Municipal Museum

Top choice in The Julian Alps

This award-winning museum is housed in the hilltop Gewerkenegg Castle. The excellent collections, which deal with mercury, lace and local history (but, sadly, not žlikrofi) are exhibited in three wings centred on a beautiful courtyard, and an accompanying booklet guides visitors through the rooms.

Exhibits span rocks and fossils (and a bowl of mercury in room 3) to lifestyles of the miners and the growth of the town. Head down the steps of the Mercury Tower (room 7) to see the mining tools used, and also the lovely modern sculpture of mercury drops suspended in perspex.

Another highlight is the wing given over entirely to the bobbin lace (klekljana čipka) woven here. Check out the tablecloth that measures 3m by 1.8m. It was designed for Madame Tito and took 5000 hours to make.

The castle itself was built in the 1520s to serve as the administrative headquarters of the Idrija mine.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Julian Alps attractions

1. Gewerkenegg Castle

The castle was built in the 1520s to serve as the administrative headquarters of the Idrija mine. This award-winning Municipal Museum is housed inside.

2. Idrija Lace School


The Idrija Lace School was founded in 1876 (it's the biggest and oldest lace school in the world), and continues to offer lace-making skills to younger…

3. Anthony Mine Shaft

0.21 MILES

The mine is a ‘living museum’, allowing you to get a feel for the working conditions of mercury miners in Idrija. The entrance is the Anthony Shaft, built…

4. Miner’s House

0.32 MILES

Laid out across the slopes encircling the valley are Idrija’s distinctive miners’ houses. Large wooden A-frames with cladding and dozens of windows, they…

5. Kamšt

0.68 MILES

One of the most interesting examples of mining technology that still exists is the Kamšt, a 13.6m waterwheel made of wood that was used to pump the water…

6. Wild Lake

1.36 MILES

A 3km trail called Pot ob Rakah follows the Idrijca River Canal from the Kamšt (an 18th-century waterwheel used by the mines) to Wild Lake, a tiny,…

7. NašRaj

6.15 MILES

Describing this place as a farm just doesn't do it justice. This ecological farm, for want of a better word, sits almost 1000m above sea level around 20km…

8. Cerkno Museum

8.92 MILES

The town's museum is not far southwest of Glavni trg. Its main displays trace the development of the region from earliest times to the modern period, but…