Postojna Cave welcomes its 38 millionth visitor
On 9th November Postojna Cave reached another million in record time and welcomed the 38 millionth cave visitor.
A VIP visitor
Tomos Terfel from Wales reserved the day for a visit to Postojna Cave and the Predjama Castle, without having had the faintest idea the second day of his Slovenian holiday would make the trip. He had wanted to visit Slovenia for a long time, and this trip was a birthday present from his girlfriend Erin. Up until the moment when the millionth visitor was announced in Postojna Cave’s Concert Hall at the end of a regular cave tour, the 38 millionth visitor had not had a clue he was the lucky person Postojna Cave had been eagerly awaiting for several weeks.
“Waiting in ambush”
Morning of the big day in Postojna Cave was all about expecting a new millionth visitor, about preparations for the big event and the presentation of prizes, as well as a bit of nervousness. While one of their teams in the cave was setting up a stage, testing lights and ropes, another team was “lying in ambush” at the ticket office, waiting for the numbers to turn to the 38th million after just over a year. When it was known who the 38 millionth visitor was, the standard “cave stalking” began, i.e. one of the guides (undercover in plain-clothes) was secretly following the visitor throughout the tour. They could not afford the visitor leaving without the prize, after all.
A very special show
Since there are quite a few reasons to feel joyous this year, they decided the 38 millionth visitor should be celebrated with a cave show. In collaboration with the Magic Theatre Serpentes, the cavers made sure there were even more “wow” effects than usual – with special lights, jaw-dropping descents from the cave ceiling and showing up from the dark corners of the cave.
Something like Postojna Cave … for all seasons
As the prizes for the millionth visitors are always inspired by the cave, they felt they must reflect the cave’s diversity, magic and charm. During the event, Marjan Batagelj, Chairman of the Board of Postojnska jama d.d., the company managing the cave, pointed out Postojna Cave is wonderful in any season, just like Slovenia, adding we should feel happy there are four seasons in Slovenia and that we need to be able to offer Slovenia to visitors not only in the summer, but in other seasons as well.
“An excuse” to come back
The main prize for the 38 millionth visitor is therefore something the prizewinner can use in any season. Marjan Batagelj presented him with a weekend getaway in the Ski & bike resort Cerkno – the prize winner can decide to use it either as a relaxing getaway in the spa of Hotel Cerkno or a skiing holiday, or both. Cerkno is also a perfect choice for active holidays on a bike, even adrenalin loving downhillers are welcome here. The 38th millionth visitor was also presented with a glass olm and he enthusiastically admitted he could not believe this was really happening and that he was looking forward to “an excuse” to come back to Slovenia, when he might finally start skiing.
It is customary for Postojna Cave to also give prizes to the two “lucky losers” – the two visitors who visited Postojna Cave just before and just after the 38 millionth visitor. Both of them received an olm made of the world-famous Idrija bobbin lace and a Postojna Cave monograph. Together with the 38 millionth visitor, they also signed the Golden Book of Visitors, which includes signatures by the most distinguished visitors to Postojna Cave over the past 200 years.
Every visitor counts
They feel every visitor is special and they appreciate every single one. The sights that are part of the Postojna Cave Park (Postojna Cave, Vivarium, EXPO Cave Karst and the Predjama Castle) have this year once again recorded record-breaking numbers of visitors. On this day last year, they were at one million total visitors, while this year they are doing even better – 8.11.2017 the number of visitors to all sights combined amounted to almost 1,140,000, which is an almost 14% increase. It is anticipated that by the end of the year all sights within the Postojna Cave Park will record over 1,200,000 visitors, which is more than in the years before Slovenia’s independence, which was the most successful period in terms of the number of visitors. Each visitor contributes to Postojna Cave’s outstanding reputation spreading around the world and also to Slovenian tourism in general.
On the threshold of two-hundred years
Postojna Cave welcomed the 38 millionth visitor just before the year when the cave is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the cave’s most beautiful parts, which makes this an introduction to the year when they will pay tribute to the queen of caves. Throughout the year, Postojna Cave visitors will be able to take part in all sorts of events – small and spectacular. It took two million years for this stunning natural wonder, which has been dazzling visitors from all over the world for 200 years, to be created. During the year of celebrations and commemorations, they will bring together culture, art and entertainment.
Photos: Iztok Medja for Postojna Cave