Hg Smelting Plant

From Ore to Mercury Drops

At the exhibition From Ore to Mercury Drops you will learn about a unique liquid metal and trace the development of smelting furnaces through five centuries. Your tour will end with a walk along the path of ore, where you will view the entire procedure of mercury extraction.

Good to know

GROUP tours are provided daily by prior arrangement. A DYNAMIC AND EDUCATIONAL TOUR lasting an hour and a half awaits you! Interactive and amusing WORKSHOPS are organised for school groups of various ages. The exhibition From Ore to Mercury Drops is accessible to VULNERABLE GROUPS.


Reflections of a Silver Era
With the help of experiments, animations, video films and devices operating on the basis of Hg, you will learn about and experience the significance of this unique liquid metal that has changed the world, as well as its universal applicability in science, engineering, industry, medicine, culture and daily life, from prehistoric times to the present day.

Mercury was used to treat diseases, extract gold, measure temperatures, predict weather, and produce the first photographs on glass. Without it, there would not have been any lavishly decorated Baroque mansions with large mirrors. It inspired numerous inventors of international repute, and many researchers received the Nobel Prize for their work with mercury. Experiments conducted with mercury laid the foundations of modern chemistry. And today we are using mercury in space exploration.

In the 1970's mercury was, due to its toxicity, gradually removed from use and replaced with environmentally friendlier substances and procedures.

Cinnabar, a durable pigment obtained from mercury, was preserved for milleniums in cave paintings, was esteemed by painters, and was also produced in Idrija for more than three hundred years. The production of cinnabar represents the beginning of the chemical industry in Slovenia.

The exhibition DEVELOPMENT OF SMELTING FURNACES THROUGH THE CENTURIES revives the memory of 500 years of arduous work by Idrija's smelters, who from generation to generation perfected the methods of smelting ore.

Owing to the exceptional significance of the mine, Idrija has for three centuries preserved the status of an »imperial« town. Experts from across Europe came to Idrija, where they designed and created innovations of European significance.

  • Suitable for: individuals, families, groups, school groups and vulnerable groups.
  • Tour duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Tours are conducted in four languages: SLO • ENG • ITA • GER
  • Along the Path of Ore – past crushing and sorting devices
    After visiting the exhibition, the lift will take you up to the highest level of the preserved ore separation plant – to the end-station of the freight cableway –, where you will retrace the path/route of ore from the extraction area to the smelting plant, past sorting and transport devices to the rotary furnace.

  • Suitable for: individuals, families, groups, school groups and vulnerable groups.
  • Tour duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Tours are conducted in four languages: SLO • ENG • ITA • GER
  • Tour Schedule

    11:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00
    - every day
    Guided tours of ore separation plant provided daily according to above schedule.
    Exhibition is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00 h (1st May – 30 September) and 10:00 to 16:00 h (1st October – 30 April).


    Anthony's Main Road

    Adults: EUR 10.00
    Seniors, students up to 26 years: EUR 8.00
    Children, secondary students: EUR 5.00
    Children 3-5 years: EUR 2.00
    Video presentation: EUR 2.00

    Hg Smelting Plant

    Adults: EUR 8.00
    Seniors, students up to 26 years: EUR 6.00
    Children, secondary students: EUR 3.00
    Children to 5 years: EUR 1.50

    Special 11% discount

    on purchase of a combined ticket (Anthony's Main Road + Hg Smelting Plant)

    Adults: before EUR 18.00 now only16.02 EUR
    Seniors, students up to 26 years: before EUR 14.00 now only 12.46 EUR
    Children, secondary students: before EUR 8.00 now only 7.12 EUR

    Center za upravljanje z dediščino živega srebra Idrija
    Bazoviška ulica 2, Idrija
    +386 5 37 71 142