Ponikve Karst Park

The Ponikve Karst Park covers a broad protected natural area of about 40 km². This is an area marked by karst phenomena that are identical to the phenomena of the central Karst region, only to a smaller extent and with smaller dimensions. The area has sinkholes, sinking rivers (swallow holes) and karst caves.
The plateau is split by narrow valleys with the streams Ponikvica, Peklenščica and Kalski. Typical of them is that they rise on the northern end and run towards the south. The land and all karst phenomena have the characteristics of shallow and solitary karst. Since 1998, the land of the Ponikve Karst area has been protected as a Park that contains individual natural monuments such as the Ponikvica Stream with the karst Pekel Cave, Bezgec Cave or Stone House and Steska Cave or Secret Cave.
The source of Ponikvica
Under the village of Srednja Ponikva is the source of the Ponikvica Stream, which runs on the karstic land and ends up disappearing into the ground. The source of the stream is in a hill and next to it is a well-arranged laundry area that was used by local women to do their laundry. Ponikvica is a strong karstic source that has never dried up according to the locals. From the source, Ponikvica runs all the way to the swallow holes in Loke, where it disappears into the underground area of the Pekel Cave.
Swallow holes in Loke
At the right side of the road under the village of Loke, you can see three swallow holes of the Ponikvice Stream. The first sinkhole is the largest and the only one permanently active. The second one is smaller and active only during high water levels and strong and long-lasting rain. The third one is located at the edge of the forest under a spruce and is, according to the locals, the “right one”. On hot days, you can see intense smoke coming from it. Farmers used to use it to cool drinks.
Bezgec Cave or Stone House
This cave was originally a water cave that was created as a set of interlaced underground tunnels on several levels. It has two entrances. The upper part of the cave is called the Stone House where bones of the cave bear and remains of ornamented earthenware were found. The total length of tunnels is 800 m.
Secret Cave (Tajna jama)
This is the longest explored water cave in Slovenia. The cave has two entrances and is around 1300 m long. There are nicely shaped, smooth, curved tunnels, all nearly equal to each other in terms of dimensions, and you can see also interesting stalactites in some places.

Turistično društvo Šempeter v Savinjski dolini
Ob rimski nekropoli 2
3311 Šempeter
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Rogaška Slatina