Walking through the magical Postojna Cave it’s hard to grasp that the spectacular geological formations took millions of years to emerge, or for that matter that some 36 million people have visited the cave in just under 200 years, including more than 150 heads of state and royals. Walking around the Postojna Cave and Karst Exhibition Pavilion (or just EXPO), and engaging with its interactive displays gives you the opportunity to really understand geological time and the processes which created the cave and broader Karst region (or Kras in Slovene) as well as explore the diverse history of the cave. Especially good for kids (who are we kidding, it’s fun for everyone), visitors to the EXPO can turn nobs and push buttons to see how different caves, stalagmites and stalactites form in different conditions, as well as step into specially designed spaces recreating the dark and cold conditions of the caves. The exhibition space itself is actually designed to get lost in, mimicking the feeling of exploring the caves.
The rich history of the caves are also on display, with archaeological discoveries including one of the oldest instruments ever discovered, revealing that Neanderthal once sheltered in the Karst’s caves. There is also an exhibit of life in the Karst with information about peculiar cave dwelling animals on display including Postojna’s famous olm or ‘human fish’, whilst fossils found in the region tell us that it was once also home to woolly rhinos. The modern history of Postojna Cave is fascinating in its own right, signatures inscribed in its walls show that people have been visiting it since the 13th century, though it officially opened as a tourist attraction in 1819 with the first visitor through the cave being the Austrian Crown Prince Ferdinand. Since then Postojna has been a pioneer of cave tourism: its railway dates back to 1872 - look out for the installation, where you can experience what it’s like to drive a train through the cave; it's home to the world’s oldest underground post office; and it got electric lights before Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana, when Emperor Franz Joseph visited the cave in 1883.
The idea of showing off Postojna’s rich and diverse history including a trove of fascinating memorabilia has been in the works for years, with the EXPO only coming to fruition in 2015. And may we say it’s a fabulous addition to Postojna - brilliantly designed, highly interactive and excellently curated, is engaging and informative, enriching a trip to the caves and shedding light on everything from geology and biology to history and popular culture - plus there are discounts on Postojna Cave + EXPO bundled tickets.