what is the RED KARST?

You would certainly remember visiting Stone Henge in the UK, but you could be forgiven for not knowing if you were in the county of Somerset, Dorset or Wiltshire at the time! 

And it doesn't really matter much to tourists whizzing around London if they are technically in Sussex, Surrey or Essex, cos they are visiting one of the coolest cities on the planet!

It is exactly the same for visitors to Green Slovenia.. You might be in the Alps one day or hiking in the forest or by the coast or in the Postojna Cave, Piran or lake Bled the next, but for us tourists, it is ALL Green Slovenia!

this is why we call it Green Slovenia Baby..
this is why we call it Green Slovenia Baby..

 

Somebody, sometime, must have come up with the catchphrases Costa del Sol in Spain and Cote d'azur in France.. which turned out to be the perfect marketing names to describe exactly what you are gonna get when you go to the sunny Spanish coast or the Blue Coast of Nice!

Well, 15 years ago when we first set our eyes on the greenest, most naturally beautiful country we had ever seen in Europe, it was not very tricky to come up with the monkey simple term GREEN SLOVENIA to describe it all!

And "Green Slovenia" is what we have been calling it and banging the drum for ever since.. so guests will know EXACTLY what to expect when you come here!

the Pivka river connects the 17 Disappearing Lakes of Pivka in Green Slovenia..
the Pivka river connects the 17 Disappearing Lakes of Pivka in Green Slovenia..

 

If you went to a hardware store and bought a tin of Green Slovenia, you would not be disappointed to find it is packed full of waterfalls, crystal clear rivers, forests, mountains, vineyards and secret valleys.. 

You could also take a colour chart from the very same hardware store and see EVERY shade of Green here as soon as you walk out the door as the colours here are simply off the scale!

even an ex brickworks lake can look this stunning in Green Slovenia..
even an ex brickworks lake can look this stunning in Green Slovenia..

 

You see, Slovenia is absolutely covered in Green stuff.. It is the 3rd most forested country in Europe with green hills and deep valleys covering an area 13 times larger than Greater London, but with only 2 million people.. even the rivers, lakes and sea here are completely different shades of green too!

It is hard to imagine a greener country in Europe.. See what you think when you finally visit Green Slovenia?!

this is why we call it Green Slovenia Baby..
this is why we call it Green Slovenia Baby..

 

And when you do finally come, you will notice Green Slovenia also sits pretty in the centre of Europe, with a familiar little bit of everything that is beautiful about Europe in one tiny package!

Speaking geologically, even France only has Alpine, Continental Europe and Mediterranean zones, whereas Green Slovenia is the only country in Europe to have all these 3 geologies AND the Pannonian Plains too!

This is why we call it Green Slovenia Baby..
This is why we call it Green Slovenia Baby..

 

When you also consider Slovenia has 7 completely different wine regions and is the European capital of the Karst, with all those amazing caves you might have heard about.. well really, there can be only one name to call it all.. Green Slovenia.. job done!

So Green Slovenia really does what it says on the tin!

So with your permission, now we can move onto our next mini mission and a little bit of fun to have a go at introducing the term Red Karst into the language of tourism for Green Slovenia..

In such a small country with a population less than Greater Manchester you would be surprised how unnecessaily overcomplicated stuff can get here..

Hike the st James Path in Green Slovenia..
Hike the st James Path in Green Slovenia..

 

The local lingo is almost impossible to learn, (we are still trying really hard) and to pronounce (we are still trying really hard) and even some Slovenes don't seem to understand each other's numerous local dialects!

The alphabet is littered with J's, K's, S's and Z's hiding all over the place in the words and some letters even have little wiggly worms on top!

Actually as a visitor you are pretty much shielded from all this confusion as the language of tourism here is English.. but you do still have to tackle the place names to get around here and this can be stressful enough!

Do not be surprised on a bike ride up a mountain to find bees in Green Slovenia, making the best honey you can buy..
Do not be surprised on a bike ride up a mountain to find bees in Green Slovenia, making the best honey you can buy..

 

You can get lulled into a false sense of security with easy, cuddly names like BledKamnikTolmin and Piran.. then the difficulty level goes up a bit with LjubblyjanaBohinjBovec or Postojna and then hits the red buzzer alert, with places like PtujCerknicaZice or Ajdovscina, giving you very little chance of saying them successfully!

