, African countries etc.), but resembles the less-strict approach to supervision in the protected area.

Economic viability:

Almost 90.000 people per year visits  the Škocjanske Caves.

Contact details:
Name: Škocjan Caves Park
Organisation: The Skocjan Caves Park Public Service Agency,
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Completed on:
Date added: 12.9.2011  Hits: 113
Powered by Sigsiu.NET
The Interregional Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVC, financed by the European Union’s Regional Development Fund, helps Regions of Europe work together to share experience and good practice in the areas of innovation, the knowledge economy, the environment and risk prevention. EUR 302 million is available for project funding but, more than that, a wealth of knowledge and potential solutions are also on hand for regional policy-makers.