The Neanderthal flute in Divje Babe cave, Source:

Neanderthal flute-famed Divje Babe cave goes digital

Neanderthal flute-famed Divje Babe cave goes digital

Slovenian parliament has approved EUR 243.5 million stimulus package for the struggling tourism sector

Cerkno region in Slovenia has much to offer tourists – from the Archaeological Park Divie Babe and Franja Partisan Hospital, a European heritage site, to the top-class Cerkno ski resort, the winter Laufarjia festival and a web of hiking and cycling trails in summer, not to mention the irresistible local cuisine, available in all seasons.

World’s oldest musical instrument

To enhance the visitor experience, local tourist organization Laufar Cerkno has obtained funding worth EUR 59,000 (excluding VAT) for the digitization of three units of the region’s immovable cultural heritage, STA newswire reports. Among the improvements, a digital display will be installed in the Divje babe cave, where archaeologists discovered in 1995 what came to be known as the Neanderthal flute.

The unique find, the femur of a young cave bear with four artificially made holes, is the subject of an unflagging scientific debate centred on the claim that this is humanity’s oldest musical instrument.  

New holiday vouchers

The digitization funding announcement comes on the heels of a EUR 243.5 million emergency bill that the Slovenian parliament passed on Wednesday to aid the tourism industry and other sectors most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The legislation greenlights EUR 20 million extension of the short-time work scheme for all sectors and the introduction of a new voucher scheme worth EUR 192 million.

The new vouchers (EUR 100 for adults and EUR 50 for under- 18s) can be used in accommodation facilities, restaurants, bookstores, theatres, and for concerts or sports activities. Both the new and the old accommodation-only vouchers which were introduced on 19 June 2020, have to be spent until the end of this year.

Cost refunds and fee waivers

Subsidies for 2021 holiday allowance will also be allocated to the tourism, hospitality and events industries, as well as for the sports and culture sectors. Legislators also approved cost refunds for event organisers and producers of audiovisual works until the end of the year, and waived fees for water rights due by swimming pools for the first half of 2021.   

Ski lift operators, whose facilities had to close for a time during the 2021 ski season, will also get aid to offset some of their losses. The opposition in the National Assembly has qualified the new measures in support of the most affected sectors as belated and insufficient.  

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