Izviri v Močilnik

Močilnik Valley Springs

Useful Information

Location: Near Vrhnika.
A1 exit Vrhnika, left on 409. After the town and a long turn left at the sign Lubljanica Spring.
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: KarstKarst spring
Light: n/a
Guided tours:
Photography: allowed
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The river Ljubljanica, which flows through Slovenian Capital Ljubljana, is the river with seven names. A complex system of caves and poljes is the source of this river. It is called Ljubljanica when the water finally reaches the Ljubljana Marsh (Ljubljansko barje). Here is a huge number of springs, where the limestone ridge ends and the impermeable flysch plain begins. The four most important springs of Ljubljanica are Retovje, Močilnik, Bistra, and Lintvern.

Močilnik is a valley, cut deep into the limestone. The spring at the border between flysch and limestone caused the erosion of the limestone, and so the limestone above the cave was removed. As a result the spring moves continually back into the ridge, forming the valley. There are two main springs, Veliki Močilnik (Big Močilnik Spring) and Mali Močilnik (Little Močilnik Spring). The water forms a river which is named Mala Ljubljanica (Little Ljubljanica River).

When you follow the single lane road, there is a parking lot. It is marked by a limeston rock with a plague in honor of France Habe, a famous geologist from the Postojna Karst Institute, who did research at the springs. He is well known to cavers and geologists who visited the institute between the 1960s and 1980s. He was always helpful in organizing cave visits or giving valid background information on karst related topics. From here the trail starts to see the caves. It is actually a loop and it is possible to return on the other side of the river and return to the parking lot on the road bridge.

A legend tells that this place was mentioned in the Greek story about Jason and the Argonauts. Obviously their sip sailed the Lubljana upstream until they reached the springs. Jason was furious and he hit the rock with his fist, because there was no continuation. There is a hole in the rock which he reportedly caused. So they disassembled their ship and carried it on their shoulders to the Adriatic Sea. The emblem of the town Vrhnika is the ship Argo because of this legend.