Does it really matter if you visit Stone Henge and not know you are in Wiltshire? Of course it doesn't! (One thing NOT to forget though..  those big stones are WELSH)!!!

the massive Dragon's Crater sits at the base of the Red Karst..
the massive Dragon's Crater sits at the base of the Red Karst..

 

Little old Slovenia is also carved up into bigger regions too, with names like Primorska, Dolenska, Gorenjska, Zasavje or Savinjska to name just a few and you really don't need to know them to get around..

So it is kinda enough for you to know you are in Green Slovenia and today your adventures will be in the Lakes or the Alps or the Coast

a typical Red Karst Tapas board with Teran wine and freshly squeezed apple juice..
a typical Red Karst Tapas board with Teran wine and freshly squeezed apple juice..

 

Consider it a nice bonus whilst jogging around if you do get to learn a few names and maybe some more info like there are 4 Alps here, or lakes Bled and Bohinj are in the Julian Alps and the Lodge is located near mt Nanos, the start of the Dinaric Alps!

Maybe you will remember a few of the unique wine names after trying a drop or two and hopefully some of the place names will also stick like the Soca river or the Planina cave and Jeruzalem certainly might stay in your noodle for some other reason than it is stunningly beautiful!

Terracotta rooftop view across the Red Karst, which is also greener than you might think..
Terracotta rooftop view across the Red Karst, which is also greener than you might think..

 

You may well never forget a special cave or river experience here, but easily lose the name, so we would say it is more important to show respect for the local language by having a go at a few key words like Hvala ( said Hervalla) for "thanks" and Prosim for "please" and maybe Lep Dan for "have a nice day" and Dober Dan for "Hi"!

FINALLY we will come now to the whole point of this article and that is we have come up with a really simple, handy, memorable and good name for one secret region that you would almost certainly want to visit, once you know a little more about it!

 

So what on Earth is the Red Karst?

We completely made this name up to help you with navigation!

To explain how we came up with the idea for the term Red Karst, we must first briefly explain what the Karst is and then what the Green Karst is..

OK so KARST is a massive geological term you won't be surprised to know was created in Slovenia (then Carniola and part of the German speaking Austrian empire), but refers to ALL types of this geology anywhere in the world.. boy does little old Slovenia pack a big punch!

Unique organic Teran sparkling wine is made by hand here in this Red Karst winery..
Unique organic Teran sparkling wine is made by hand here in this Red Karst winery..

 

Karst rocks are mainly leaky limestone covering about half of Green Slovenia.. Over millions of years these have been eroded, moulded, shaped, sliced and diced by water, creating all those amazing caves, disappearing lakes, underground rivers and sinkholes you might be excited about seeing here..

So the Karst pretty much IS Green Slovenia with over 15,000 discovered caves and more than 30 show caves for you to enjoy all over the place.

Just one of the many sensational caves you have never heard of is the nearby Divaca cave in the Red Karst..
Just one of the many sensational caves you have never heard of is the nearby Divaca cave in the Red Karst..

 

A large conglomeration of the most amazing disappearing lakes and caves are found in a beautiful Green area between the Mediterranean coast and Ljubljana in South West Slovenia, called the Green Karst!

So the name Green Karst kinda makes sense doesn't it, cos everything really is so Green around here!

Vines grow outside the pretty Red Karst town of Komen..
Vines grow outside the pretty Red Karst town of Komen..

 

Lipizzaner Lodge is very handily located at the sub Mediterranean tip of the Green Karst, just around the corner from all those warm coastal and Mediterranean wine valleys, the Slovenian Riviera and Italy..

Nanos, (1,313m), is the mountain that dominates our back garden view and this huge lump of rock is a logistical gateway that the Romans, Jason & his Argonauts, lots of other armies and now even YOU have to go around to get to all these amazingly different mini regions!

the Lodge is just over the other side of Nanos mountain, seen here covered in snow as a fab autumn vista from the vines of the Red Karst..
the Lodge is just over the other side of Nanos mountain, seen here covered in snow as a fab autumn vista from the vines of the Red Karst..

 

One of those little mini regions that you might have heard of is also one of Green Slovenia's incredibly beautiful 7 wine regions, directly on the other side of Nanos and known in it's own right as the Vipava Valley..

So the Slovenian Karst area continues from Nanos into the Slovenia's Mediterranean zones down towards the coast and also stretching west to Italy in a region locally known as the TERAN KRAS..

