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The Tolmin Gorges (Tolminska korita)
The Tolmin Gorges (Tolminska korita), the most important natural attraction of the Tolmin municipality and the lowest entry point into the Triglav National Park, are located near Tolmin. Foto: MMC RTV SLO

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Slovenia’s Very Own Canyon

Slovenia Revealed
16. February 2017 ob 06:19
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

Northwestern Slovenia is renowned for its exceptional landscapes, but even there, the Tolmin Gorges stand out with their primeval beauty. Because of their relatively remote location, they are only now being discovered by larger numbers of visitors.

The gorges have been carved out through the millennia by the Tolminka and Zadlaščica rivers. More than 50 years ago, far-sighted local associations set up footpaths, enabling ordinary people to access the steep canyon walls for the first time. One of the canyon’s most prominent sights is quite a bit older, however. The Devil’s Bridge was first built in 1907 and has been replaced several times. It still serves as a lifeline to the village of Čadrg, and as an impressive sight when viewed from the gorge underneath.

Far below the bridge a thermal spring gushes out from a cave. Its water temperature is usually around 20 degrees Celsius, even though the river itself is rarely warmer than nine degrees, regardless of the season. Another cave nearby is said to have been visited by Dante Alighieri himself in the 14th century and reportedly inspired his Divine Comedy.

Much like the water, the atmosphere in the gorge is an interesting mixture of cool and warm air currents. A part of it has to do with the canyon’s topography – it’s the lowest part of the Triglav National Park --, but much of it is a result of the area’s geographic position between the Alps and the Mediterranean, and the interplay of the different air masses. This unique environment makes it possible for several varieties of rare plants to flourish in the gorges; three species are endemic to this part of Slovenia.

The life under the surface of the water is just as bountiful. The Tolmin Gorges are among of the most important habitants of the endemic Soča trout. Elsewhere, this species of trout has been endangered by interbreeding with the introduced rainbow trout, but the remote location of the gorges has ensured that the Soča trout has not just survived but also thrived in the area.

Today, the Tolmin Gorges serve as a gateway to the Triglav National Park – and the world of wonders found in this part of Slovenia.

Jaka Bartolj