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SLOVENIA - Postojna Cave (2010)

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   POSTOJNA CAVE (Slovene: Postojnska jama) is a 24,340 m long karst cave system near POSTOJNA, southwestern SLOVENIA. on the PIVKA river.
   The cave was first described in the 17th century by the pioneer of study of karst phenomena, JOHANN WEIKHARD VON VALVASOR, although graffiti inside dated to 1213 indicates a much longer history of use.
   In 1819, Archduke FERDINAND visited the caves, this is when the caves became officially known as a tourist destination. ČEČ became the first official tourist guide for the caves when the caves were opened to the public.
   Electric lighting was added in 1884, preceding even LJUBLJANA. In 1872, cave rails were laid along with first cave train for tourists.
   During WORLD WAR I, Russian prisoners of war were forced to construct a bridge across a large chasm inside the cave.
   During WORLD WAR II, German occupying forces used the cave to store nearly 1,000 barrels of aircraft fuel, which were destroyed in April 1944 by Slovene Partisans.
    After 1945, the gas locomotive was replaced by an electric one. About 5.3 kilometres of the cave system are open to the public (i.s.).


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