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At the northern edge of the Triglav National Park, not far from the village of Podkoren, surrounded by the peaks of Vitranc and the Karavanke mountain range, the young river Sava Dolinka has chosen a place to spring from the ground in all its glory before it begins to wind its way through Slovenia. Its second cradle is covered in rare, or even unique, plants and is also home to some extraordinary animal species. This cradle is called Zelenci.

This nature reserve is named after the pool at the western end of the wetlands, whose waters are noted for their blue-green colour, thanks to layers of lake chalk. This is the remnant of a once much larger lake, created after the last Ice Age.

Water springs at the bottom of the pools in Zelenci look like small volcanoes.

Zelenci has always been admired by those who appreciate and enjoy beauty. Sir Humphry Davy, the famous English scientist, was among those who fell in love with this blue-green eye of the Upper Sava valley. “He was a frequent visitor to the area. He famously said that there is nothing more beautiful in Europe than the Sava valley,” says Nina Peternel, from the Local Tourist Organisation at Kranjska Gora.

Sir Humphry Davy stayed at Pr Čošelnó Homestead in the village of Podkoren several times.

This rich and picturesque landscape has attracted numerous painters, including Ladislau Benesch. Today, Zelenci is an inspiration for photographers. According to Nina Peternel, Zelenci is very “photogenic”; it is almost impossible to take a bad photo here.

At sunrise and sunset, the pools of Zelenci show their magical image. The idyllic scenery with Ponce mountain chain in the background.

However, the beauty of Zelenci is not only superficial. It hides tiny treasures, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world, or which are extremely rare: wetlands plants, such as the highly endangered slender sedge and brown beak sedge, and two carnivorous sundew species. It is also home to various endangered animal species, mostly amphibians, and numerous, also rare, bird and insect species.

The emerald lake is surrounded by wetlands named Drni. This is a unique ecosystem; only a few of this kind have remained in Slovenia.

It is interesting to note that despite the harsh winter conditions in this area, Zelenci does not freeze.  The water has a permanent temperature of 5-6°C throughout the year.

Since 1992, Zelenci has been designated as a natural reserve. There is also a themed route which is suitable for families. Above all, this is a little bit of paradise where people can find peace and quiet.

Photos: LTO Kranjska Gora


Kolodvorska ulica 1B

4280 Kranjska Gora

T.+386 (0)4 5885020

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