The Jewish House (Judovska hiša) cave proves that the Semič area was inhabited eleven thousand years BC. You can see it in a very special karst cave Jewish House near Stranska vas village. The cave is located not far from the Pero’s mill. The path to it leads across the bridge by Pero’s mill and then slightly uphill through the forest above the Krupa.

The Jewish House is the only known site from the Early Stone Age in the Bela krajina region. Its inhabitants were then engaged in picking fruit and hunting, as evidenced by the finds of stone tools and bones of various animals. The cave was also used as a shelter in the earlier periods of prehistory.

The entrance to the cave is large and open, so visitors feel as if they have stepped into a basement house. Over the millennia, the stone walls in the cave have been furrowed and reshaped by water. The spacious hall in this cave gave the ancient inhabitants a very good shelter. Today, it offers shelter to bats (the lesser horseshoe bat) that reside in hidden and twisted cracks on the ceiling.

The mystery of the name Jewish House remains unsolved. According to oral tradition, unknown strangers, dressed quite differently from the locals, stopped in this cave a long time ago. These seemingly different foreigners may have been called Jews by the locals, and the name has survived to this day. One possible explanation is that the term “Jew” once meant pagans or non-Christians to simple ignorant people.

Not far from the cave, a nice small haystack was set up as part of the Misterion project. It serves as a spot where you can relax on the way along the Karst Educational Trail, or as a classroom in nature, where you can listen to the words of a tourist guide.

Exceptional archaeological finds, such as cave paintings or a bone flute, have not been discovered by archaeologists at the Jewish House. But who knows—the deeper layers of the soil may be hiding another surprise!


Foto: Uroš Novina, Jan Kocjan