CAVES OF SLOVAKIA
Every year, magnificence of caves attracts a number of tourists from all over the world. Here, beauty of dropstone and ice forms is recorded by the power of nature in all variety of their coloring.
There are more than 4000 caves known in Slovakia, however, only 12 of them are open for visiting.
Liptov and its caves
As far as Liptov has invaluable wealth in its geographical reserves represented by its caves, this region is called Liptov Karst. Territory of Liptov offers tourists 3 caves open for visitors. Besides a big number of unapproachable caves, Liptov Karst is rich on various karst formations and abysses.
Northern side of the Low Tatras where Demänovská valley is situated forms Demänovsky karst. Here you will find Demänovsky cave complex whose length is 25km. Demänovská valley opens 2 caves for public access where you can have a walk.
Demänovská Cave of Liberty
Demänovská Cave of Liberty is one of the most beautiful and surprising caves in Europe, and by the way, the most frequently visited. This cave is situated in Demänovská valley, namely, on the northern side of the Low Tatras (National Nature Reserve Demänovská valley) between the ski resort of Jasna and the city of Liptovsky Mikulas. In average, 150-175 thousand people visit this cave each year.
Cave of Liberty was discovered in 1921. In the year 1924 it was open for visiting and observation. Entrance to the cave is situated at a height of 870m above sea level, and a comfortable path leads to the entrance.
The cave was created under the influence of waters of the rivers Zadna vodaand Demänovka whose waters created underground spaces in the karst massif. The cave is a complicated system of corridors, grottos, underground halls with rich dropstone decorations. Flowing side corridors face horizontal layers of the cave. Apart from stalagmites and stalactites, wonderful stone waterfalls, there are small lakes located here that have unique dropstone surface resembling leaves of water-lilies, as well as pearl spreading and many other wonderful details, that are on its bottom. Dripstones are represented in a wide range of pink, wide and red tinctures. You can’t turn your eyes from charming waterfalls and columns. In this cave, namely in the Big Chamber, you can see a big layer of white, soft tufa – “Moon milk”.
The lowest cave holds underground bed of the Demänovka river. Total length of the Liberty cave reaches 8126 meters, but only 1800m are open for visitors. It is situated at a depth of 120 meters. Excursion program in the cave of Liberty is divided into two circles – a small and a big one. Length of the small circle is 1200m and it takes about 60 minutes; the bigger one is 2200m long and takes about 100 minutes to get acquainted with.
The Cave of Liberty is nominated with the status of National Natural Landmark. Since the year 1933, speleotherapeutic and climatological procedures have been conducted here.
Demänovská Ice Cave
Demänovská Ice Cave is situated only at the distance of 3 km from the cave of Liberty. The cave was opened for visitors in the 80s of the XIX century. From the total length of cave corridors of 1975m, 650 meters are open for observation. The cave is situated at a depth of 57m. Entrance to the cave is in the Basta cliff (northern side of the Low Tatras). In upper corridors air temperature is stable and reaches + 5 Ñ. However, the lower you descend, the lower the temperature is (on the lowest layers – below 0). Average air humidity is 92-98 %.
History of Ice Cave goes back to the Middle Ages which is proved by inscriptions and paintings on the walls. In the cave archeologists have discovered bones of cave bears that disappeared from the Earth’s surface more than 15 thousand years ago. The cave was formed under the influence of underground flow of the Demenovka river. Its first name sounded as Dragon’s Cave. This name is directly connected with the bears’ remains found here that were mistakenly named dragon’s bones.
Lower part of the cave is represented by ice formations. They appear in spring as a result of snow melting when water seeps into the cave. Here the water freezes creating wonderful, powerful ice pillars.
The cave consists of three levels; their formations have mostly oval shape that was created under the influence of the river.
You can see permanent ice in the lower part of the cave which is called Kmeta. It is represented with stalactites and stalagmites, ice pillars and floor of one-piece ice. Original mineralogical formations can be seen only in some places of the cave, as in some parts covered with ice they were exposed to significant cryogenic destruction. Sinter deposits vary in color from black to grey. These colors they gained as a result of illumination with paraffin lamps and oil burners that were used till the year 1924.
