The stone forest is an exceptional karst phenomenon. The karst landscape of Bela krajina is thus also characterised by large stones of wavy and rounded shapes sticking out from the ground. They are observed in areas where water has washed away soil from carbonate ground. These large pieces of limestone that stick out to the surface usually also reach quite deep into the ground. Such a “stone forest” can be seen on the hill above Vrtača near Semič, a little over 1km in the direction from Semič towards Jugorje.
The stone forest has been preserved at Vrtača as people did not remove it with technical interventions, as they usually do in flat areas. Stones were once removed mainly from fields, meadows and pastures to make the farm work easier and allow farmers to increase their modest arable land areas.
These rugged rocks are somewhat reminiscent of pyramids and cones. We can see rock ridges, as well as several-metre-high solitary hills. The remains of ancient rudist shells are even visible on some of the stone forest rocks. However, if you free your imagination, you may see something completely different than stones. An interesting experience is also the view of these rock sculptures in the twilight.
Nowadays, the locals make sure that nature does not overgrow this natural landmark. They are assisted by sheep grazing on the rocks.
Can you imagine that the soil in this place used to be a whole metre thicker? We are persuaded here that erosion in non-overgrown or felled areas relentlessly carries away the fertile soil.
Another special feature of the karst landscape are the stone paths, where patches of meadow and smooth rock blocks intertwine. The farmers used to use them to take their cattle to pasture and watering places. They are found at various ends around Semič.
A walk through the Semič greenery is always full of interesting surprises!