The beautiful vista of Lake Cerknica and valleys of the Notranjska region made witches and their mistress Uršula choose Mount Slivnica as their home. Witches' wrongdoings, who supposedly brewed their potions, rain and storms in the Coprniška jama cave beneath the peak, were first described by Johann Weikhard von Valvasor.
Today, this bald-peaked hill is a popular destination for hikers, who can access the mountain lodge located beneath the peak from each of the villages at the base. If you decide to surrender yourself to the magical sunset and return at nightfall, don't be afraid, witches have long ago retreated to less-crowded places. But you can easily bump into a bear!
The highest peak, which rises on the northern side above intermittent Lake Cerknica, is called Velika Slivnica (Big Mount Slivnica). Mt Slivnica's round ridge is separated from the Bloke plateau by the valley of the Cerkniščica stream and ravines of its tributaries. Along its base there a few smaller karst springs, which help to fill the lake, and a few villages, which grew up along the main road to the Lož valley and Bloke.
Archaeological finds at Gradišče hill show that Mt Slivnica was settled as early as prehistory and ancient history. In later periods, the area was dug for flint, which was then transported to glass workshops in the Javorniki hills, whereas forestry and grazing have partially preserved to present day.
|Highest peak (Velika Slivnica):||1114 m|
The northern steep slopes are covered with beech forest, which is a source of wood and home to all kinds of animals, ranging from long-horned beetles to bears.
During the day, the forest is filled with the drumming sounds of black, green and red-spotted woodpeckers, and from rowan tops echo the harsh screams of spotted nutcrackers and sonorous cuckoo songs. Meanwhile, Eurasian hobbies chase finches and tits between tree trunks, common buzzard circles above the grass slope and two ravens bustle by the mountain ridge. This bird bustle lasts until nightfall when Eurasian eagle and brown owl are awakened from their slumber.
Meadows, flown over by clouded apollos, scarce fritillaries and brown argus, and dug under by moles during the day, are visited by does and rabbits when the morning is still dark, and afterwards even a fox sneaks up behind.
This animal kingdom is no less vivid at night, when it's time for dormice, hazel dormice, martens and bats to wake up in tree crowns and go hunting for countless moths. Forest ground is enlivened by insects. Millipedes and arachnids, which spent the day hiding from the sun, are now facing a new threat – hungry mouths of toads, shrewmice and hedgehogs.
Carbonaceous bedrock is essential for diverse flora. The latter is especially interesting on the sunny-side meadows where the influences of the Slovene Littoral and Mt Slivnica's altitude mix with one another.
The meadows that the local people mow according to their ancestors' traditions conjure up an unforgettable kaleidoscope of flowers in summer. In this mass of species, which bring joy to the insects and visitors, the following stand out: stemless lousewort, the protected orange and Carniolan lily, mountain pasqueflower, grass-leaved flag, white asphodel, fringed pink and orchids (fly, elder-flowered and common spotted orchid, and then early-purple, green-winged, burnt-tip, fragrant and round-headed orchid).
Some species prefer forest shelters. Among orchids, these are: white helleborine, lesser butterfly orchid, broad-leaved helleborine, common twayblade and bird's nest orchid, whereas on Mount Slivnica there are also growing sites of native Carniolan primrose.