Dobšinská Ice Cave
Entrance to Dobšinská Ice Cave which is also called “ice hole” has been known since ancient times. In the year 1871, due to the influence of Dobšinácity, the cave was opened for visitors. During the period if 1953-54, a path was arranged here and electric lighting was installed. In the process of constructing and arranging works, some parts of cave were discovered that were free from ice and which were used for safety fencing installation.
Total length of the cave reaches 1483m and the depth – 112m. Length of the excursion tour is 475m. Having descended just several tens of meters, you appear in the kingdom of cold, ice and unrivalled forms and beauties of Mother Nature.
These glaciations appeared after destruction between Stratenska and Dobšinská caves. As a result, Dobšinská Ice Cave acquired an appearance of an ice sack with air that found its way through the upper opening formed after a part of dome collapsed. Nowadays it is used as the entrance to this cave. Rainfalls, seeping into the cave, caused glaciation of underground parts. These glaciations are represented in various forms, such as ice waterfalls, pillars, stalagmites and simply on the floor. Area of such glaciations reaches 9,772sq.m, and their volume is 110,100 cubic m. The thickest layers are located in the Big Hall (26.5m). Regular renovation of this underground ice has been taking place for almost 2000 years. Ice in the cave slowly moves towards the Ruffini corridor and the Lower floor, through the Big and Small Halls, approximately in the range of 2-4cm per year.
Air temperature in icy halls varies from -0.4 to -1.0 Ñ(average annual). More significant fluctuations take place depending on the season: from -2.6 to 3.8 Ñin February, and in August +0.2 Ñ. In the spaces free of ice, relative humidity varies from 75 to 90%.
Dobšinská Cave is one of the first electrically lighted caves as electricity was installed here as early as in 1887. It became widely popular soon after its opening with experts as well as publicity. In the year 1890 a concert organized by Karl Ludwig von Habsburg was held here. Besides, the cave was famous for its ice-rink that would perfectly function in summertime and which was opened in 1893.
Krásnohorská Cave (Krásna Hôrka Cave)
Krásnohorská Cave is situated in the Slovak karst not far from the village Dlha Luka. The cave was created in the result of underground flow of the Busgo river. Its total length is 450m, and it is located at a depth of 50m.
The cave is famous for its 34-meter-long incursive pillar. It is the tallest stalagmite formed on the territory with moderate climate.
Ochtinská Aragonite Cave
Ochtinská Aragonite Caveis situated at a height of 642m above sea level. It was created in deposits of crystalline limestone (deposits of the Paleozoic Devonian Period). Halls and corridors have arrow-headed tops caused by high corrosive activity of atmospheric condensations whose water seeps in along tectonic faults.
The cave is famous for the three types of aragonite generation found here. It was created in the aqueous solution consisting of Mn, Fe, Mg ions and only under conditions of a stable microclimate. Aragonite, belonging to the oldest one has milky-transparent color (age 121-138 thousand years). The second generation is considered to be the most widely spread. Here it is mostly represented in the form of helical and needles (age 14 thousand years). This stage of aragonite is still in the process of growth that’s why it has white coloring and stable compact texture. Modern generation which is the youngest one is represented in the form of fans whose diameter reaches from 2 to 4cm, in rare cases more.
Air temperature in Aragonite Cave is within the range of 7.2 – 7.8C. Relative humidity varies in the range of 92-97%.
Ochtinská Aragonite Cave was found in 1954 by workers of mining prospection. Experts of the National enterprise “Tourist” examined it in the year 1955, and in 1956 professional research works were started. In 1972, the cave was fully equipped for public visiting, 145-meter-long entrance gallery was created and excursions were started. Though first works on its decoration began in 1966. Total length of Aragonite Cave is 585m. It is situated at a depth of 30m. From the total length of this cave, only 230m of this underground kingdom are open for visitors.
Domica Cave was created as early as in times of the Triassic period. The cave is situated not far from the border with Hungary. Unique genetic block is created by Domica Cave and Baradla Cave (Hungary). Besides Calcium deposits surrounded with the cliff and cylindrical lakes, here you can enjoy a boat trip along the underground river Styx. The cave resembles palace corridors. Bed of the Styx river is like an underground canyon decorated with fanciful curves and ornaments.