Amazing view across 2 wine regions, the Teran Red Karst AND the Vipava valley to Mt Nanos from Stanjel hill top village..
Amazing view across 2 wine regions, the Teran Red Karst AND the Vipava valley to Mt Nanos from Stanjel hill top village..

 

Teran is the name of the unique local red wine produced in parts of this region and although the soil is also red, even this sunny Mediterranean region is very green in colour too!

For want of a better name in English, you could just translate & use Teran Karst or even the Teran wine region, but there are a couple of little problems with doing this..

Stanjel in the heart of the Red Karst..
Stanjel in the heart of the Red Karst..

 

Firstly, the Red Karst as we now call it, is a lot bigger than just the Teran wine bit and secondly, a lot of visitors will also not even know what Teran wine is until they get to try some.. if at all.. 

Here now are some of the fantastic "other" bits of the Red Karst where you will most certainly be offered Teran as your house wine, but are NOT up in the hills in the main Teran wine producing areas and are actually even closer to the Lodge!

How about the formidable Skocjan Cave, or the home of the Lipizzaner horses Lipica and a whole host of other Karst secret goodies, such as the Vilenica Cave, Dragon's Crater, the Divaca Cave and lovely Lokev and some really great new walks we will be writing up soon are ALL in the Red Karst!

Stanjel hill top village, capital of the Red Karst..
Stanjel hill top village, capital of the Red Karst..

 

The Red Karst region is characterised by a very thin layer of red soil that was formed over millions of years by leaves dropping from trees and turning gradually into soil on top of the white Karst rocks..

It is this red Karst earth that helps give the local Teran wine it's stunningly beautiful deep ruby red colour and unique taste as the perfect companion to a plate of cheese and proscuitto!

There is also a strong wind that blows here when the warm Mediterranean air meets the Alpine air, called the Burja and these bursts of cool air are used to air dry the proscuitto here to create Teran Prsut, the perfect companion to a glass of Teran wine!

It could not be greener here in the Red Karst..
It could not be greener here in the Red Karst..

 

So it is more than fair to say the Red Karst does have a RED theme and strong identity built around the Red wine produced here..

The Teran wine region is a very beautiful place to explore.. It really does differ in look from it's Green Karst neighbour..

Every spare patch of fertile red soil in the wine growing part of this red region is covered with those unique Teran vines and the Red Karst is littered with pretty sun soaked villages, tall white stone churches and Terracotta tiled rooftops.. lower down by the white horses there are lots of big, wide fields, separated by long low walls made from those beautiful white Karst rocks..

steps to the secret Divaca cave in the Red Karst..
steps to the secret Divaca cave in the Red Karst..

 

As you leave the white Karst stone walled pastures of Lipica and Skocjan, the Red Karst then heads up past Sezana into the narrow red wine hills and cute villages squeezed in between Italy and the Green Vipava wine valley..

The capital of both the Teran wine region and the Red Karst is the very pretty and almost unknown Stanjel, sitting majestically above it all on top of a hill, with a castle and really fantastic views of it all!

So the soil is red, the wine is red, it's neighbour is the Green Karst, but it is also a large chunk of Slovenia's Karst.. So why don't we all just call it the RED KARST? Job done!

a typical hike in the Red Karst with red soil, white Karst rocks and thick forest..
a typical hike in the Red Karst with red soil, white Karst rocks and thick forest..

 

You won't find this name in any guidebook or map for a good few years yet, but if the name catches on and makes thing simpler for visitors to understand the differences between regions here in the sunny south West of Slovenia then it must be a good thing! 

Well done for battling to the end of this little Red Karst blogette.. we hope there really is a handy point to it all for you and maybe now you can get excited about a daytrip into the Red Karst!

if you would like to read a bit more about the Teran wine region, we have also now renamed our Secret Place to Visit "Teran Kras" page as the Teran Red Karst wine region..

Pop into a Red Karst restaurant for a glass of Teran and some prsut with cheese..
Pop into a Red Karst restaurant for a glass of Teran and some prsut with cheese..

 

The most important thing is you now know this secret region exists, whether you call it the Red Karst, Teran Kras or just Kras and it has unique wine, Lipizzaners, huge caves, secret castles and is most certainly worth a day or two of your valuable hollibubble time!

Email: info@lipizzanerlodge.com

Address: Landol 17, Postojna 6230, Slovenia

Phone: +386 5620 3443
Mobile: +386 40 47 0239 or +386 40 37 8037

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