|Region||Littoral–Inner Carniola Statistical Region|
|Starting point||Museum of Lake Cerknica (Jezerski Hram TGC)|
|Route length||1 km (0.10 miles)|
|route duration||30 min|
|Best time to visit||summer, spring, autumn|
|Appropriate for||Baby Strollers , Baby Carriers , 1-3 years of age , 3-6 years of age , 6+ years of age , Bikes|
|Level of difficulty||Undemanding route|
Leave the 'Ljubljana – Koper' motorway via Unec exit, drive through the village of Rakek and arrive to Cerknica. Pay attention to a signpost for “Dolenje Jezero”, which directs you to the right. Soon you come to the village, drive through it to the end and park on a big neat parking lot.
The Cerknica Lake covers 26 square kilometres (16 square miles) and the best way to experience it is to circle it with a bicycle. If you have children with you on the other hand, stick to visiting the Cekrnica Lake craters. Start in village of Dolenje Jezero, where the local villager Vekoslav Kebe arranged a Museum of Lake Cerknica. Functioning of the lake's water system is demonstrated on a 'live model', and you can find out everything about the lake and the life around it through time. In the dry part of the year you can see the sinkholes: go from the above mentioned parking lot in the direction of the lake. Turn right onto the first dirt road, which will soon lead you to a 'lunar' landscape where the water vanishes. In the southern part of the lake is an interesting island on which stands the Cerknica village. The phenomenon of intermittent (disappearing) Lake Cerknica has become famous worldwide as an area where cattle can graze, farmers can plow fields, catch fish and drive boats in the same place. When the lake is full, it is the largest lake in Slovenia, but then it dries up and reveals its extensive farming land.
Through all seasons it shows completely different faces and to truly feel what Lake Cerknica is, you have to come back many times. The lake can be seen from several sides, but I suggest that you start in the village of Dolenje Jezero, where locals have put up a museum about their mysterious attraction.
The tale of WITCHES OF SLIVNICA MOUNTAIN
Once upon a time, mighty forests covered wide areas of Slivnica, Javorniki and Snežnik mountains all the way to the Trnovski gozd Forest. Every year, people in the valley stared in disbelief at the peaks, which hid many fears and superstitions. The Slivnica Hill in particular seemed scary to them, as they often saw smoke billowing from the dark clouds, which later ravaged into terrible storms.
No one was brave enough to dare approach this mysterious mountain, which hid all kinds of medicinal herbs and some secrets, which only later appeared in all their grandeur. Eventually, people became very curious and forced themselves into the dark forests, as they were all full of game, which in one way or another enriched the menu in the people’s bread-and-butter kitchen.
One day, a young villager accidentally went too deep into the forest and got lost. It was already getting dark and he did not know where to go, as he was very afraid of the dark and the night calls of the wilderness. As he wandered for some time in the darkness of the forest, he thought he saw a light up the hill somewhere in front of him. He bravely set out on his way and soon reached the top where he found a big cave entrance. Beautiful women came out of the cave and gathered around the campfire, over which a fragrant soup was cooking in the cauldron. The smell was impossible to resist and the man wanted to satisfy his hunger. The young women sat around the fire and all of a sudden started dancing to music.
The young man was so enchanted by the whole scene that he forgot where he was, what he was doing and why he had come. The girls were dancing faster and faster and soon the whole scene changed terribly, as now the girls were dancing in the air, about two meters above the ground. The young man watched with an open mouth and was frightened by everything he saw. He just ran and did not stop until he reached his home. Barely had he crossed the threshold he began to recount what he had seen and how he had escaped. People did not believe him at first, but later they saw the dance of young women more and more often and over the millennia. They started calling Slivnica Mountain the Witch Mountain.
The witches are the hallmark of Cerknica’s Shrovetide celebrations and carnival. The great witch, mother Ursula, is some sort of core, from which the face of the Inner Carniola (Notranjska) region spreads and takes shape. Ursula the Witch is the first big carnival figure that made a debut at the Cerknica Carnival, and that is for a good reason. Johann Weikhard von Valvasor wrote about a hole on the top of Slivnica Mountain in his famous book The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola, saying that this is where the witches meet up and cook up storms.
The Museum of Lake Cerknica (Jezerski Hram TGC) is located right next to the lake and serves excellent coffee and various desserts that fill small hungry bellies. It is an ideal place for a snack, dessert or a refreshing drink. The beautifully decorated outdoor terrace and friendly service convinced us to come back here several times. The museum is pet-friendly, as long as our furry friends lie quietly next to the owner :).
Dolenje Jezero 8g,
+386 1 7094 053
+386 41 561 870
Vita, Olja and Juna Recommend
For a wider view of the lake or Cerknica basin, ascend to the Slivnica or Javorniki mountains.
Here you can listen interesting love story, it was happening right here in Cerknica...