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Kras (Carso in Italian), also called the Classical Karst or the Kras Plateau, is a limestone borderline plateau region of southwestern Slovenia extending into northeastern Italy. It lies between the Vipava valley, the Vipavska brda, the most westerly part of Brkini hills, Gulf of Trieste and a short part of Italian state border between the Gulf of Trieste and the Vipava River. Its western border is an old ethnic border between Italians and Slovenes. The region is famous as the inspiration for the geological term karst topography.

The plateau rises quite steeply above the neighboring landscape, with the exception of the southeastern side, where the steepness is less prounounced. The plateau gradually descends from the southeast to the southwest. On average it lies 334 metres above sea level. Because Kras steeply descends towards the Adriatic Sea (see: Kraški rob), it is less exposed to the beneficial climatological effects of the sea. The main vegetation in the past were oaks, but now are pine forests. Forests now cover only one third of Kras.

Kras is famous for its caves. In Slovenia, they include Vilenica (the oldest tourist cave in the world), Lipica cave, Divača cave, Kačna cave, Postojna cave and Škocjan caves (UNESCO world heritage site), while in Italy there is the Grotta Gigante (the biggest tourist cave in the world, with a special horizontal pendulum that measures the ebb and flow effect of the moon on the earth).

Most of Kras is located in Southwestern Slovenia on an area of 429 square kilometres, and has a population of about 19,000 people. Kras as a whole has exactly 100 settlements. The town of Sežana is the center of Kras on the Slovene side of the border; it is where the poet Srečko Kosovel was born. The main rural centers are the settlements of Divača, Dutovlje, and Komen. Štanjel is a picturesque nucleate settlement at the top of the northern rim of the plateau; its houses are tightly clustered around the Turn hill, giving it the appearance of a medieval city.

Natural conditions, including the bora (burja) wind, and the local way of life all shaped the elements of Kras architecture, creating simple but well-defined forms. Kras is widely known for its wine, named teran, and prosciutto. One of the main tourist centers in the area is Lipica, with horse stables (the home of the Lipizzan horse breed) as well as other tourist facilities.

Olive trees show a marked preference for calcareous soils, flourishing best on limestone slopes and crags, and coastal climate conditions. They tolerate drought well, thanks to their sturdy and extensive root system. Olive trees can be exceptionally long-lived, up to several centuries, and can remain productive for as long, provided they are pruned correctly and regularly

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Nikon D50
2007/02/09 14:03:52.9
Compressed RAW (12-bit)
Image Size: Large (3008 x 2000)
Lens: 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 G
Focal Length: 18mm
Exposure Mode: Manual
Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern
1/125 sec - F/5.6
Exposure Comp.: 0 EV
Sensitivity: ISO 200
Optimize Image: Custom
White Balance: Auto
AF Mode: Manual
Flash Sync Mode: Not Attached
Color Mode: Mode Ia (sRGB)
Tone Comp.: Normal
Hue Adjustment: 0°
Saturation: Normal
Sharpening: Medium high
Image Comment:
Long Exposure NR: Off

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Additional Photos by Miuky Sakamoto (miuky) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 443 W: 48 N: 610] (3335)
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