Usually, we know more about places on the other side of the world than places that are near us. So in this blog, I write about a site near my home – reconstructed mine.
Litija is the oldest mining settlement in Slovenia as the surface mining goes back 800 a.d. Later, they started mining below the surface. In a recent history, there used to be a large mine there with 33 floors of mining tunnels spread over a large area. The mine was closed 50 years ago due to a lower price of metals in the market and health problems of the miners. Although the mine was closed, it is still dangerous to walk on the hill below which there was a mine as it is possible to step into collapsed mining tunnels.
A part of the mine has now been reconstructed and transformed into a museum. First tours were organized in December and we of course went. The tour was really fun! We saw old equipment, an old cart which was used to transport rocks from the mine, rocks, and minerals which were found in the mine, and wooden beams which supported the tunnels. We saw a movie about the mine while drinking hot tea or some schnapps. The hot drink was really welcoming as in the mine there was a constant 10°C. The mine is also a home to bats and there was one bat hibernating on the ceiling near us.
We learned that the work in the mine was hard. Because that was a dry mine, there were small pieces of stone dust flying around when drilling new tunnels thus lung diseases were common. Miners got each a piece of meat for the lunch, but the bread they had to bring by themselves. They were paid better than in other factories nearby, but the work was that much harder.
Currently, one tunnel is open for visitors. In future, they plan to open 500m of additional tunnels, some of them in the lower levels of the mine. I must admit I’m really looking forward to also seeing those!