Discovery of the gorge
This ravine in the immediate vicinity of Gorje, approximately 4 km north-west of Bled, was discovered by Jakob Žumer, the Major of Gorje, and the cartographer and photographer Benedikt Lergetporer in 1891. The natural form of the gorge was impassable, but was soon arranged and opened for public due to the tourist development of Bled which took place already in those days. Due to its natural beauty, Vintgar was classified among the more important tourist sights in Slovenia and the number of visitors increases every year.
The 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge carves its way through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills and is graced by the Radovna with its waterfalls, pools and rapids. The educational trail leads you over wooden bridges and Žumr’s galleries, and ends with a bridge overlooking the mighty 13 m high Šum waterfall.
The Vintgar gorge also includes two man-made sights. The single-arch stone bridge of the Bohinj railway, constructed in 1906, which crosses the gorge 33.5 m above the trail, and the dam from which the water is routed to the small Vintgar hydroelectric power plant under the Šum waterfall.
The origin of the name
To one interpretation, the name Vintgar originates from German Weingarten (the vineyards in the nearby Podhom), whilst the other interpretation says that the gorge section reminds on the wine glass. Following the example of Bled's Vintgar such names were also given to other similar gorges in Slovenia (Iški vintgar, Ribnica vintgar above Srednja vas in Bohinj, Bistrica vintgar).
Due to the particular climate and micro relief conditions the Vintgar gorge represents a home for numerous plant species, which differ from the vegetation characteristic for the surrounding area. The amateur botanist and priest Janez Šafer was the first to pay attention to these plant species. His list of plants of the Vintgar gorge was published by Ivan Godec in his article in the ""Dom in svet"" magazine already in 1899 and later on also in the booklet ""Vintgar, Slika iz gorenjske Švice"".
The Bled's Vintgar leaves an impression on every visitor. Its steep depths, vertical walls, rapid river beneath, vegetation and the largest waterfall in Slovenia are all intended to impress.