Location and Values: The Skocjan Caves system is located in south-west Slovenia, near the border with Croatia and Italy. It is an exceptional limestone cave system, with one of the world’s largest known underground river canyons, carved out by the roaring torrents of the Reka River. Throughout its 6km of cave passages the site provides an awe-inspiring auditory and visual spectacle for visitors. The scale of the underground passages, canyon, and chambers is exceptional, while the (relatively modest) formations of stalactites, stalagmites and rimstone pools are also noteworthy. The Skocjan Caves rank amongst the first caves in the world to be explored and documented scientifically, and the term ‘karst’ – which is widely used in scientific and geological literature – is derived from early research carried out here (on Slovenia’s Kras Plateau, translated as ‘karst’).
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2017) the conservation status of the Skocjan Caves is ‘good, with some concerns’. The IUCN report notes that although a good management system for the site is in place its small size makes it vulnerable to threats originating outside its boundaries. The report notes that urban encroachment and intensification of development in the vicinity of the site is a serious problem. Global climate change may also affect the property in the long term, although the nature of any potential impact is difficult to predict or mitigate.
UNESCO Official Website
IUCN Conservation Outlook