The Pohorje Hills are an alpine massif, spanning around 849 km2 and reaching Koroška with its rounded western part. Their typical landscape features comprise dark spruce forests, which cover more than 70 % of the area. The impermeable siliceous geological surface from igneous and metamorphic rocks creates typical ecosystems, which is the reason for the existence of 16 forest reserves in the area. Among these are the peat bogs of Lake Ribnica na Pohorju and the Lovrenc na Pohorju Lakes. The bogs of the Pohorje Hills are the southeasternmost bogs in Europe. Both bogs can be easily reached on foot along the constructed timber paths and the set-up visitor information boards.

A tale from Koroška tells a rather different story about the origin of the Lake Ribnica na Pohorju. It goes: "A still lake glistened on top of Mt. Plešivec. In it lived Jezernik, a kind water man who liked to help the locals. When St. Ursula's Church was built by the lake, the ringing of its bells disturbed Jezernik's peace. Day by day, a farmer called Plešivčnik curiously watched how tired and sweaty his two oxen lay in the stable. After a week or so, the farmer found a sack of gold coins in the hayrack, and the next day the oxen were well rested. At the next Sunday mass, some men were talking about the lake on the Uršlja Gora Mountain having disappeared, and about a new one having been formed on the Pohorje Hills. Plešivčnik knew it right away: Jezernik used his oxen to carry the water from the lake to its new spot. After the lake being moved, Jezernik has not been seen again but there are signs that he still lives in the lake."

Grasslands

In addition to forests, another typical characteristic of the Pohorje Hills are the grasslands, which grow on plateaus. These grasslands are the remnants of pastures and meadows formed by cutting down forests. Because they are not being used anymore, the grasslands are beginning to become overgrown again. The typical plants growing on the acidic soil of the Pohorje Hills grasslands are matgrass, the medicinal arnica, and orchids. On the steeper slopes, we find the autumnal heather, the bilberry, and the lingonberry. The forests, meadows and bogs of the Pohorje Hills are the natural habitat of game, numerous types of birds (such as grouse, owls, birds of pray, and woodpeckers), butterflies, beetles, amphibians, and other animal species.

Natura 2000

The Pohorje Hills with their natural characteristics and landscape features form a unique alpine world, of which 40 % falls under the European network of Natura 2000 areas. Its main aim is to assure the long-term preservation of biodiversity. This is why effort is being put into protecting the Pohorje Hills area as a regional park.

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