Pivka Jama and Crna Jama


Useful Information

the outlook.
Location: Veliki Otok 50, 6230 Postojna.
50 km south of Ljubljana. 2,4 km north of Postojnska Jama, 3 km north Postojna. Motorway E61 exit Postojna, towards the city, straight ahead through first roundabout, keep right at second roundabout. Turn left towards Postojna Cave, follow road for 2 km, turn right and follow road to the campground. Well signposted.
(45,8046137, 14,2045980)
Open: APR to JUN daily 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16.
JUL to AUG daily 09, 10, 10:30, 11, 11:30, 12, 12:30, 13, 14, 14:30 15, 16, 17, 18.
SEP daily 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.
OCT daily 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16.
NOV to FEB 10, 12, 15.
[2023]
Fee: Adults EUR 60, Children (6-15) EUR 36.
Three Caves (Postojna, Crna, Pivka): Adults EUR 60, Children (6-15) EUR 36.
[2023]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=20,000 m.
Guided tours: Pivka Jama L=794 m, D=77 m, H=540 m asl
Crna Jama L=3294 m, D=39 m, H=540 m asl
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Postojnska jama d.d., Jamska cesta 30, 6230 Postojna, Tel: +386-5-700-01-00, Fax: +386-5-700-01-30. 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.

History


Description

the lower part of the doline.

Pivka Jama and Crna Jama are two parts of the Postojna cave system. They are connected with an artificial tunnel and the tours always show both caves together. There is also a possibility to see both, Postojna, Pivka Jama and Crna Jama on special tours (only by appointment) as they are all connected.

The river Pivka is the main branch of the underground river system which formed the Postojna cave system. Its spring is southeast of the village Postojna, an area with many dolines and seasonal lakes. At the border to not soluble flysch rocks the river starts to flow over ground, until it reaches the border to the limestone at Postojna. Here the water sinks into Postojna cave, flowing through the lower level of the cave system. Many parts of this cave are underwater and still unexplored. Various parts of the upper level, though not connected anymore, were discovered through different entrances and got different names. There is a doline going down to a huge chamber which was called Crna Jama, and there is a second doline going down to a huge river passage called Pivka Jama.

The connection between these caves is obvious, a look on the cave map is enough. Later the data was completed by dye tracing experiments. During the development at the beginning of the 20th century the cave was completed by various tunnels, which now connect the different parts of the upper level. Some tunnels were built during the World Wars and in-between, as strategic connections, by the military. Several parts are developed, and generally guided separately. There are special tours which used the tunnels and show more caves at once.

main passage of Pivka Jama.

Pivka Jama is located at the bottom of a steep doline, the collapse of the ceiling of its huge cave passage. The debris was continually removed by the flowing water, and so today it is gone and the cave is open and accessible from the surface. However, accessible is not the right term. Originally the steep hole in the ground, in the middle of a nice forrest, was just a danger to careless hikers or grazing animaly. But after World War I the area around Postojna became Italian, and the border was nearby. In order to protect their border, and probably to get a connection to Planinska jama, which is only a siphon away, which crossed the border underground, the Italian Army developed the cave with paths and electric light. The tunnel to Planinska Jama, which they also started, was abandoned and is today a dead end.

View into the main chamber of Crna Jama.

If you visit Pivka Jama today, you follow the signs to the cave and the homonymous campground. The road ends at the campground, which is located in the forest around the cave entrance. You can park your car at the visitor parking in front of the door and purchase your cave tickets at the campground office. After two minutes walk you reach the cave entrance. A belvedere, an outlook, is worth the few additional meters, as it shows the whole entrance doline. The rest of the time to the next tour you can spend quite comfortable at the campground restaurant.

The first part of the tour is a 70 m deep descend into the doline, until you finally reach the river passage. The path now follows the river upstream, mostly along the water, sometimes through side passages, where the river cave is too narrow or completely filled by the river. Finally, the path leads through a side passage and a short tunnel up into Crna Jama.

Crna Jama (Black Cave) was named after the black colour of the speleothems. Typically, humans with torches and other open fire light source produced smoke which stained the speleothems. But in this cave it was different, the speleothems were already black when the first visitors entered the cave. A theory says, that smoke from huge fires outside entered the cave and dyed the speleothems. During the Ice Age, when the temperature was rather low, the area was more or less like steppe, and often the dry remains of trees and bushes caught fire. This makes the stalagmites of this cave a valuable resource for climatology research.

Crna Jama is more or less a single big chamber. The floor is leveled and the room was used for festivities, like several other caves in the area. An artificial tunnel at the far end of the chamber connects it to Postojnska jama. However, this chamber, although the biggest chamber in the cave system, was not used very often for events. The problem is the entrance, which is at the bottom of a huge doline, formed like a huge bowl. This makes it a cold trap, which allows cold air during winter to flow into the cave. During summer the cold and heavier air stays in the cave, there is no exchange with the warm air outside. That's actually the principle how Ice Caves work. In this case the temperature is not deep enough for ice stalagmites, only during winter, but nevertheless it is probably the coldest part of the whole cave system. And attending a concert in a freezer is not very tempting.


Pivka Jama and Crna Jama Gallery