Karavanke Geopark

Discover the mysterious Peca underground, where the mine was excavated already by the Romans. Or head out to look for nature’s miracles in the many geological trails.

You have an opportunity to travel back in time millions of years in the Koroška region. It was in this area that two larger lithospheric plates came into contact – the African and the European. During the “plates colliding”, a rock mass rose up from the bottom of the sea, which today forms one of the longest mountain ranges in the world – the Alps.

In Slovenia, Podzemlje Peca (Peca Underground) in Mežica represents the central point of the cross-border UNESCO Geopark. It also holds the Information Centre, the museum of mining and the entrance to the abandoned mine, which can be experienced on foot, by bicycle or by kayak. Recent history of this area is suffused with the ironworks, mining or the coal-mining tradition.

You can explore the natural phenomena on the themed hiking and cycling trails or in the museums. The network of more than 1,200 kilometres of hiking trails provides views of numerous geological sights. The entire Geopark area has 48 geological sights and 14 Geopark sights registered. The forest pastures with wonderful views offer more carefree and, if desired, adrenaline-fuelled mountain bike adventures.

Unforgettable Journey to the History of Earth’s Formation

Discover the mysterious Peca underground, where the mine was excavated already by the Romans. Or head out to look for nature’s miracles in the many geological trails.

The consequence of the collision between the Adriatic micro slate and the Eurasian lithospheric slate is the several hundred kilometres long Periadriatic Seam. The latter is running over the Karavanke Geopark and goes deep below the surface. The world, as seen today, was formed over millions of years.

The sights of the Geopark and its geological sights include the oldest rocks from the Palaeozoic era, important deposits of minerals and fossils, deposits of metal mineral resources that were excavated in the past, as well as karst caves and other karst forms, offering proof of volcano activity in the past. Many of them stand out on a global scale:

  • The deposit of the Carnian sea lilies in the valley of the Helena stream, being one of the three richest deposits of such fossils in Europe;
  • The Mežica mine is one of five areas of lead and zinc ore of this type in the world;
  • The Mežica deposit of the wulfenite mineral is the richest deposit in Europe and one of the best known around the world;
  • The Topla Valley mine which, on a world scale, represents important proof of sedimentary formation of such ore in the supratidal sea;
  • The classic deposit of the dravite mineral in Dobrova pri Dravogradu is one of the five most important deposits in the world;
  • The Obir caves, which were discovered by accident while excavating lead and zinc, are the most beautiful natural dripstone caves in Austria;
  • The slopes of dark-grey pillow lava in the Obir gorge and volcano rocks on Smrekovec, which give proof of volcano activity;
  • The numerous springs of mineral water in the area of the fault zone between Jezersko and Železna Kapla;
  • Podkanjski Slap waterfall (Wildensteiner Wasserfall) in Galicia (Gallizien), which is one of the highest free-falling waterfalls in Europe and also has red limestone that is rich with aptychi of ammonites, remains of the echinoderm and other fossils;
  • The coal mine in Leše is one of the largest and most modern coal mines of the time in Slovenia, which exported ore to the most important ironworks in Europe.

Incredible Images of Nature

Discover the mysterious Peca underground, where the mine was excavated already by the Romans. Or head out to look for nature’s miracles in the many geological trails.

The rock walls, screes, mountain grasslands, marshes and others are home to many rare and protected plant species. This is a nesting area of rare species of owls, woodpeckers, birds of prey, and other animals. When the forest slopes and bald peaks lose the snow cover, that is when the Alpine plants bloom. Some of the rare ones we can find here are the auricula, the Zois' bellflower, the Kamnik orchid, the gentian, Gentiana clusii and others.

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