The Miracle of Karst


The world is filled with places where nature put in a little extra effort. One such place is certainly the miracle named Karst.

This roughly 15 by 46 kilometer wide plateau stretches between the Vipava valley, Brkini hills, and the Gulf of Trieste. The word "Karst" comes from the ancient word "karra", meaning stone. The name of this land is also the root for the international word “karst”, denoting a type of topography, as well as the surface and subterranean formations known collectively as the karst features.

The picturesque plateau consists of a more than 1000 meter- thick limestone deposit, and a special feature of this region of Slovenia are the karst features, such as foibes, sinkholes, poljes of surprising shapes, thin layers of terra rossa, and naturally a world lacking running surface water, but with an extraordinary subterranean world. It instills fear and respect, with the unique subterranean fauna, numerous caves and underground rivers and lakes. There have been more than 1000 caves discovered on the Karst plateau.

The karst surface is also host to numerous species of animal and vegetation, which gives this natural region in the south east of Slovenia some of the most diverse flora and fauna in Europe.

It was humans who gave Karst its distinguishing characteristics. 

As its residents built and decorated their houses with stones. The effect of the elements encouraged the villages to be built in tight groups with a square and a church in the center. Homesteads faced south and had a walled-up northern side, with the living areas usually located alongside the farm buildings. Together they surround a closed-off courtyard – the so-called borjač, meaning the area safe from the bora winds

The low altitude, the proximity of the sea, and the milder climate as a result fueled the continuous settlement of the Karst. A thin layer of soil, the rocky terrain, and frequent summer droughts mean that farming was mainly focused on grazing and barn-raised livestock, while the areas with thicker layers of soil which formed on top of chert limestone, northeast of Sežana and Štorje, are the home to the region’s vineyards.






    Srečko Kosovel

    Bori dehtijo, bori dehtijo,
    njih vonj je zdrav in močan,
    in kdor se vrne iz njih samote,
    ta ni več bolan. 

    Zakaj v tej pokrajini kamniti
    je vse lepo in prav,
    biti, živeti, boriti se
    in biti mlad in zdrav. 

    Bori, drugovi, dehteči, močni,
    tihi drugovi kraške samote,
    bodite pozdravljeni v moji samoti,
    polni težke, otožne lepote!


    Srečko Kosovel (1904-1924), one of the most significant Slovenian poets, came from Sežana, and was a true son of the karst soil, the pines and the juniper. The harsh living conditions in the Karst and the period of World War I instilled a deep darkness into his soul. The melancholy poet of the Karst was able to block the echoes of death, expressing unspoiled love for people, for his region, and the whole world; he had an extraordinary jovial spirit, and was an unswerving optimist.

    Projekt je sofinanciran v okviru Programa čezmejnega sodelovanja Slovenija-Italija 2007-2013 iz sredstev Evropskega sklada za regionalni razvoj in nacionalnih sredstev.  |  Progetto finanziato nell'ambito del Programma per la Cooperazione Transfrontaliera Italia-Slovenia 2007-2013, dal Fondo europeo di sviluppo regionale e dai fondi nazionali.