Anthony's Shaft

  Arkova 43      +386 (0)5 377 11 42     more than a year ago
Anthony's Shaft - or Anthony's Main Road as it is sometimes called, as it long served as the mine's main entrance - is the oldest part of Idrija's unimaginably expansive underground world, which was once comprised of some 700km of tunnels. Located at the spot where the mine was initially dug in the year 1500, an 18th-century building called the Šelštev now serves as a living museum, education centre and entry point for tours into the mine itself, and is a must-see sight for those interested in Idrija's rich mining history.

Most visits begin with a screening of a short film (available in several languages) that gives a detailed history of the mine, from its geological origins to its discovery in 1490 by a now legendary bucket maker and the ensuing development and expansion of both the mine and town that occurred as a result. Special attention is paid to the lives of the hard-working miners whose sweat and blood made it possible, and prepares viewers for the journey they are about to embark on.

While the majority of the mine was backfilled before being officially closed in 1995, part of that still open has been set up for tours, which take visitors some 100m below the earth's surface and provide a firsthand experience of the conditions the miners worked under. One of the subterranean highlights is the 18th-century chapel of the Holy Trinity, with statues depicting the patron saints of mining, St Barbara and St Acacius. This is where the miners offered their prayers for successful work and safe return before entering Attem's Shaft and descending to a depth of 200m.

The tour lasts around an hour and a half, and once you're back up in the light of day there's a small gift shop where sadly you can't buy any liquid mercury (as this would be illegal), but you can ask to hold a small glass jar of the stuff they have behind the counter - be careful, it weighs a couple of kilograms!




Opening hours and days vary depending on the month. See website for full schedule.

Price/Additional Info

Admission €9, children €5.


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