Skocjan caves (Škocjanske jame) are protected by UNESCO since 1986. The Skocjan caves are one of the best and most beautiful natural architectural achievements and the best Karst phenomenon in the world.
Slovenia is full of Karst phenomenons, because the Karst covers around two thirds of the country. Skocjan caves are a achievement of the Mother nature that every nation would be proud of, but they are in the shadow of the world known Postojnska cave. They are not as famous, but they are on the UNESCO World heritage list since 1986.
The region park Skocjan caves is a 413 hectares (around 1000 acres) big protected park. It is run by a public institution that was established just for the purpose of taking care and protecting the park. The Park Skocjan caves is also a part of the UN Ramsar convention, that is covered by the UNESCO and takes care of internationally important wetlands, especially those that are wetland bird habitats. Skocjan caves have been included ad the first underground wetland, that is an important habitat for specialized and often endemic species of landlocked and water cave animals.
The Skocjan caves are also inhabited by different animal species and plants, and a lot of them are endemic to the region. You can find the Rock Dave, bats, Winter Wren, dormouse and even foxes. If you see through the water species, is the Proteus, or the human fish that can be up to 20 centimeters (8 inches) long.
The biggest underground Canyon in the world
It is the special region and the embossed surroundings with the Mediterranean climate that make the Skocjan caves so special. The river Reka (the river is named River in Slovenian) disappears underground in the Skocjan caves region and flows underground for the next 30 kilometers. In the millions of years the water of the river Reka carved the biggest underground Canyon in the world. The Skocjan caves are full of different Karst phenomenas, rapids, waterfalls, siphons, stalactites, limestone pillars, sinkholes, halls and other phenomenas, that you can fin only in Karst caves. The halls are something special, the biggest one is over 300 meters (1000 feet) long, approx. 90 meters (300 feet) wide and over 100 meters (320 feet) high. The peak gets up to 146 meters or 479 feet.
The Skocjan caves are a unique and self sufficient system of Karst caves, that were first mentioned in the Antique. Today you can visit them, and even enjoy a guide that will take you on a 1.5 hours long (or short) tour of the caves. You will walk a path of almost 3 kilometers (1,8 miles) and will walk up to 150 meters or 480 feet underground.