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Idrija is the oldest mining town in Slovenia. In the past, the famous mercury mine, the second-largest in the world, provided the town with great prosperity in all fields, from technology and science to trade and culture. Nowadays the entire old town centre is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Anthony’s Main Road is one of the oldest preserved mine entrances in the world. Idrija is also a home to plenty of interesting preserved mine equipment. Visit Idrija Kamšt, a water pump for the mine, with the largest preserved wooden water wheel in Europe; Francisci Shaft with the exhibition of mine machineries; “klavže”- the water barriers, which were used to transport wood along the streams; Hg smelting plant…The mine administration once resided in Gewerkenegg Castle, which nowadays holds Idrija Municipal Museum.
Geologically one of the most peculiar parts of the country, the Idrija area encompasses the Idrija UNESCO Global Geopark, which is also the UNESCO Heritage Site. Because of its green responsibility to the environment Idrija was named both the Alpine Town of the Year and the European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) in the year 2011.
The countryside of Idrija is a true paradise for enthusiasts of outdoor activities in a pristine environment, who go hiking or cycling at any time of the year, or go fishing, climbing, or pick herbs and mushrooms when the time is right. During the winter the plateaus around Idrija are packed with skiers.
Idrija is also the main and the oldest Slovenian centre of handmade bobbin lace. Idrija lace nowadays carries a geographical mark as the finest handmade craft product. You can see the skilled lacemakers’ hands twisting the threads on the streets of Idrija at the Idrija Lace Festival – the biggest event in town, dedicated to the craft of lacemaking and preserving the tradition. Idrija Lace School has been active continuously since 1876 and still offers classes to all generations.
The gourmets know very well that the dish to have in Idrija is the exquisite idrijski žlikrofi, the culinary specialty of this town and today boast the European trademark protection. The dish is prepared from dough with potato filling and has a typical shape.