The caves and dramatic limestone scenery of the Slovene karst have attracted visitors for centuries. The great stalagmites and roaring underground rivers were seen by relatively few people at that time but many of them did record their experiences in diaries as well as in print. These are used in the book, which is a result of a long-time collaboration between an English historian of speleology and a Slovene historian, to describe what they saw and what they thought about it, with contemporary illustrations by contemporary artists and photographers. Modern tourism derives from the tours led by Thomas Cook who first came to Postojnska jama in 1868. Music in that cave has a very long history for dancing or concerts. This is only one example of the relation between caves and people as a constant theme in this book. Altogether the 39 chapters describe, for example, the problems facing all travellers in pre-railway days and point out that one of the very first women to explore difficult caves did so at Škocjan. Also touched upon is Darwin’s interest in Slovene cave animals and a lot more.HB, 464 PP. By Trevor Shaw and Alenka Cuk. 2015.
Table of content
1 The Karst
2 Karst rivers on early maps
3 Did the Argonauts go underground in the Slovene karst?
4 Some very strange “plans" of caves (c. 1750)
5 Travelling to the karst
6 Inns in the karst
7 Visiting biologists
8 Proteus and man (and Darwin)
9 Speleothems from Slovene caves for sale, study and display
10 Mass-produced images – leporelli, trade cards, postcards and medals