Though length of this cave reaches 5368m, and it is adjusting ?ertova diera Cave(Devil’s Hole) and total length reaches 25km, only a fourth of the cave is situated on the territory of Slovakia. Domica Cave is located at a depth of 12m. Air temperature in the cave stays at mark from 10.1 Ñ to 11.5 Ñ. Relative humidity is in the range of 94% - 98%.
Domica Cave used to be an abode for people living in Neolith period. They were the founders of Eastern linear ceramics, namely its culture, as well as Basque and Hemer ones. However, in course of time entrance to the cave was dammed with litter and stones.
Domica Cave has been known for rather long, though first recorded penetration dates back to the year 1926 and was performed by J.Maiko where he discovered a number of valuable archeological findings. After this the cave is also called archeologists’ treasury. Lots of various precious items of old times are kept here, including containers of potsherds, ovenware, arrows, awls, irons, rings, bracelets, fishhooks, stone tools.
In 1930 electrical lightning was installed in the cave. 1315m of underground wonders are available for your journey, 140 of which you can cover on a boat.
The cave is situated in western Slovakia and it is the only cave in this region open for visitors. Driny Cave is situated on the territory of the Little Carpathians to south-west from Smolenice (village). The cave was discovered as early as in the XIX century. Driny Cave differs from any other Slovak cave having spacious underground halls and corridors. This is a system of narrow fracture corridors, decorated with dripstones.
The cave is 680m long and it is situated at a depth of 40m. Its amazing corridors are formed in brown-grey limestone. The cave is peculiar with its drapery and uneven surface. Figures and stone waterfalls, stalactites and stalagmites of various fanciful shapes are opening before your eyes. There are also pools here which were created by sinter water of atmospheric condensation.
Temperature conditions remain in the range from + 7.2 Ñ to 7.9 Ñ while relative humidity is 93- 97%.
11 kinds of bats live in the cave.
In 1933 organized Association made a research of Driny Cave. A lower entrance was arranged the same year and works on the cave development were started. In 1935 Driny Cave was completely ready to accept its first visitors with an arranged tour of 175m. In the year 1943 electrical lightning was installed in the cave. In the year 1950 Slovak Speleological Society Hall was discovered. It was opened for visitors along with the Hope and Clay corridors in 1959. Nowadays, length of the tour in this cave is 410m.
Jasovská Cavehas spread on the spaces of Medzev heights (western part of Kosice basin). It was the first Slovak cave open for visitors (year 1846), though its upper tunnels were famous as early as in the XIII century.
The cave was created in Middle-Triassic dolomites and Steinalm light limestones. Destruction of Jasov Mountain range defined direction of the cave corridors. Length of this cave reaches 2811m and maximum height of its arching is 55m, while the cave is situated at a depth of 85m.
Underground tunnels have undergone a long and staged path of formation. Upper corridors were created on the first stages of development, and lower corridor systems were formed on the last stages. Upper corridors were created under the influence of erosive activity of underground waters of the river Bodva, which leak in through limestone sinks. Lower system of corridors with a part of excursion route was flooded.
The cave is decorated with dripstones. They are represented in the form of pillars, stone waterfalls, ridges, plates, stalactites and stalagmites.
Air temperature here varies in the range of +8.7 Ñäî+9.5 Ñ, relative humidity is 91-97%.
Jasovská Caveused to serve as a dwelling to numerous generations of not only people, but animals as well. This fact was proven by various remains found in this cave.
Local people believe that Jasovská Cave was found by a monk who belonged to the Premonstratensian Order. For people this cave was not once a shelter. The cave stores a number of wall inscriptions. One of them belongs to the year 1452 and informs that a soldier from Brandys Jan Jiskra won the battle. In the room of Bats there is an inscription dated 1576 proving that the cave was already known in the far XVI century. In 1846 Jasovská Cave was opened for public visiting. Totallength of the tour route reaches 550m.
Belianska Cave reveals its whole history of existence since the XVIII century, since the time of gold finders. The cave is situated on the territory of Tatra National park, namely in the picturesque area of Belianske Tatras (western part).
