Obir Dripstone Caves
Nature of the Geopark Karavanke
The Geopark offers much more than geology. However, there is always a close connection with geology. It offers unique nature, culture, archaeology, a strong mining tradition and friendly chats with locals.
Nature in the Geopark area between the Koschuta and Hochobir, Olševa and Uršlja gora and Smrekovec and Košenjak mountains exhibits extraordinary biodiversity with numerous plant and animal species on the eastern border of the Alps. Several rare habitats have been conserved for centuries thanks to human persistence.
- The area’s botany is very important. Rock walls, screes, mountain meadows and a number of scattered marshes and fens are a refuge to numerous rare and protected plant species like the endemic Zois’bellflower, Kamnik orchid, Peca meadow oat-grass, paradoxical saxifrage, Wulfen’s primrose shares its name with the mineral wulfenite (after their common discoverer) as well as other rare and protected plant species.
- The Eastern Karawanken are an extremely important ornithological area because it is a mating area for the critically important grouses (the wood grouse, black grouse, ptarmigan and hazel grouse) and a nesting area for rare owl species (the Eurasian pygmy owl, boreal owl), woodpeckers (the black woodpecker, three-toed woodpecker) and birds of prey (the golden eagle, peregrine falcon).
- The water world of numerous source regions, fens and naturally conserved parts of water streams are of great biotic importance as reservoirs of clean water. Marshy habitats are among the most endangered and rapidly disappearing habitats in Europe, and the numerous animal and plant species that depend on these habitats are disappearing along with them. Within the area, there are a few extraordinary marshes, which are the last refuge of rare, endangered and protected plant species, for example: several rare orchids and important animal species, like stone crayfish, dragonflies, and butterflies. There are rare insects protected at the European level, for example dragonflies like the Balkan goldenring and green gomphid, ground beetle species Carabus variolosus, the butterfly species marsh fritillary, the scarce fritillary, the woodland brown, the scarce large blue and Jersey tiger.
- As there is an abundance of forests in the area, there are a large number of protected trees of extraordinary size or special symbolic value, for example the Najevnik linden tree.
Areas with nature protection status
Non-geological sites of the Geopark Karavanke
1. The Koschuta mountain, natural landscape
2. The Petzen/Peca mountain (Krischakar)
3. The Matjaž cave
4. The Najvenik linden tree
5. The Dravograd lake – an ornithological reserve
6. The Uršlja gora mountain
7. Dolga brda – wetland
8. Belska Kočna – nature reserve
9. Korte – nature reserve
10. The Valley of Death, Žerjav
11. Topla nature park