|Image: entrance to Vilenica down into the collapsed roof of the entrance hall.|
|Location:||Near Sezana. On the road from Sezna to Lokev, 7km from Sezana, 10km W of Triest(Italy).|
OCT to APR Sun, Hol at 15.
MAY to SEP Sun, Hol at 10, 15, 17.
For groups (10+) only: each day by prior arrangement. 
|Fee:||Adults EUR 6, Children (7-16) EUR 3. Groups: 1 out of 10 free. |
|Classification:||Karst cave. Cretaceous limestone|
|Dimension:||L=1,300m, VR=179m, T=10°C.|
|Guided tours:||L=450m (900m), VR=90m, D=60min.|
Matjaž Puc (2000):
Vilenica - zgodovina in opis kraške jame,
Kulturni center Sreška Kosovela, Sežana
Peter Hofmann (2002): KRAS - Wege im Klassischen Karst, Ein Exkursionsführer zu den Schönheiten des Klassischen Karstes rund um Postojna (Slowenien), Selbstverlag, Oberaudorf, 2002 ()
|Address:||Jamarsko društvo Sežana (Speleological group of Sežana), Partizanska 61, SI-6210 Sežana, Tel: +386-51-648711. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1633||probably first guided cave tour ever by Count Petazzi, the landowner.|
|18th century||visited by Baltazar Hacquet.|
|1829-1830||passage to the Hall of the Fairies built.|
|1963||renovated and electric light installed by the Jamarsko društvo Sežana.|
|24-MAR-2003||postage stamp with a photo of Vilenica.|
|Image: at the end of the developed part, cavers getting ready to visit the rest.|
Jama Vilenica is a cave with a very long history. It is probably the oldest show cave of the world as the first guided tour is recorded for 1633. Count Petazzi, the landowner, gave the cave as a fief to the parish of Lokev. They opened it for visitors, and the cave was known as the most visited cave of the classic karst until mid 19th century. The reasons for this popularity are easy to understand: the proximity to the big city Trieste, the easy access and the character of the cave, which did not require much development work.
|Image: an impressive column.|
But when Postojna was developed, the popularity sank and the cave visits nearly stopped. The fame to revivive this beautiful cave belongs the Jamarsko društvo Sežana (Speleological group of Sežana), who installed new paths and electric light in 1963. Since then, the cave is again used as a show cave.
The name Vilenica is derived from the Slowenian word vile, which means fairy. The locals believed the cave was the home of good fairies.
The cave is entered down a doline, where the roof of a chamber collapsed. The first chamber, at the foot of the stairs is the so called dance floor hall, as this hall was traditionally used to make dance festivals. There is an artificial platform for this purpose.
The tour follows the main passage of the cave to the final chamber, with its abundace of speleothems. But the whole cave is renowned for its speleothems, which are found all along the tour path. First we see the Alley of Dripstones, then the Red Room with enormous curtains and red coloured speleothems. Then we bypass the Organ and enter the final Hall of the Fairies. Here the path is cut out of massive flowstone, and the visitor stand on a balcony above the huge stalagmites of the Hall of the Fairies. The biggest stalagmite here is 20m high and has a circumference of 10m at the base.
The path is nearly 400m long, and as we have to go back the same track, it is about 800m to walk. As the path is sometimes a little rough, good shoes are recommended. The tour descends 90m to the final chamber, which means a lot of stairs, and the handrail is sometimes a little ramshackle. The dance floor hall with its opening at the ceiling is a typical cold trap, and so it is rather cool, even in summer there are normally only 6°C. All in all not a cave for pensioners, good shoes and apropriate clothes are recommended. However, the cave definitely rewards the little endeavour!
|Jama Vilenica Gallery|