A Polje and a River

Planina Polje – Planina karst field – is a classic example of this geological feature – a flat-bottomed depression over which a river Unica slowly meanders from its emergence from the Planina cave towards the sinkholes at the other end of the field.

Kite aerial view towards the southern end of Planina polje

Last time we were here flying kites the field was flooded – the sinkholes can’t take all the water when the snow is melting or after serious rains, and the field becomes a lake.

River Unica

These regular floods prevent serious agriculture – you can’t plant anything in the soggy soil and the floods would destroy the crops anyway – so most of the Planina karst field is a pasture, and all the settlements are perching on the solid ground at the edge of the field.

The village of Planina hugs the solid ground above the field

As people do not bother this ecosystem much, it is exceptional – the whole Planina Polje is included in the Natura 2000 network and is protected as a landscape park. Endangered flora and fauna abound and it’s a must-visit place for a traveler with a thing for an unspoilt nature.

The river Unica is a part of the karstic wonder – the river of seven names that begins its flow at the Croatian border, sinks underground, emerges again and sinks again, and repeats that until it reaches Ljubljana marshes and ends its voyage in a confluence with river Sava. Unica is the penultimate apparition of this amazing river; it goes underground for the last time at the sinkholes at the northern end of Planina Polje. Unica is also a premium fishing spot, one of the best in Slovenia!

Unica springs from a cave at the far end of Planina polje

The village of Planina was once a thriving settlement of furmani, the cargo coach drivers who ruled the road from Trieste and Rijeka to Ljubljana and beyond. The great southern railway completed in 1857 destroyed the business, and the place endured quite a hardship … The quiet village is only now slowly becoming a part of the tourist trail – the starting point for the exploration of the wonders of Planina Polje.

All kite aerial photos shot with Canon A810 on a Rokkaku kite.

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