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History

For such a small municipality, Postojna boasts more legends and curiosities than you might imagine. The region is famous for several archaeological sites from the Palaeolithic era, the best known of which is undoubtedly the Betalov spodmol rock shelter, which you can visit yourself. Climb to the summit of Sovič – the mysterious hill in the centre of the town – or stroll through the oldest part of Postojna, the district known as Majlont, which lies just below the hill. The existence of a castle on Sovič is first attested in the mid-13th century. This castle was destroyed by fire in the late 17th century and replaced by a new "lower castle" or manor house in today's Tito Square (Titov trg) – where the Karst Research Institute is now based.  
Postojna – Piazza Dalmazia, postcard sent in 1936, source: Notranjska Museum Postojna, History Department
Postojna – Piazza Dalmazia, postcard sent in 1936, source: Notranjska Museum Postojna, History Department
The town's name has not always been Postojna. It is first attested in the 13th century as Arnsberg (later Adelsberg). The name went through several permutations before arriving at its definitive form. In the mid-14th century, for example, we find the form Postoyna. Interestingly, Postojna was originally defined as a market (15th century), and it was not until 1909 that it was granted town status. 

What do you know about carters and cart transport? The people of Postojna are still known as "carters" today, and the reason for this is to be found in the town's history. The development of cart transport was extremely significant for Postojna, thanks to its position on the trade route and main road (the "Mast Road") connecting Carniola to the Adriatic and Friuli. The road was later joined by a railway line, and the first train steamed into Postojna in the 19th century. The building of the Südbahn or Southern Railway and the coming of the train caused the decline of cart transport, but only as an activity, since in the warmth of their hearts the people of Postojna are still carters. The bygone days of cart transport are remembered every year at the Carters' Holiday (Furmanski praznik) in Postojna. 

The arrival of the train also meant the beginnings of mass tourism in Postojna. Tourists came to Postojna with one purpose – just like the majority of visitors today: to see the famous Postojna Cave. This was what made Postojna one of the most important tourist destinations in Europe at that time. Incredibly, in 1894 Postojna received seven times as many visitors as Bled and Lake Garda! Since then it has grown in importance in other areas too – as the centre of education and administration (including a law court) in the wider region, as well as its centre of commerce, culture and healthcare. Efforts continue today to further consolidate Postojna's status as a centre of international karstology and as a tourist destination.
Coat of arms of the Municipality of Postojna
Coat of arms of the Municipality of Postojna
White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)
White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)
Did you know...

... that the original name for Postojna derives from a German word meaning "eagle" (aro), so Arnsperg can literally be translated as "Eagle's Hill"

"Postojna" is also another name for the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), which once nested on Sovič and also appears on Postojna's town crest.

The name "Postojna" also has one further meaning – postojáti or postati means to stop for a brief time.

Photo Gallery

Postojna – The way to the Cave, source: Notranjska Museum Postojna, History Department
Postojna Cave – Concert Hall (1927), source: Notranjska Museum Postojna, History Department
Postojna – Piazza Vittorio Veneto, postcard sent in 1924, source: Notranjska Museum Postojna, History Department
Postojna Cave – The Ballroom, postcard, source: Notranjska Museum Postojna, History Department
Postojna – School; in the foreground, monument to Miroslav Vilhar, postcard sent in 1910, source: Notranjska Museum Postojna, History Department
Postojna Cave – Veliki Dom [Great Chamber] (1913), source: Notranjska Museum Postojna, History Department
Postojna – View from Sovič, postcard sent in 1917, source: Notranjska Museum Postojna, History Department
Postojna – Grand Hotel Adelsberghof, postcard sent in 1900, source: Notranjska Museum Postojna, History Department

See also