Hrušica (Ad Pirum), the forgotten Roman stronghold, the medieval castle of Predjama and the spectacular Pivka cave
Ad Pirum was an ancient Roman stronghold, active during the time of the late Roman Empire (from the IIIrd century on). The size of the central hill fortress situated at the altitude of 858 m was about 250 m long and 75 m wide with walls at a height of 8 m and a thickness of about 2 m; the wall towers were 10 m high. This structure represented the core of the “Julian Alps gate” or Claustra Alpium Iuliarum, a network of forts and walls erected to secure the province Italia from eastern invasions.
The road between the major metropolis of North-East Italy Aquileia and Iulia Emona (nowadays Ljubljana) passed through it.
The impressive ruins, vestiges of the incomparable productive force and overpowering Roman military genius are testimonies of an eclipsed political superpower in its golden age, have been invaded by the forest and recently reclaimed by men.
The encampment enclosure was the residence of legionaries on duty (typically manned with 500 soldiers the fortress could accommodate up to 100,000 soldiers) as well as an operative postal station where fresh horses were available. If you are willing to have a ten minutes’ walk on the ruined wall, come to see the secret narrow passageway that permitted the soldiers to escape in case of an assault.
Continue the tour with the excursion to the iconic Predjama castle, built inside a cave in the middle of a rocky cliff. The original (much smaller) stronghold was the hiding place of a famous robber baron Erasem of Predjama(the romantic equivalent of Robin Hood on Slovenian lands) who opposed the hegemony of the Habsburg imperial court from Vienna. Only he and his companions knew about a secret shaft permitting them to exit from the cave, perpetuate their plundering raids and bring their booty to their rocky nest: throwing an entire roasted pig from their hiding place and eating early cherries from the Mediterranean valleys when their besiegers were suffering cold and hunger in front of the unconquerable walls. Find out the end of knight Erasem’s story and pay homage to him near the 500 years old linden tree which was (so the legend says) planted on his grave by his beautiful mistress of course.
Finally you can choose between the visits of the world famous but rather touristic Postojna cave, or if you prefer a more authentic speleological thrill, come to see the Pivka cave (the continuation of the Postojna cave, being part of the same underground water system of the Pivka river). The above mentioned cave has a dramatic shaft entrance (65m deep) and is in some perspective even more charming because of the close vicinity of the underground river.
Specifics of the visit: length 1900 m, electrical lightening, exit from the Black cave and return by foot on the surface, timing: 1hour.)
Excursus: the above mentioned system of protective walls (limes) could be compared (due to its size and extension) with the more famous Hadrian wall on the north of England. The mighty rests of the imposing military buildings brings to the mind some still standing Roman town doors like the Porta Nigra in Trier end evokes the deeds of an awesome battle of the Frigid River (Frigidus) fought in 394 between the army of the Western pagan ruler Eugenius and his nemesis the christian Eastern Emperor Theodosius, which took part in the Vipava valley not far from the fortress of Ad Pirum. With the victory of Theodosius christianity has ultimately prevailed and became the sole state religion of the Roman Empire.
- Ancient Roman fortress Ad Pirum immers in the forest
- Scenic Predjama Castle
- Pivka or Postojna cave