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Kras and Karst

Karst Investigations in Slovenia


The Karst presents a distinctive type of earth with special karstic phenomena getting the name after the region Kras in the background of the Trieste Bay. The name has Paleoeuropean origin (karra - stone) and in Antiquity it used to be Carusardius. From 1177 the Slovenian form "Grast" has been known and from 1230 the Croatian "Kras". In the international terminology the German version -(Karst) - has remained in use, obviously after the place name Kras.


Information about the features of Kras, especially about the spring of Timavo river, Reka river and Škocjanske caves  (jame), was spread all over the world by the Greeks and the Romans (Strabo, Virgil, Plinius). From the 16th to the 19th century the periodic Lake of Cerknica  was the most famous and the best described karst phenomenon (Valvasor , Steinberg). In the past two centuries several caves and other karst forms and curiosities were explored on the Kras, presenting today the properties of "Classical Karst" from where not only the name of karstology derives but the roots of speleology are found.





Postojna Cave / Drawing by Janez Vajkard Valvasor in "In Praise of the Duchy of Carniola" 1689 /Photo by Arne Hodalic

Schmidl (1854, 1858) contributed to the knowledge of the caves in Notranjsko (Inner Carniola) and introduced some Slovenian popular names for the most impressive karst features into the literature (jama, dolina, ponor). These names were adopted later in the international use.


The discovery of new parts of the Postojna Cave  in 1818 marks a new period of speleological and karstological investigations in Slovenia. Thus the Postojnska jama is often called the cradle of speleobiology.



According to "Slovenia - Geographic Aspects of a New Independent European Nation", Ljubljana, 1992 By Peter Habic, Ph..D. Research Associate, The Institute of Karst Research, Centre of Scientific Research of the SAZU




Rakov Skocjan - A Copper Engraving by Franc Anton Steinberg in "Gruendliche Nachricht von dem in dem Inner-Crein gelegenen Czirknitzer-See", 1758 /Photo by Arne Hodalic

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