2 euro Slovenia 2013, 800th anniversary of visits to Postojna Cave
Subject of commemoration: The 800th anniversary of visits to Postojna Cave
Description of the design: The central image of the coin is a stylised spiral, which at the left side of the coin begins with inscription ‘POSTOJNSKA JAMA • 1213–2013 • SLOVENIJA’ and ends with two stylised speleothems. The spiral represents the length and age of the cave, and at the same time indicates the path that has led visitors into the cave for 800 years. The coin’s outer ring depicts the 12 stars of the European flag.
Number of coins to be issued: 1 million
Date of issue: February 2013
Postojna Cave, Slovenia's most remarkable natural sight and the most visited show cave in Europe is one of the most beautiful caves, and one of the richest in terms of cave formations or 'speleothems'. In prehistoric times people used the cave as a refuge. Later, the local inhabitants enjoyed showing visitors the cave's entrance passages and chambers, where they would sign their names on the calcite-covered walls and speleothems. Signatures discovered in the Passage of Old Signatures date from as far back as the 13th century. The very oldest of them is from 1213. This last signature is believed to have been made using charcoal, lead or red stone. A tracing of the signature was made by Alois Schaffenrath, who from 1825 to 1836 served as imperial and royal district engineer at the district government office in Postojna and was the technical director of the Cave Commission, the administrative body of Postojna Cave at that time. He also made 12 copper engravings (1830–1832), which served as an appendix to the bookTravellers' Guide to the Renowned Postojna Cave and the Cave of Crown Prince Ferdinand in Postojna, Carniola.
Organised visits to the cave are considered to have begun in 1819, when Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, became the first person to sign the visitors' book and visit the newly discovered sections of the cave. The development of tourism in Postojna Cave was rapid: railway tracks were laid in 1872 and the cave has been illuminated by electric lights since 1883.
Today Postojna Cave receives more than half a million visitors each year. To date the cave has been admired by more than 34 million people, who have carried its name and their impressions of it around the world.