Zois' Park in the Karavanke is full of traces of ancient life. Petrified flora and fauna, cultural heritage of the place, spruce tree forests and forest learning path, emerald green lake, Karl Zois' botanical garden, the proximity of mountain paths and many other things ensure the visitor active and interesting spending of free time. Getting to know petrified objects, animals and plants which lived millions of years ago is interesting not only for experts bust also for young explorers, exciting their imagination when they find fossils of tracheophyte, horsetail, bryozoans, sea lilies, urchins, shells and snails.
Golica (1.835 m)
Golica is one of the most noticeable and green mountains in the Karavanke. All paths start in Planina pod Golico. It is only an-hour walk along the shortcut in the direction of Savske jame to the famous and friendly mountain hut on Golica (1582 m). The path along the ridge is much longer (2 to 3 hours) and more tiring, but much more rewarding because of wonderful views. It is not far from the hut to the top of Golica (1835 m) although it may seem closer than it really is. Golica is famous for fields of daffodils. On lower fields they are in blossom already in May while at higher altitudes you can admire them in June. There are a lot of mountain flowers on rocky ridges. Among others you will be able to admire hawksbeard (Crepis bocconi) and Alpine clubmoss (Diphasiastrum alpinum). Brown Alpine grayling and reddish rattle grasshoppers are flittering there. During the descent to the valley you will be able to admire green-blue dragonflies.
Fun fact: The most famous popular folk song Na Golici, which is also the most popular polka in the world, was named after Golica. The song was written in the 1950s by Slavko Avsenik, adapted by Vilko Avsenik and played by Ansambel bratov Avsenik (Brothers Avsenik Ensemble).
Hruška planina (1.776 m)
Cows still graze on this mountain pasture which is accessible from Dovje, Hrušica, Plavški rovt or Planina pod Golico. The Alpine dairy, offering home-made dishes, is popular with mountaineers on their way to Dovška Baba or Golica. There is a beautiful view of the valley at the bottom of Hruški vrh, well protected from winds, with large herds of animals grazing and a yellow pool amidst the dark green spruce. Green-blue darners and 20-cm big dragonflies fly around, carefully observing people.
Medji dol is a rather deep and enclosed valley, leading to Belščica and Stol, passing mountain pasture Seča. The path starts at the junction with the path behind Pristava, leading past water reservoir and the spring of Javornik and then up to the mountain pasture with a unique view. The Julian Alps have been encouraging us all the way, but we didn't notice them. After passing a big sinkhole, called Ride, we reach a karst plateau Belščica. It is so vast that we cross it with a special respect, particularly when the well-known Karavanke wind starts to blow.
Potoška planina (1.270 m)
We started to wonder how old Potoška planina is only when we wanted to know where the inhabitants of Ajdna were farming. Let us assume that they were farming on this mountain pasture although there is no real proof for that. They were grazing sheep and small cattle, milked them and made cheese. Together with the iron ore, they were digging somewhere on the slopes of Stol, this mountain pasture helped them survive. Although the inhabitants of Ajdna have long been gone and ironmaking has moved to the valley their Alpine-dairy spirit should be kept on the mountain pasture as long as possible.
Planina Stamare (1.400 m)
In winter tour skiers are the only visitors while in summer this mountain pasture is lively, offering many an Alpine-dairy speciality. Although there are no bellwethers heard in winter, calling the flock to gather around, Finžgar's shepherd boy can be heard, calling the sheep by their names and constantly complaining about the »damn sheep«. How long will the mountain pasture still be able to resist the forest remains unknown.
Vajnež (2.104 m)
Vajnež is in western Karavanke. It is about one thousand metres above the late - Antiquity settlement Ajdna. Legend has it that people from Ajdna were buried in gold and silver coffins at the place where the Sava and the Drava can be seen at the same time. That is at the top of Vajnež between Stol and Belščica. Many a person has been looking for gold and silver in vain. However, on bright, sunny and hot days in August those who are able to see by heart and soul will be able to find golden and silver leaves of our Carniolan ragwort above the graves.
Natura 2000 is a European ecological network of protected areas, defined by the Member States of the European Union. The project purpose is to preserve biotic diversity by protecting the habitants of endangered animal and plant species. In 2004 the Government of Republic of Slovenia defined Natura 2000 areas in Decree on special protection areas. 15.6 % or 1,179.78 ha of the territory of the Municipality of Jesenice is Natura 2000 area. A part of the territory of the Municipality of Jesenice is covered by three areas.
Natural bridge on Mežakla
Natural bridge on Mežakla is an interesting natural phenomenon, caused by water and uneven disintegration of rocks of various resistance. It is right below the northern edge of Mežakla, at the border with Triglav National Park where a limestone ridge forms an elegant arch of a bridge across a ravine. It is about 15 m long, 8 m high and 3 m wide. A marked footpath along the northern edge of Mežakla leads all the way to the bridge.
On the eastern slope of Mežakla, there is a mighty rock which juts out of the beech forest. Legend has it that this unusual and well-defined shape of the rock has been named after a cruel and cold-hearted noblewoman who could have saved the life of a peasant when he was attacked by a beast, but had chosen not to. There is a steep path from the village of Kočna na Poljanah leading to Poljanska Baba. In less than an hour you will reach an obelisk, which is about 4 m tall towards the slope and as much as 8 m towards the valley. You can climb to the top and enjoy a beautiful view.
Meteorit z Mežakle
On 9 April 2009 at 3.00 a.m. some inhabitants of Carinthia in Austria and the Upper Sava Valley in Slovenia were woken up by scary rumbling noise. The Jesenice fire-fighters who were on duty in those early hours because of a forest fire noticed a bright trace in the sky which appeared above the Karavanke and then disappeared behind Mežakla. About 300-kg meteoroid entered the atmosphere on 9 April at 02:59:45 CET at the speed of 15 km/s. During its 4-second bright path through the atmosphere the meteoroid fell into several smaller fragments, which was confirmed also by eyewitnesses. Three pieces (996.8 g, 361 g and 256.4 g) fell on Earth.
Two magnificent waterfalls roar close to the rest areas for horses by the present day road to Javorniški rovt but they are often overseen because of the sound of the river. They are to the right of the road and when we find them we are astonished by the work of art done by two masters in very distant ages: tufa, which has been depositing since the Ice Age, is shaking hands with dolomite of Triassic origin - about 230 million years ago. Moss on the edges seems like a heavy plush curtain surrounding a light satin one. But you can admire this and much more only after heavy rain.
Vintgar in slap Šum
Vintgar is a majestic and wild gorge, made by romantic and dangerously rushing Radovna, its deep bed, cut into rocks, green pools and magnificent waterfalls, at some places falling more than 20 m deep. The Radovna is still a crystal clear river, rich in fish. It is protected and fishing is not allowed. The gorge changes from season to season. In spring we can admire its lush greenery and clear waters while listening to birds singing. In hot summer it is fresh and cool. In autumn the colours are the most attractive. In winter it changes into a fairytale, not accessible and dangerous and closed for tourists.
Soteska potoka Dobršnik s slapovi
In a secluded, wild ravine leading from Hrušica to Hruščanaka planina seven waterfalls are hiding, however, only two are easily accessible. Channels, waterfalls and pools are strung like on a necklace. The prevailing dark grey limestone is decorated by calcite threads and the waterfall has the biggest collection petrified treasure of ancient seas in Slovenia. Petrified tunnels, made by sea worms, shells and snail shells bear witness that these rocks are about 240 million years old.
Source: TIC Jesenice