Explore the story of Idrija
According to a legend, in 1490, a bucket maker working in a local spring spotted a small amount of liquid mercury that lead to the rise of Idrija and its mine. Follow its story from the St. Trinity church where the mercury was first found, to the depths of Anthony’s Main Road, the remains of St. Barbara Church, municipal museum at Gewerkenegg castle and end at abandoned Jožef Shaft, the deepest shaft of Idrija mine.
Discover the secrets of Idrija lace
It is not known precisely when and from where lacemaking skills came to Idrija; however, the oldest written source revealing the existence dates in 1696. At first Idrija housewives made lace mainly for the domestic market, until the first lace shop and lace-making school were established. At the height of the lacemaking business, lace from Idrija was sold to Italy, Germany, France and even America, with lace merchants having Swiss bank accounts. After the Second World War, the mass production of lace slowly started to decline. Today, mainly children and elderly women are making lace … well, they were. In the last decade more and more young designers and lace-aficionados from Idrija are engaging in bobbin lace-making.
Visit exhibition on Idrija lace in Municipal museum at Gewerkenegg castle and buy lace souvenirs in studios in the historic town center.
The history of Idrija is full of technological innovations and breakthroughs. Visit Kamšt water wheel (biggest preserved wooden water wheel in Europe) and Frančiške Shaft with exhibition of 26 mining machines (steam pumps, boilers, diesel engines, drilling machines, power hammers, locomotives, trams…). Start your tour at Gewerkenegg castle and municipal museum.
Žlikrofi is being made in every Idrijan kitchen since mid-19th century, but its exact origin remains a secret. The knowledge how to make these bite-sized filled pastries has been handed down from generation to generation.
Try žlikrofi in local restaurants (Škafar, Barbara, Kos, Jožef, Mlinar) or join us at Idrija Žlikrofi Festival every August.
Zgornja Idrijca landscape park
The Zgodnja Idrijca landscape park is a world of solitary paths, wild ravines and rich forests as well as amazing technical heritage. The diverse landscape carved by the Idrijca and the Belca rivers with their effluents uncovers ravines, geological strata cuts, numerous waterfalls, picturesque pools, and sources of excellent water. All this diversity in one place, together with the intertwining of the Mediterranean and Alpine climate helps towards the variety of plant and animal life. The steep hillsides above the Idrijca and Belca riverbeds are covered with forest that offered an important raw material and energy source for the mining operation.
Swim and enjoy at the riverside in Idrijska Bela
Swimming, beach volleyball, table tennis, basketball, picnic places and more, all of this is available at the confluence of the Idrijca and the Belca, place of the popular and well-known natural swimming area »Pri Lajštu« or Idrijska Bela. Here you can swim in crystal clear water and later play beach volleyball at the court. There is also a smaller basketball court, for those who enjoy shooting the hoops. You can also enjoy a game of table tennis, since there are two tables to play on. Or you can just enjoy a drink at the bar. For those who wish to organise their own picnic, you can rent a wooden picnic house at the bar.
Through forests with a bike
Cycling is one of the best ways to explore the Zgornja Idrijca landscape park. Numerous tracks will lead you through pristine nature, endless forests and idyllic clearings, along crystal clear brooks, passing many homesteads and lonely farms. Rent a bike at Hostel Idrija and see it for yourself!
From casual hikers to alpine enthusiasts
Through history, the Rake channel has provided water to the great water wheel – the ‘kamšt’ – serving to drive the pumps for pumping pit water from the mercury mine and several smaller water wheels which were used to lift the ore from the mine and drive the mine’s forges, carpentries and other workshops. Today this is a popular hiking trail that leads you along the water-way and takes you from Kamšt water wheel to Divje jezero lake. For serious alpine enthusiasts this trail is just a small part of long and demanding Slovenian mountain trail. Descend from the hills to reach civilisation for a short good night rest only to ascend back up early in the morning and continue the journey… only for the stubborn hearted!
For all experience levels! Idrija with its surrounding offers 3 climbing areas, each with its own specificity and of several difficulties. Team up with experienced local climbers, explore on your own or hire a climbing instructor that will introduce you to this – in Idrija very popular – activity.
Oldest musical instrument in Divje Babe archeological park
At this archeological site below Šebrelje, the oldest musical instrument in Europe was found—a Neanderthal flute. This unusual musical instrument, neither a flute nor a whistle, was cemented near the remains of a 50,000 – 60,000 years old Neanderthal fire pit, made from the thigh bone of a young cave bear into which the Neanderthal drilled three holes and made a sharpened rim for the mouthpiece using tools made of bone and stone. Besides the flute, bones of more than 60 different animal species were found. The site cannot be accessed without a guide.