Caves in Bulgaria
Duhlata Cave lies on the right bank of Struma River in the southwestern part of Vitosha Mountain. This is the longest cave in the country (17 600 m). It is also 53 m deep and comprises a sophisticated six-level system of chambers, tunnels, underground ponds and waterfalls. Its abundance of cave formations and its proximity to Sofia, the country’s capital, make Duhlata one of the most popular caves in the country. It was declared a natural landmark in 1962. Access to the cave is granted to experienced tourists and speleologists only.
The crocodile, the giant’s head, the elephant, Santa Claus, and the falcon… no, this isn’t the title of a novel by C.S. Lewis. These are the names of some of the most impressive rock formations one will come across in the galleries of Ledenika Cave located in Western Stara Planina (Old Mountain), some 70 km north of Sofia. The cave is 300 m long and has a total of 10 rooms. The Pond of Wishes is yet another thing that makes Ledenika a popular place of interest. The legend has it that if you dip your hand in the water and make a wish, it will come true. Ledenika Cave is extremely attractive in the winter when its walls are decorated with fascinating natural ice sculptures.
This is one of the most remarkable natural phenomena you will find in Northwestern Bulgaria. It is situated approximately 20 km away from the town of Belogradchik and the amazing Belogradchik Rocks and about 30 km south of Vidin, the biggest town on the Danube River in this part of the country. The pre-historic pictures drawn on its walls and the Fallen Pine, the biggest stalagmite ever discovered by speleologists on the territory of the country, are the cave’s two main attractions. The total length of the corridors and the rooms of Magura Cave is 2.5 km which automatically makes it one of the biggest in Bulgaria. Thanks to its favourable conditions, one section of the cave has been transformed into a wine cellar where the best wine produced in the region is matured.
Its enormous size and insanely beautiful chambers can be seen by everyone. The premiere of Sylvester Stallone’s new blockbuster The Expendables 2 is in 2012. You can’t find the connection between the two sentences? Well, let’s just say that Devetashka Cave is one of the main settings in the movie. Of course, witnessing the actual natural wonder with your own eyes will have a much powerful impact. So go and visit it. It is located in Central Northern Bulgaria, 15 km away from the neat town of Lovech. The cave is home to thousands of bats (I wonder why Batman wasn’t shot there) and is also the place where a huge collection of Neolithic artifacts was found. Those of you who wish to visit Devetashka Cave should keep in mind that it remains closed for tourists in June and July because this period coincides with the mating season of the animals that live there. Although it has been an official natural landmark since 1996, infrastructure is yet to be developed in the cave
It is a 10 km-long, 3-level cave which lies in the heart of the Western Rhodopes in Southern Bulgaria. The interior of the cave is adorned by many stalactites, stalagmites and cave pearls and some unique rock formations which remind one of Snow White and the seven dwarves, the Virgin Mary and Baby Christ Himself. The cave is open for visitors all year round and, interestingly enough, it is also a very popular spot for romantic weddings. Seriously, so far more than 100 couples have married inside this natural landmark.
Dyavolskoto Garlo Cave (the Devil’s Throat):
The Devil’s Throat is situated right next to the famous Trigrad Gorge and just a couple of kilometres away from Shiroka Laka Village, an architectural and folklore reserve in the Rhodope Mountains. Essentially, it is a pit cave where one can see the highest cave waterfall on the Balkan Peninsula as well as the Roaring Hall – a 110 m-long, 35 m-high and 40 m-wide cave chamber which has been carved by the relentless falling water. Many a legend was bequeathed to us by the ancient peoples who used to inhabit these lands thousands of years ago: the most popular one of all claims that the Devil’s Throat was the cave which led Orpheus to the Underground Kingdom where he tried to save his beloved Eurydice.
Bacho Kiro Cave:
Bacho Kiro near the town of Veliko Tarnovo is one of the most visited caves in the country. The first room, commonly referred to as the Antechamber, is of particular interest to explorers and archaeologists. Why? Well, during excavations there a huge set of precious artifacts dating back to the Paleolithic Era was discovered, that’s why. The peculiar karst formations resembling people and animals which can be seen in the other cave halls also attract the tourists’ attention but the most special feature of Bacho Kiro has to be the Purgatory – a small and narrow passage-way which is believed to let the righteous people through only.
Uhlovitsa, one of the oldest caves in the Rhodope Mountains, is situated about 40 km away from Pamporovo Ski Resort. It is home to some amazing coral-like cave formations (corallites) and probably the most striking Icefall found on the territory of Bulgaria. Every year around 3000 tourists cover the difficult route that leads to the cave just to marvel at their beauty. In the summer season Uhlovitsa is open for visitors seven days a week. During the rest of the year the cave is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
This is yet another breathtaking cave located in the Rhodopes. But it is not for everyone. Only those willing to climb the steep 830-metre-long eco path leading to it will have the privilege to witness its magnificence. The Udder Room, the Great Hall and the Music Hall are just a few of Snezhanka’s attractions while the rock figure of Snow White (Snezhanka) in the Magic Hall is the centerpiece of this museum of nature.
Photos by E.Bliznashka, D.Alexov, G.Kaneva