Trnovski gozd (Trnovo Forest), near Predmeja above Vipava Valley.
|Classification:||Karst cave. Ice cave|
|Light:||none, bring good torch|
|Dimension:||L=4,090,m, VR=650m, A=1,140m asl.|
|Address:||Nova Gorica Tourist Information Center, Bevkov trg 4, 5000 Nova Gorica, Tel: +386-5-3304600, Fax: +386-5-3304606. 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.
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|1905||inverse vegetation zones first described.|
The Velika Ledena Jama (Big Ice Cave) at Paradana is a typical cold trap ice cave. A huge entrance portal at the ground of a huge doline is followed by a downwards pointing huge passage. Cold air is trapped during summer and the ice stays inside the cave during the year.
The ice was once mined, blocks weighing 10kg to 40kg were cut with saws, then transported to up to the surface in baskets. By night they were transported to Gorizia or Trieste and sold to the ships. The ice was used to fridge the fish. It is even said the ice was sold as far as Egypt. Obviously this ended with the invention of the fridge.
This place is famous for its vegetation, as the western wall was the place where the inversion of the vegetation belts caused by the cold air was first described. So it is a sort of botanic locus typicus (type locale).
There are numerous different names used for this cave, which makes some confusion. Some are simply descriptive or shortened. It is an ice cave called Paradana Cave. As there are three different caves nearby, the biggest one, which is the one with the ice and the trails, is called Velika Ledena Jama (Big Ice Cave). There are also several potholes with a total length of 650 meters.
Today the cave is protected as a Natural Reserve. It is maintained by the Tourist Society in Lokve. They developed it some years ago with wooden trails, stairs and rails. The path leads down to the ice in the entrance hall of the cave. There is a trail from a small parking lot at the road to the cave entrance. Please respect the nature and do not leave the trails. Wear appropriate clothes, the cave has temperatures below zero, the trail may be icy so sturdy boots are a good idea. There is no electric light, natural light reaches far into the cave, but a torch is nevertheless useful. Bring the biggest you own.