RS7_PHOTOGRAPHY

Postojna Caves, Slovenia, 1st March 2019

March 20, 2019
Written by: Rob Slusar

So I lasted just 2 months before I had to go on holiday. All this Brexit lark just got too infuriating. As a result we decided to get out of the country while I still can. After a successful first visit last year, we decided to go back to Slovenia.

Last year was mainly based around seeing a friend. This year however, we decided to do more touristy stuff. The next few posts will show our adventure.

Postojna Caves

The Postojna cave system in the South Western part of Slovenia. Postojna Cave was carved by the Pivka River over millions of years, and now extends at least 15 miles into the mountains, and descends around 115m.

Although first documented in the 17th century, graffiti found in the system suggests that people were in the caves in 1200s. The best known explorer of the caves was Luka Čeč who discovered what is now the main entrance in 1818. He would continue to explore and guide in the caves until his death in 1836. In the 1850’s, a more comprehensive analysis of the caves was undertaken.

The caves first became a tourist attraction around 1819 with the visit of Archduke Ferdinand, and the length of the cave system has extended to meet the tourist numbers.

This is the first cave I have been in where you have been taken down by train. As you get deeper and deeper some of the formations get more and more impressive. Some of the cave chambers are impressive. One of these chambers has been used to host government meetings, another (until fairly recently) was regularly used as a concert hall due to its impressive echo which lasts for about 5 seconds.

As well as chambers, stalactites and stalagmites, it is also home to an unusual creature. The Endemic Olm, known locally as the “baby dragons” or “human fish” (which is also the name of a good brewery), is a type of blind salamander which has evolved to live in the darkness. A number of these animals can be seen in the aquarium/vivarium which now forms part of the tour.

The Photos

As you can imagine, and as you can tell from my previous cave visits, cave photography is hard. You really need to have long exposures in places like this, but with the amount of people and the speed of the tours, you just don’t get the time.

Part of my thing this year is when I go on holiday is to enjoy the holiday, and not focus on being a photographer (unless it is a spectacular site where I can control things). Therefore, reports such as this will revert back to my old style of blog, being a report on the location rather than a photography focus.

With that being said, I did manage to manufacture some images to help show off the extent of the caves and give you a feel for this wonderful underworld kingdom. Here they are.

Cave pool.

Enormous stalagmite.

A number of the stalagmites are made up of different patterns caused by the differing water droplets.

When stalactites and stalagmites join they form columns. Some these are the sized of massive tree trunks.

Some stalagmites can be found in little clusters, others can be more singular.

A collection of columns which are made up of water which has passed through different minerals on their way through. This gives them a number of different colours.

Another patterned stalagmite with a slim column to the left.

I waited a while to get people out of this image and took this as a handheld with a slow shutter speed to get the light in.

Another grouping of stalagmites with the relatively young (probably a few hundred years) column.

One of the larger caverns towards the end of the tour. Large, but certainly not the largest!

Some of these formations are formed by more continuous running water, hence the look of water falls.

This formation has become the symbol of the caves. Known as “the diamond” or by kids as “the ice cream cone”, this formation is known to sparkle in the right light.

Final Thoughts

Having been to a number of caves now, it can be easy to get a bit jaded with them. Although a stalactite is still a stalactite, the scale of this cave system was incredible.

The tour lasted around an hour and a half, and with the formations being tastefully lit, you really get a good impression of the majesty of some of the caverns and structures within it.

There are a number of other cave sites around Slovenia, some of which I would like to go back to in the future. But for now, this one will have to do.

Thanks for looking

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