The Geopark Karavanke is a crossborder UNESCO Global Geopark between Austria and Slovenia. It extends between two 2,000 meter high Alpine peaks: the Petzen/Mt Peca and the Koschuta/Košuta Massif.
The area represents both the characteristics of the Alps and the Dinarides.
The Geopark Karavanke consists of 14 municipalities connected and divided by the mountain range with the same name. The area is scarcely populated (53,000 inhabitants) – with a population density of 61.1 inhabitants/km2. The population of the area has primarily been influenced by the iron, mining and coal-mining industries that have transformed the former villages in valleys and foothills into towns.
The geological history of this area resulted in unique and interesting relief and numerous deposits of ore minerals, rare minerals and fossils. It is this rich mineral sources that resulted in a centuries-old mining tradition. Nowadays these mines attract the attention of many visitors and scientist, as some of them have exceptional, global scientific importance. The interesting geology is linked to beautiful natural landscape of forests, mountain meadows, and cliffs that are habitats of some endangered plant and animal species. The natural heritage is linked to many cultural heritage sites such as archaeological settlements and art heritage, chapels, crosses and wayside shrines, castles, historic heritage, technical mining heritage and ethnologic heritage.
The everyday customs and practices of locals in the Geopark area are only a part of the intangible heritage, such as oral traditions of fairytales, folktales and legends about King Matjaž, lakes, fairies called Žal žene and the St. Rosalia cave as well as songs and literature.
Highlights and Key facts
Rural Heritage Hub
The Rural Heritage Hub will be located in the Karavanke – Karawanken UNESCO Global Geopark headquarters in the bilingual municipality of Bad Eisenkappel/Železna Kapla. Meetings will also take place in the the municipality of Sittersdorf - St. Philippen/Šentlipš.