Slovenia’s Witches From Mt. Slivnica
Slovenia’s Mt. Slivnica, which overlooks the small town of Cerknica, is today a popular hikers destination. But according to local legends, it has long been a meeting place for witches who flew here on broomsticks from Klek in southern Dalmatia, Croatia.
Even the great 17th century polymath Janez Vajkard Valvasor wrote about witchcraft in the area. It was believed that in the Coprniška jama cave beneath the peak the witches cooked up lightning and thunderstorms that they played havoc in the valleys below.
Scientists now know that thunderstorms in the area are the result of moist, unstable air moving in from the Adriatic. But for centuries, the locals tried to stop the storms by scaring away the witches. There was even an attempt to seal off the cave. Unfortunately, the plan backfired as the rock that would have closed the entrance instead rolled down the hill and towards Cerknica, almost crushing a home.
Mt. Slivnica (named also the Mountain of Witches) is 1114 meters high; it is located north of the Cerknica field and east of the Lake Cerknica. A witch cave is located under the top of Slivnica.
Witches are out for the Cerknica carnival
These days, the witches are no longer quite as feared in the Cerknica region as they were in the past. Further more, every year a parade prominently features the witches of Slivnica, who have become something of a local brand.
If you want to see the Cerknica witches parade, visit Cerknica winter carnival ( 20. 2. – 26.2. ) and join the dance!