17 October 2016

Sauntering in Slovenia: Anthony Mine Shaft in Idrija

The day after we went to Tolmin, we decided to explore the other side of the area. Tolmin was west of where we were staying in Ajdovščina, so this time, we went east to Idrija. Idrija happens to be a famous town due to mercury mining. In fact, UNESCO granted World Heritage status to Idrija, due to the importance of its mercury mines, together with Almaden, Spain.

The Anthony Mine Shaft is a living museum, because it actually allows you to visit the mines deep underneath the village. There is a map illustrating all the tunnels that existed underneath the town, and it is amazing how big the network is. You won't expect such a massive tunnel network stemming from the small building, where everything originates. This entrance is actually built back in 1500.

The tours are guided, and only in specific times. So you should plan your arrival so that you could join a tour. It takes 1.5 hours long, and you will learn a lot about how mercury was mined, how the village relied on this trade, and how the village evolved as mercury mining became out of fashion.

I don't have plenty of good photos. It was took dark inside and I don't have a good camera. Nevertheless, the tour features hard hats, jackets, and plenty of tunnels. It also has a relatively good chemical component, as I learned a lot about the properties of mercury, which is one of the more peculiar and interesting elements out there. I have to say that there is a certain allure to quicksilver, and how a metal can be liquid in room temperature.

So yeah, by all means visit Idrija. It is a very interesting and informative town.


  1. Neat! That's pretty unique.

    1. Zhu,

      It is definitely unique. And something educational. I am sure children would also enjoy the tour, but as adults, I also enjoyed it because it was something new to learn, and something that isn't immediately obvious when you're visiting this part of the country.