Rovi pod starim Kranjem

Tunnels under the old town of Kranj


Useful Information

Location: Meeting point is in front of Kranjska Hiša (Kranj House), Glavni Trg 2 in Kranj. Tickets at tourist info.
(46.241384, 14.354425)
Open: All year Tue, Fri 17, Sat, Sun 10.
[2020]
Fee: Adults EUR 3, Children (0-14) EUR 2.50, Seniors EUR 2.50.
Groups (-25): per Group Slovenian EUR 65, foreign language EUR 80.
Grouos (26-30): per Person Slovenian EUR 3, foreign language EUR 3.50.
[2020]
Classification: SubterraneaLuftschutzbunker
Light: electric
Dimension: L=1,300m.
Guided tours: D=1h
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography:  
Address: Rovi pod starim Kranjem, Tourism and Culture Board Kranj, Kranjska hiša, Tourist Info, Glavni trg 2, 4000 Kranj, Tel: +386-4238-0450. 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

1944 air raid shelter built.
1945 tunnels abandoned.
1980s used for a mushroom farm.
1991 refurbished for the ten-day War of Independence.
2008 opened to the public by the Tourist and Culture Board Kranj.

Description

The tunnels under the medieval town Kranj are often called catacombs, but actually the are the remains of an World War II air raid shelter. The city of Kranj was part of Yugoslavia, and the local authorities were aware of possible war, so they planned to build an air raid shelter. Works were started, but ended abruptly when the Axis powers occupied Yugoslavia within days in 1941. But when Germany began to lose the war, the construction of the air raid shelter was restarted in 1944. The authorities feared that Kranj could face bombing by the Allies. Until the end of the war a total of 1.3 kilmeters of tunnel were constructed. And there were several air raids signaled, and the people of Kranj went underground. Fortunately the city was never bombed, and with the end of the war the tunnels were abandoned.

The tunnels were rediscovered and used for a mushroom farm in the 1980s. At this time Slovenia was still part of socialist Yugoslavia. But it did not work very well and was soon abandoned. In 1991 the tunnels were cleaned with the idea to restore them as bunkers, as the Balkan war dreaded. What actually happened was the ten-day War of Independence. The Serbian and Croatian Army were at the border to Slowenia and everyone feared fighting and possible ethnic cleaning. But Slovenia had always been closer to Austria than the other parts of Yugoslavia. After a few days the war ended with a treaty, Slovenia became independent, became a part of Schengen and the EU and was among the first to introduce the Euro. The bunker was fortunately never needed.

For some years the tunnels were unused, but finally somebody remembered that they were actually in a good shape. The idea to create a tourist destination became popular, the tunnels were finally cleaned and several exhibitions were created inside. One part of the exhibition is dedicated to World War II and the air raids, and it includes an air raid simulation. There is fossil an mineral exhibition, and a local history exhibition.

While the tunnels are artificial and rather young, they still offer some feature normally known from natural caves. There are stalactites which are forming on ceiling of the tunnels. And there are cave animals, like bats, the European cave spider Meta menardii and endemic cave cricket and cave orbweaver. The surrounding rocks are conglomerate, a clastic sedimentary rock formed by the debris which was eroded from the surrounding mountaims As the mountains consist of limestone the conglomerate also consists of limestione pebbles glued together by limestone.