The Idrija Geopark, which covers the entire area of the Municipality of Idrija, extends over an area of 294 km2 in western Slovenia, in the hills of Idrija and Cerkno. Because of its unique position at the crossroads of the Alps and the Dinarides, it represents a clear transition from subalpine to karst terrain with incredible diversity: deep dells below high karst plateaus with peaks offering scenic panoramas from the Julian Alps to the Adriatic Sea.
The most important and renowned natural monument of the Idrija Geopark is the Idrija mercury deposit. Mining activity was the driving force of the development of the town of Idrija for 500 years. Throughout the centuries, the Idrija mercury mine sustained the populace of Idrija and its surroundings, leaving behind an impressive technological heritage in mining. Since 2012, Idrija – together with Almadén from Spain – is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Idrija countryside is different, but no less unique. It boasts a pristine and primordial natural environment full of extraordinary natural monuments such as the Wild Lake (a lake, a cave, and a spring all in one) or the Idrija fault line, the greatest tectonic structure in the Southern Alps. The numerous examples of a well-preserved cultural heritage stand as a testament to the harsh conditions that have shaped the lives of the local people, who mainly survived through agriculture, cultivating whatever they could to sustain themselves. Local artisanship thrived: woodworking, wicker weaving, nail-making, smithing, etc.
In the Idrija Geopark, we constantly strive to present the region’s unique nature, culture, and tradition through a series of different activities. We collaborate with museums, information centres, gastronomical and other tourist service providers, as well as schools and other educational institutions. We support and encourage the development of tourism and innovative tourist products based on local stories, made from locally sourced materials, and distinguished by the certificate of excellence of the collective trademark “Idrija Geopark – Idrija – Selected”.
In 2013, the Idrija Geopark was accepted as the 55th member of the European and the Global Geopark Networks at the 12th EGN Conference in the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park. In 2015, with the establishment of the UNESCO IGGP (International Geoscience in Geoparks Programme), it was also granted the title of Idrija UNESCO Global Geopark.