Once, a vodenjak (vodnik or topielec, a name applied to Slavic spirits of water) was roaming the village of Lokve, and with its looks he scared away the children and adults, thus making people fear of the Big Water. At the same time, on the rooftops of local sawmills, lived Malik, a small dward in green coat and the red hat. He was keeping the sawmills’ fortune intact, while Pancikul, a small man with horns and goat legs kept safe the most precious thing in Lokve attics – dried pork meat.
In Lokvarka creek, which was running through the village, little candles were visible when someone in Lokve died. They vanished when a Holy Mass in honour of deceased was served. Lokve has its own giant as well. Polnočnjak was 14 metres high, dressed in black coat, with hat, and lived in Golubinjak woods. If the children were not in the house after the evening bells from the Saint Catherine church, Polnočnjak would take the children and they were never to be seen again.
Lokve is full of these mystic characters from the old times and folk tales. The place was mentioned first time in the beginning of 15thcentury, along the estate of the noble family Frankopan, on the way to the sea ports. The real revival of Lokve took place in 1805, when Louisiana Road connected Karlovac and Rijeka. Along this vital road people started to build houses, mills and sawmills, and the place was soon one of the major wood industry centres. Today, this municipality form places Lokve, Mrzla Vodica, Zelin Mrlovodički, Homer, Sopač, and once inhabited Podtisovac and Lazar Lokvarski.
Louisiana Road was in its time one of the most modern paths in the country. It was named after the Napoleon’s wife Maria Louisa. It is 136 km long and was a real revival of all the highland villages. Part of the Louisiana, between Lokve and Mrzla Vodica, is now under the water – from 1952 until 1954 Lokve got its artificial Lokve Lake. Under the water went 69 houses, four sawmills, two inns, a patisserie, and a chapel.
The nature in this part of Gorski kotar is simply stunningly beautiful. The locals say they offer tourism above and beneath the horizon. It means the beauty is not only visible on the ground, but also in the underground, in the vast number of caves, among which Lokvarka Cave stands out. This is one of the most beautiful and one of the biggest caves in Croatia, found by accident in 1911.
The visitors can see four out of six underground galleries, and descent 75 metres. The cave is more than 270 metres deep. The galleries are full of stalactites and stalagmites, and especially appealing is the Cathedral Gallery, with height of 16 metres. The cave keeps its temperature on 8 degrees throughout the year. Apart from Lokvarka, Lokve has at least nine other caves, making it a superb day-out for speleologists.
In Lokve you can enjoy the Lokvarsko Lake, relax in Golubinjak Park Forest, and try local specialties in several restaurants and inns. Above all else, this is a picturesque place for family relaxation in local-style wooden and stone houses.