Podpeč Limestone


National University Library, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Local native name

Podpeški marmor

Year designation



Limestone with organic matter, and white in colour due to the pure low Mg calcite (sparite) in fossil bivalves.


Dark-grey to nearly black contrasting with white fossil shells

Geological settings

Mesozoic – Early Jurassic – Pliensbachian – Lithiotis Horizon; Dinaric Carbonate Platform


SW of Ljubljana, Podpec (main quarry)

National University Library, Ljubljana, Slovenia

A black and lustrous limestone with white litiotid shells from Slovenia

The Podpeč Limestone constitutes a part of the essential built heritage of the country and an important aspect of Slovene national identity. Its utilization was first documented during the Roman period in Slovenia. The Romans in Ljubljana (Emona) used Podpeč Limestone primarily for pedestals, thresholds, sink covers, cloaca covers and probably pillars in atriums. Known manufactured products include funerary stelae, votive altars, boundary stones and other artefacts. At the end of the 5th century AD, with the decline of the Roman Empire, stone-cutting ceased at Podpeč for many centuries. Towards the end of the 19th century Podpeč Limestone became better-known. During the first half of the 20th century significant stonecutting workshops were established in Podpeč. The internationally renowned Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik (1872–1957) used Podpeč Limestone in various Slovenian buildings. Important buidlings, some of them at UNESCO Heritage List, or declared as monuments of local or national importance: Parliament, City Hall, National and University Library, the first modern skyscraper in Sovenia (Nebotičnik) and Central Stadium in Ljubljana. Large numbers of buildings in Ljubljana and central Slovenia have sills, lintels and jambs manufactured from Podpeč Limestone. It has also been used for various artefacts in many churches in Ljubljana, and numerous monuments and fountains are also known. Production ceased in 1967.

National University Library inside, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Slovenian parliament, wall cladding with Podpeč limestone indoors, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Sabina Dolenec