The Križna jama cave is one of the most beautiful tourist water caves in Slovenia. 22 emerald lakes are connected by an underground crystal-clear stream, within side passages ancient bones of cave bears can be seen, and by the number of specialised cave dwellers, the Križna jama cave ranks among the richest caves in the world.
It is also the seventh longest cave system in Slovenia. People have been visiting the cave ever since the Neolithic Era, but beforehand, its master was the now unfortunately extinct cave bear. Walking along the paths, used by cave bears for thousands of years, and paddling along the lakes in karst underground is an experience you will never forget.
The magical attraction of the Križna jama cave hides in its little lakes. Underground lakes that are up to 7 metres deep were formed behind sinter barriers. The latter emerged because calcareous sinter deposits faster on rapids than in slow waters.
The entrance to the Križna jama cave is somewhere in the middle between the Bloke plateau, the Lož valley and the Cerknica plain. If we take the main passage, called Jezerski rov (Lake Passage), heading from the entrance in the direction of water flow, we get to Kalvarija, where the cave splits in two passages. One is called Blata (Mud) and the other Pisani rov (Coloured Passage).
Through these two passages, the water from the Bloke plateau streams from one lake to another, continues its way to the Nova Križna jama cave, which is closed for the visitors, and then surfaces as the Šterbrščica stream at the edge of the Cerknica plain.
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By the findings of cave bear bones, the Križna jama cave ranks among the richest caves in this part of Europe. It served as a den to cave bears for tens of thousands of years, but today only smaller animals live inside.
Even though the water lacks nutrients, the cave is rich with troglobites, specialised cave dwellers. The 45 troglobite species found here make the Križna jama the fourth most biodiverse cave in the world.
Sideswimmer Niphargus orcinus and shrimp Monolistra rakovitzai were first described after the very specimens from the cave. In addition, the cave hosts six species of freshwater snails, of which three are native species belonging to Belgrandiella genus. The eternal darkness of the Križna jama is also home to the narrow-necked blind cave beetle, the first described cave insect in the world, white titanic bug, cave spider and sideswimmer Nyphargus stygius.
The entrance to the cave also serves as shelter to other animals, among them are tissue moths and cave crickets, whereas horseshoe bats rest a bit deeper.
Number or troglobite species: 45 Number of native species: 2 Number of species described in the Križna jama cave: 2
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