Mining heritage

The most comprehensive part of heritage in Idrija is definitely the heritage related to mining. You can find preserved buildings, monument technical devices and machines, which testifie to the exceptional significance of this area for mercury production.

Most important preserved mining heritage:

- Gewerkenegg castle

- Anthony's Main Road

- Old town of Idrija

- The Mercury Route

- Magazin - mine warehouse

- Mine's theatre

- Smelting plant

- Čermak - Špirek furnace

- Francis's shaft

- Joseph's shaft

- The engine room of the Inzaghi shaft

- Kamšt water pump with the Rake channel and Kobila dam

- Idrija Lauf railway

- Brus water barrier on the Belca stream

- Putrih water barrier

- Water barrier on the Idrijca river

- Kanomlja or Ovčjak water barrier 

- Roasting sites in the surroundings of Idrija, Pšenk

 

Gewerkenegg castle

Status: Monument of national importance

Dominating the old town is the 16th century Gewerkenegg Castle, which through the centuries served as the headquarters of the mine administration and as a mercury storage. It was the centre of mercury trading in Slovenia, the place where mercury began its journey into the world. Today it is the official seat of the Idrija Municipal Museum.

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Anthony's Main Road

Status: Monument of national importance

 One of the oldest preserved and still open mine entrances in the world. It was dug out in the year 1500, initially supported by wood, and in 1766 built into an oval-shaped shaft. The 18th century Chapel of the Holy Trinity stands in its eastern part. Anthony's Main Road is arranged as an underground museum.

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To see the Anthony Mine Shaft guide click HERE.

Old town of Idrija

Status: Monument of local importance

Originally a miners' settlement dating from the 15th century, Idrija developed into a town in the 17th and 18th centuries. The narrow town core has a typical bourgeois, market architecture (administrative and residential buildings).The town has typical miner's houses and miner's residential buildings known as »prhauzi«.

The Mercury route

Status: Monument of local importance

Part of the route along which mercury was transported. The route is inseparably linked to mercury mining and trading.

Magazin – mine warehouse

Status: Monument of national importance

A large, single-storey building that was later used as a silo was built in Baroque style in Idrija's old town centre in 1764. The silo was used to store wheat and other foodstuffs used to pay the miners. Plaques dedicated to important personalities (Jožef Mrak, Marko Vincenc Lipold, Balthasar Hacquet, Franc Anton Steinberg, Ivanka Ferjančič and Henrik Fereyer) in Idrija's history were put up on the facade of the warehouse.

Mine's theatre

Status: Monument of national importance

Built in 1769, it is the oldest theatre building made of stone in Slovenia. The building testifies to the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Idrija, which includes theatre production. The theatre was renovated on a number of occasions, but retained its look to a present day.

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Smelting plant

Status: Monument of national importance

The area of the smelting plant of the Idrija Mine includes the end cable car stations, the separation plant with mill, a bridge with a railway, the collection bunker with a feeder system, the rotary furnace, the condensers and a smokestack and accompanying ducts. The smelting during the centuries was continuiously developing, from a basic coal-fired heap system in 16th century to modern rotary furnaces, operating in 20th centruy.

Čermak – Špirek furnace

Status: Monument of local importance

A furnace for the processing of small-grained ore. Its design is Idrija's original improvement of shaft furnaces at the end of the 19th century. It is part of the smelting complex.

Francis's shaft

Status: Monument of national importance

A shaft dating from 1792, used to transport miners and materials up to a depth of 272 metres. Exhibited in the entrance building of Francis's Shaft are mine machines and devices that are partly still operational. Among these is also Kley's pump from 1893, which for fifty years was used to pump water from the pit. According to known data, this is the only preserved pump of its kind in the world.

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Joseph's shaft 

Status: Monument of national importance

The most important shaft for transporting materials and miners, which connected all 15 levels. It was built in 1786, but has been backfilled today. Exhibited in the vicinity are renovated mine locomotives for the transport of ore through the town. Alongside the shaft is the recently opened Scopoli's Memorial Garden, where visitors can observe the blossoming of rare plants from the surroundings, which were described by the first botanists who came to explore the Idrija region.

The engine room of the Inzaghi Shaft

Status: Monument of local importance

The Inzaghi Shaft began to be dug in 1764 and was completed in 1890. At that time it comprised a boiler room and an engine room. Later on a lift was installed for the purpose of exporting ore to the surface and transporting miners and equipment. The engine room was renovated in 2005 together with engines from the engine room. Today it houses the Tourist Information Centre.

Kamšt water pump with the Rake channel and Kobila dam

 

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Status: Monument of national importance

At the end of the 16th century, the Idrijca River was dammed at Kobila and the first water channel known as »Rake« was built. Initially, the water channel extended all the way to the center of the town. Today, it runs only from the dam at Kobila to the kamšt (water wheel). For centuries, the water flowing in the Rake drove the mine devices known as »kamšt« (water pump), which pumped water and lifted ore from the pit. The last preserved kamšt was built in 1790 and operated continuously for a period of 160 years. It pumped 300 litres of water per minute from a depth of 283 m. Its huge wooden wheel has a diameter of 13.6 m.

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Idrija Lauf railway

Status: /

A forest railway in a length of 100 to 3000m, previously used to transport wood from the heart of forests to the water barriers, from where it was then floated to Idrija. The lauf was the only railway of its kind in the former Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, and mostlikely the first in the world. It was made of wood, except for the wheels of carts and other small parts, which were made of steel.

Brus water barrier on the Belca stream

Status: Monument of national importance

A stone water barrier with a wooden projecting roof. The water accumulating in an artificial lake behind the barrier was released, creating a flood wave that floated the timber all the way to Idrija.

Putrih water barrier

Status: Monument of national importance

A stone water barrier protected by a projecting roof. Its design and method of operation were invented by Jožef Mrak, a constructor from Idrija.

Water barrier on the Idrijca river

Status: Monument of national importance

The largest of all preserved water barriers on the Idrijca River, also known as the Idrija klavže. They were built in 1774. The stone water barrier is 41 m long and was used to float timber to the Idrija Mine.

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Kanomlja or Ovčjak water barrier

Status: Monument of national importance

A stone water barrier used for floating timber to the Idrija Mine, built in Napoleon's time. After its restoration in 2005, the water reservoir behind the barrier is used for a small hydro-power plant.

Roasting sites in the surroundings of Idrija, Pšenk

Status:/

21 old ore roasting sites with waste piles of cinnabar-coated vessel fragments were found in the surroundings of Idrija. The closest roasting site was found at Lenštat in Idrija, and the most distant sites are situated 6-7 km air distance from the mine (Čekovnik, Kanomlja). Pottery vessels, sorted and crushed ore, washed ore (šlih), etc. were transported to the roasting sites.

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