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The Hubelj River

A lively body of water, the Hubelj River springs forth from under an overhang uphill of the town of Ajdovščina. Consecutive heavy rainfall causes massive amounts of water to spill over from three subterranean caves with curious names such as the Great Kitchen of Hubelj (Velika Hubeljska Kuhinja), Spider’s Web (Pajkova Mreža) and the East Hubelj Cave (Vzhodna Hubeljska Jama). The highest point from where the water spouts out is at 249 m. From here, it’s just a skip and a hop down to the bridge on the local road 40 m lower. In those periods, the source of the Hubelj is rumbling, sending sprays of water flying all around. This spectacular scene draws throngs of visitors.

In its upper reaches, the Hubelj River has a distinct alpine character with a pebbled river bed and steep descents, which is quite uncommon in the Vipava Valley. Littered with rocks and pools, and occasionally crammed into a narrow canyon, this part of the riverbed is quite striking. The educational Ob Hublju Nature Trail leading from the town to the spring was set up on the river bank. A few kilometres downstream, the Hubelj River discharges into the Vipava River on a plain next to Ajdovščina.

The water of the Hubelj is of superb quality, which is why it has been supplying potable water to the Vipava Valley for well over a century. However, the river was used as a power source for much longer than that. The high discharge of the Hubelj River gave rise to the development of industry back in the 16th century. The most telling witnesses of the industrial heritage are the restored ruins of the ironworks close the Hubelj’s source. Successful ironwork operations and the early industrial heyday significantly marked life in the Vipava Valley, imbuing it with a rich technical culture that remains integral to the valley to the present day.

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