Bilpa Caves

Bilpa caves are located on the border between the municipality of Kostel and the municipality of Kočevje. Above the caves rises the Bilpa wall, which Valvasor named the wall of echoes. In it, nature has shaped various human, animal and superstitious characters. Bilpa consists of four caves, the last of which was discovered only in 1983. The entrance to the caves is in a wall about 30 meters above the road, it is 8 meters wide and 6 meters high. Immediately behind the entrance to the caves is a long hall, which is quite charming, in it are various stalactite formations. In this work, archaeologists have found several objects that prove that this area was inhabited in the ancient past.

Traces of strong water currents can be seen at the entrance, the interior is of younger origin, as there are many parts where the cave is beautifully lit. Inside, there is a snow-white wall, above which is a 60-meter-high fireplace and a white siga, which “overflows” underfoot in small waterfalls. Remains of once functioning frying pans are also visible. Inside, many inhabitants of the underworld found their home, from a colony of large horseshoe bats, cave locusts, butterflies and spiders to cave wetlands.

Below the 80 meters high wall there is a 6 meters deep lake, where the river Rinža originates, which is the main river of Kočevsko polje and is a typical karst sinkhole. Below Kočevje, it sinks into the gullets in the riverbed and flows underground into the Bilpa spring, 11.5 kilometers away.

The Bilpa smithy, also called the Werderber smithy, named after its owners, lies on the border of the former lordships of Kostela and Poljan. To this day, the old way of making forged products has been preserved, which visitors to the smithy can also see. This is a smithy that has been operating since Austro-Hungarian times. It is the only water wheel in the Kolpa valley. The smithy is alive now. Owner g. Rudi is now in his eighties and can no longer do as much as he used to when he worked regularly at the blacksmith shop and continued the tradition after his father. The blacksmith’s products of the Werderber smithy were known far and wide. They made axes, hoes and the like. Lately, he has been demonstrating only to visitors and showing them how the smithy works. The products are made under a hammer, the madmen call it homesteads. He pounders the hammer with incredible force, under which a skilled blacksmith forms an iron.

The legend of the devil in Bilpa 

Bilpa is a village along the Kolpa. Above the village is a cliff, and below the cliff is a devil’s foot in the rock. The people of Bela krajina say that Matej, a tailor who once had a hut full of hungry children, once lived in Bilpa. When hunger hit the hardest, the seamstress, embraced by all the hardships, swore, “Damn hunger and children!” He had barely uttered this when the devil himself had already dug into the byte from under the cliff. “You called me, here I am!” He growled, squinting his green eyes at the astonished tailor. “Who are you? The devil gave you. .. «the tailor now stammered in fear. “If you are God’s – help! But if you’re the devil – get out of here! The harvest was invalid, my children are hungry, and there is no one to bring my bragging or handkerchief to work. I could easily cut both of them for him, I would sew his clothes for a handful of flour! ”“ Hmm, ”the devil muttered. “You’re really going hard. I know, you can’t drive hunger out of a byte, neither blindly nor ugly. But if you sew brages and a handkerchief for me, I’ll bring you so much flour that it will be enough for all the children. ”“ Nothing easier than that, ”said the seamstress. “I don’t know if that’s really the case,” the devil muttered. “Sew my dress tight so I can wear it as long as you live in this byte.” “Nothing easier than that,” the seamstress repeated. “When the Kolpa grows for the first time, come and get what you promised.”

It rained that night and the Kolpa flooded the banks. In the middle of the night, the devil whispered into the tailor’s byte. He had a large bag of flour on his hump. He placed it on the floor in the middle of the room and moaned, “You have flour here. In seven years, it will be enough for you and your children! ”Then he began to force the seamstress to give him a brag and a handkerchief. But Matthew, do not be lazy, opens the mint, unties the sack and pours the flour into it. With an empty sack in his hand, he stands in front of the devil and says, “Oh, the goods are damn strong! I’ll sew your braces and handkerchiefs right out of this bag. First of course the pants. Just step into the bag to tailor your heels. I calibrate the height, I cut the step, and they will come out of the sack, so that you can stand in them like hell! ”

The devil was a fool, but he jumped into the sack. The tailor, who was not made of flies, pulled the devil’s sack over his head and tied it over his horns. Now he had a living devil trapped in a saddlebag. He quickly baked bread from the flour for the hungry children, after which the well-fed Bilparci grabbed a bag with the captured devil at dawn, carried it to the cliff and built it into the hollow. But the devil is the devil! Damn his power! Barely had the hollow been walled up, he slipped out of the sack, crashed into a rock, and rolled it all over. Even today, there is a deep hole there. He grabbed a giant stone and slammed it with hellish force against the seamstress’s byte. However, because he did not hit the byte and the stone crashed over the Kolpa, he got angry and jumped from the cliff to the ground. But he landed on the rocky ground with such force that he crashed to his ankles into the living rock.

At that time, a branch bell rang in nearby Laze. Hell, the hellish power was gone, so he couldn’t move anywhere. He started yelling for help. Tailor Matej came with a sieve of deco. When they saw how and what, they returned for the crepe, and then beat the devil to crush him into stinking hair. So went the devil in the snowshoes washed away by the Kolpa… Šivavec’s grandson is still in Bilpa today. He set up a smithy by the Kolpa, and shows the curious a devil’s hole on a cliff and a devil’s foot on a rock.

Published on: June 4, 2021  -  Filed under: Sightseeing EN - Osilnica