LIFE13 NAT/SI/000314


Published on 27. 1. 2015 under Kočevska

Kočevska is located in the southeast part of Slovenia. It is a distinctive and dynamic Dinaric karst terrain with numerous karst plateaus, karst fields, low-lying hills, valleys, ridges and all other karst features. The exact boundaries of the area characterized by great natural diversity, remoteness and sparse population are difficult to determine. Kočevska also cannot be included in any of the well-known Slovenian regions. It is regarded as a kind of subregion, due to its precious natural heritage that represents an asset of European significance. We can certainly say that the heart of Kočevska is the Municipality of Kočevje, which is also the largest municipality in Slovenia.

The Municipality of Kočevje with its entire surface area is joined with the unicipalities of Kostel and Osilnica and partly with the municipalities of Ribnica, Loški potok, Sodražica and Črnomelj.

Opinions about the borders of Kočevska are divided, in particular because the majority of Kočevska area coincides with the Natura 2000 area. Kočevska (106.809 ha) is the largest area of Natura 2000 in Slovenia.

The landscape consists of high karst plateaus of an altitude of 1200 m (the highest peak: Goteniški Snežnik 1289 m) and karst fields of up to 500 m. The sub-region is bordering in the south and the north by deep valleys of the Kolpa and Krka River respectively. The relief of the Kočevsko polje is full of bends and sink-holes formed by a typical karst underground stream, the Rinža River. The turbulent flow of the Kolpa River in the south sets the border with the neighbouring country of the Republic of Croatia.

Typical features of the Kočevska region are a rather heterogeneous climate with above-average rainfall increasing with the altitude, and temperature extremes, due to Dinaric-Pannonian type of continental climate.

About 90 % of Kočevska is covered by mighty forests which are among the most naturally conserved parts of Slovenia as well as Central Europe. A valuable asset is the conserved remains of virgin forests in high karst ridges, which represent the largest unmanaged forest reserve in Slovenia. The best known are the Rajhenav virgin forest and the Krokar virgin forest . Outstanding natural features and biodiversity of Kočevska are confirmed by 1084 units of natural heritage that are recognized as of national importance.

Kočevska is characterized by a very diverse (karst) surface and underground river network. Water drains into the Sava River and its tributaries Krka and Kolpa. The karst river network covering the majority of the area consists of a number of springs and sinkholes, as well as partly superficial and partly underground streams. The area has always evolved in a very special way due to its remoteness and lack of soil fertility of typical karst landscape and former post-war political reticence. Gottschee Germans left a distinct historical mark on the area which is today largely manifested in the form of many abandoned villages, the majority of them already overgrown with forest.

Today, the area of Kočevska represents an asset of European importance. The wealth of forests, clean environment and attractive natural sites are a good basis for the development of highly sustainable tourism, based on the harmony of man and nature and respect for natural resources and the legality of the area.

V gozdu, arhiv Občine Kočevje

V gozdu, arhiv Občine Kočevje