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In Slovenia, the subsoil of the Karst area is pierced with greater than 14,000 caves and galleries. An distinctive and engaging underground world, which attracts vacationers, speleologists… and astronauts from the European House Company!
A easy crack within the floor, weeds wavering beneath the stress of subterranean air currents, and right here is Ludvik Husu, a Slovenian pensioner with a ardour for the depths, on the path of a brand new cave. In fifty years of tireless pursuit, he has misplaced depend of the cavities he found in Slovenia’s spectacular Karst area, the place the world’s first cave animals have been noticed round two centuries in the past.
Greater than 14,000 caves have already been mapped on this central European nation, admittedly small in measurement (20,300 sq. kilometers), however whose bowels represent an distinctive community of galleries and buried rooms.
“It’s winter that we now have essentially the most probabilities of stumbling upon a nonetheless unexplored website”, when the surface temperatures are cooler than under the floor, creating scorching air upwelling, explains the sixty-year-old. Lately, he unearthed a cave 60 meters deep and named it after his son, Matej.
“A brand new world”
Moved by a ” curiousity “ insatiable, Ludvik Husu likes to survey these lands stuffed with surprises, on the border with Italy, his eyes riveted on the bottom, searching for clues. To get his fingers on an unknown place, to dig then to descend, geared up with ropes and a headlamp, it’s for him like digging up a treasure. Who is aware of what has been mendacity underground for millennia?
The craze of two million Slovenes for the abyss goes again a great distance: Vilenica, the oldest collapse Europe, has been visited since 1633! There may be additionally the longest on the continent: the Postojna community, which stretches over 24 km.
It was found in 1818, when Slovenia was beneath the management of the Habsburgs, because of the lamp employee Luka Cec, accountable for making ready the lighting for a go to by the Austrian Emperor Francis Ier. “There’s a new world right here, there’s a paradise right here! “, he would have exclaimed then. Later he’ll discover there “The primary cave animal, the beetle Leptodirus hochenwartii “, explains information Stanislav Glazar.
Child dragons and astronauts
We now know that this cradle of biospeleology is dwelling to greater than 150 species, together with the well-known eel proteas that appear to be “child dragons” with their elongated form, sq. mouth and pink shade.
This aquatic animal “Can reside as much as 100 years, attain a size of 25 to 35 cm and go with out meals for nearly 12 years. It is implausible ! “, enthuses Stanislav Glazar, inexhaustible on the topic.
Postojna additionally noticed the looks of the primary underground vacationer prepare, in 1872, which threaded its method between a number of “Stalactites, stalagmites, columns, pillars and draperies”. Secret passages linked to a citadel, a spot the place a literary prize is awarded, classical music live shows and even basketball video games: there’s something for everybody within the Slovenian caves, which have develop into a vacationer attraction.
European House Company (ESA) astronauts additionally enterprise into these confined areas. They type a coaching floor “Distinctive”, underlines Tomaz Zorman, liable for the Skocjan caves, a UNESCO heritage website which hosted a mission in 2019.
“The karst world is precisely as house may be: it’s an unfamiliar setting by which you do not know what to anticipate on the subsequent stage”, he explains, from the highest of a vertiginous underground canyon.
A universe of darkness that doesn’t frighten the reckless Ludvik Husu, when he’s exploring virgin lands: “I do not really feel any concern. The fearful have solely to remain at dwelling. “