Today, I will take you on an adventure that will unveil the mystery of the Grotta Gigante.
Nestled in the heart of the captivating Karts region, just a stone’s throw from the enchanting city of Trieste and near the town of Sgonico, known as Skocjan in Slovenian, lies an underground masterpiece that beckons adventurers from far and wide. Inspired by the rich history and culture of the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region, my family embarked on a journey through time and geology, exploring the mesmerizing Grotta Gigante, or the Giant Cave.
Measuring as the most extensive cave ever discovered in Europe, the Grotta Gigante’s vastness left us in awe. Our scheduled tour at 11 a.m. beckoned.
After a seamless registration process, we joined our fellow explorers in a petit museum-like waiting room. Here, our expert guide outlined safety guidelines, ensuring our hike would be both exhilarating and secure.
Clad in warm outwear, we descended into the womb of the Giant Cave, well-equipped for tourists, with walkways and lighting to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.
Now, a closer look at the cave itself,
This natural Giant Cave opened its doors to tourists in 1908. However, its discovery dates back to 1840 by Anton Friedrich Linder, an Austrian mountain engineer, who stumbled upon its grandeur while searching for underground water for Trieste. Excavations unearthed artifacts spanning the late Neolithic to the Bronze Age, Roman times, and the medieval period.
The cave was formed by the action of water on the limestone rock of the Karts region over millions of years. Kart’s landscape is characterized by sinkholes, underground rivers, and caves, which develop as water dissolves the soluble rock.
The giant cave represents a section of an ancient river tunnel, so calcified concretions have also started to grow, and numerous stalactites and stalagmites grace its cavernous embrace, growing at a leisurely pace of 1mm every 15-20 years. Among them, the “Roger Column” stands 12 meters high and was formed 200,000 years ago. A reddish hue imbues most formations as a result of iron oxide presence.