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Notranjska Regional Park 2007

Notranjska Regional Park 2007

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Slovenian Webclassroom on Aug 29, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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“Without any false modesty, I can state that the story of Lake Cerknica is a true wonder of nature, and

that it ranks, rightfully and without any bias, among the greatest wonders of the natural world.” Janez Vajkard Valvasor, 1686

Vertical sinkholes in Lake Cerknica

Velika Karlovica Cave Sinkhole


Notranjska Regional Park covers the area of the Municipality of Cerknica. It was established in 2002 in order to preserve, protect, and explore the natural and cultural heritage of this area. The park contains invaluable biodiversity. A large part of the park is included in the European Network of Special Protected Areas, the Natura 2000 sites. Eight such areas are included in Notranjska Regional Park. The wetlands and numerous karst caves it contains are of international conservational importance. The diverse cultural landscape of the park is a result of centuries of people living in harmony with nature. Old orchards and hay racks are typical of this landscape. The park contains numerous churches, other well-preserved buildings of cultural significance, archeological sites, and the remains of linden-tree avenues along the road between Unec and Martinjak. The remains of an old pear-tree avenue that served as a resting place for travelers and haymakers can still be found between Lipsenj and Martinjak, next to Lake Cerknica. In the Cerknica Karst Polje, spring and autumn rains fill up intermittent Lake Cerknica. In the summer and late winter, when the lake is usually dry, picturesque karst features can be seen on its dry surface, including vertical sinkholes, estavelles, cave sinkholes, and surface water flows. The main watercourse in the lake area is Stržen River.

Little Natural Bridge

Big Natural Bridge

Lake Cerknica has no surface outflow; all the water seeps underground and surfaces as the Rak River in the Rakov Škocjan Valley. Lake Cerknica is a part of the karst river system of the Ljubljanica River – a river that bears seven different names altogether.The sunken karst valley of Rakov Škocjan was named after the church of St. Cantianus, the ruins of which can still be seen today. The main attractions of Rakov Škocjan are Tkalca Cave, Zelške Caves, and the Big and Little Natural Bridges. Križna jama is one of the most interesting caves in the world. It lies in the east of the park and it has 22 underground lakes through which the waters from the Bloke Plateau flow. This cave is famous for its unique cave fauna and as an archeological site where cave bear remains have been found.The Javorniki Hills, covered with beech and fir forests, rise from the southwest shore of Lake Cerknica. On the lake’s north side stands Mount Slivnica (1,114 m), famous for its legendary witches. The northwest part of the park includes the Menišija Plateau, with its typical karst relief with funnel-shaped holes. It is covered with forests and dry meadows. On Menišija there are attractive cycling paths and learning trails. The Otavska Plateau and Vidovska Plateau lie in the northeast part of the park. They are bounded by the deep gorges of the Iška and Zala rivers.

Yellow wagtail

Carniolan primrose


The park includes many different habitats: dry and wet meadows, transitional mires, wetlands, vast forests, and numerous caves. This results in a great diversity of animal and plant species. Some of the special plants are the oblong-leaved sundew, the shining spurge, the Carniolan primrose, the mountain pasque flower, and 34 species of orchids. The most frequently studied type of animal in this area is birds. So far more than 250 bird species have been observed. The wet meadows of the Cerknica polje serve as a nesting ground for the endangered corncrake, curlew, common snipe, and yellow wagtail. The extensive forests are home to rare bird species such as the Ural owl, boreal owl, white-backed woodpecker, and three-toed woodpecker. 15 species of amphibians have been recorded in the park. Of special interest are the yellow-bellied toad, the great crested newt and the common frog. Vranja Cave is known throughout the world as an over-wintering site for these frogs, where up to 25,000 individuals may gather. The park is also home to many endangered species of mammals such as the brown bear, wolf, lynx, and otter. The park’s waters have 9 indigenous species of fish, among which the large population of northern pike in Lake Cerknica is noteworthy. Much of the park’s varied fauna belongs to the invertebrates. More than 130 species of butterflies, 500 species of moths, 700 species of beetles, 50 species of grasshoppers, 40 species of dragonflies have been found in this area.

Tabor 42, SI-1380 Cerknica, Slovenia tel.: +386 5 909 1612 e-mail: info@notranjski-park.si www.notranjski-park.si

NOTRANJSKA REGIONAL PARK - the park covers the Municipality of Cerknica, area: 222 km2; - comprises 8 Natura 2000 sites and a wetland of international importance; - important natural heritage: intermittent Lake Cerknica, Rakov Škocjan Valley, and Križna jame Cave; - interesting cultural heritage: old orchards, linden and pear-tree avenues, hay racks, archeological sites, many well-preserved buildings of cultural importance.

Designed by: Maja Bidovec, Notranjska regional park 2007 Photo: Archive of Notranjska Regional Park Press: Abakos d.o.o.

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