Info Center and souvenir shop
NEW IN MEŽICA – ADVENTURE PARK AND KARAVANKE GEOPARK INFO CENTERS
At the end of May we opened a new info center of the cross-border Karavanke/Karawanken Geopark in the tourist mine and museum Podzemlje Pece.
Excavation of lead and zinc ore, exploitation of coal and development of iron foundries in Karavanke region began more than 350 years ago. Over the centuries of mining and ironworking many interesting stories were coined which are still preserved today. This important heritage is collected in the tourist mine and museum Podzemlje Pece in Mežica, the Carinthian Regional Museum in Ravne na Koroškem, in Leše, Črna na Koroškem, Obir Caves, Železna kapla/Bad Eisenkappel, Globasnica/Globasnitz and many others. Thanks to this rich cultural, geological, natural and technical heritage, we could start developing geo-tourism as much as 20 years ago.
In order to further develop geo-tourism and include other providers, we decided to follow the example of European geoparks and established the Karavanke/Karawanken Geopark, a cross-border geopark in this area. It includes 14 municipalities in both Slovenia and Austria.
In 2013 our geopark became a member of the European and global network of geoparks under the auspices of UNESCO. As part of the Karavanke Geopark and Adventure Petzen/Peca projects, which are co-financed by the Fund for European Territorial Cooperation from the Operational Programme Slovenia Austria, we have already established new infrastructure which is important for the development of tourism.
Among others we opened two new info centers, in Železna kapla/Bad Eisenkappel and Mežica.
Info Center in Mežica gives significant added value to the Karavanke Geopark as it is the central point or the heart of the geopark. At the same time, it is also an important additional offer of the tourist mine and museum in Mežica. It is a place where we can welcome all visitors of the Podzemlje Pece museum and try to fascinate them with all the interesting facts and information about Karavanke Geopark.
The multi-purpose area allows us to organize various events, from exciting workshops for children to exhibitions and other social events. Multiple screens display information and videos about Koroška, Geopark or our offer. Snacks are available as well as authentic souvenirs.
The main purpose is to preserve important parts of the mining heritage in Mežica, such as electro-mechanical workshops which are protected as a cultural and technical monument.
The workshops feature a fully preserved smithy, which was built in 1926 and created as part of a larger industrial complex. Apart from the smithy, it also included a tool sharpening facility, electro-mechanical workshop, office, lavatory, oil pantry, carpentry workshop and a large warehouse. The smithy remained at the original site with the majority of tools still preserved. During the reconstruction, we considered all the elements of the technical heritage and upgraded it with modern accessories, while at the same time trying to maintain the link to traditional mining elements. On special occasions we invite a blacksmith to demonstrate the work in a smithy and forge tools that were used by miners.
The original building was damaged by fire. As it was reconstructed, the original image was not restored, since it featured a flat roof instead of a stepped industrial roof. During the last renovation, we re-build the original stepped roof and arranged the interior for the needs of the Info Center. On special occasions we invite a blacksmith to demonstrate the work in a smithy and forge tools that were used by miners.
Next to the Info Center, we arranged an outdoor area which serves as a unique Adventure Park. It is intended for all visitors of the tourist mine and museum, especially for those who do not visit the caves and are waiting on the surface. In the Adventure Park you will learn that this area was once roamed by dinosaurs and find out more about King Matjaž and why he is sleeping under the Mount Peca. A special climbing wall shaped as a mineral is waiting to put your climbing skills to the test. The Adventure Park also features a display of restored mining machines.
We are looking forward to your visit.
Mag.Suzana Fajmut Štrucl, Tadej Pungartnik, uni….