Caves formation is connected with tectonic faults of Kobyla Vrhy plateau that is located above the cave. Waters of ice age period which would seep into the cave corridors just slightly changed the inner appearance of almost formed caves.
Total length of the cave corridors is 3640m; vertical drop is about 160m. Entrance to the cave goes through the tunnel that is simply crowned with a number of cracks leading to the original entrance located 82 higher from the one existing nowadays. Some places in the cave have an oval shape, they are created by water. Unrivalled vertical segmentation is accomplished with several abysses.
Stratified drifts of calcium form stone waterfalls, namely waterfall Dome, High Dome, Musical Hall, SNP Dome and Palm Hall. Air temperature here is almost stable with a small fluctuation from +5 Ñ to +6.3 Ñ. Relative air humidity is within the range of 91-97%.
At the beginning of 1884 Belianska Cave was opened for public visiting, the same year the Dome of Ruins was opened in this cave. In 1886 electrical lightning was installed here. Colossal reconstruction works were carried out last century, speaking more precisely – in 50s. During the period of 1979-1980 tour route led to the entrance located between the Dome of Ruins and the Clay Passage. Nowadays, the cave is actively used as a medical center (spaleo climate). A tourist route was arranged for tourists that is more than 1000m long.
Bystrianska Cave is situated in the southern part of the Low Tatras. It is located close to tourist centers Mýto and Tale near Dumbier. The cave consists of two parts: New and Old caves. Their total length exceeds 3000m.
Bystrianska Cave resembles an abyss where domination belongs to mineralogic draperies hanging from the formed calcite crust. Since 1971some parts of the cave have been used for holding speleotherapeutic sessions.
Total length of Bystrianska Cave is 2600m; its depth reaches 95m. Formation of the cave was gradual and its stages directly depended on the valley deformations. Waters of the river Bystrianka flew through the bell-pits to karst territories. The river-bed having fanciful zigzagged forms is situated in the Old Cave being its oldest part. Nowadays the river-bed flows through a part of the New Cave.
The cave is peculiar with its high and narrow fracture corridors that are being widened under the influence of erosion and corrosion. Interlayer surfaces define small corridors of oval shape. There are places where they unite narrow corridors. Big halls and corridors are also peculiar for Bystrianska Cave, but they more resemble breaches. In the New Cave, namely in its lower part, the abyss Peklo (the Hell) is situated. Its depth reaches 56m. Near the Hell abyss mineralogical formations are represented with aragonites.
Temperature in the cave varies in the range of +5.7 Ñ- 6.6 Ñ, and air relative humidity is 92-97%.
Corridors of the Old Cave were famous to local people since ancient times. E.Laubert and J.Koval?ík were the contemporary discoverers who visited virgin places of Bystrianska Cave in1926. The same year the Hell abyss was discovered by brothers Hollmann and J.Koval?ík who entered the labyrinth of the New cave through it. Modern entrance to the cave was discovered in 1932 which is the lower entrance to the New cave. During the period of 1939-1940 some part of the cave was opened for excursion tours. There is a plate in the room called the Drop which tells visitors of the cave that a tragic event occurred on this place during the period of antifascist opposition.
Tour route is more than 490m.
There is a wonderful cave called Vazecká situated between the cities of Poprad and Liptovsky Mikulas. It is not long, only 530m. This cave is the most important paleontological place where remains of cave bears were found. Recently, this animal was imaged in a full-size sculpture which was installed in the cave hall. Though the length of this cave is not big, its dripstone decorations amaze with their beauty, apart from mentioning its rare but rich fauna.
Vazecká Cave was formed in the dark-grey Gutenstein limestones under influence of ancient waters of the Biely Váh (White Vah) river flowing which seeped into through limestone sinks. Cave corridors were transformed by falls but these only along interlayer surfaces represented by limestone.
Underground cave kingdom is decorated with stalactites, stalagmites and naturally dripstone pools. Almost the whole cave is filled with settlements of the river White Vah, these are waters of the flow located in the half-blind valley Priepadlá. Air temperature in Va?ecká Cave varies in a narrow range of +6.6 Ñäî+7.1 Ñwith relative humidity 94-96%.
Corridor system of Vazecká Cave was discovered in 1922, though local people knew about its existence from ancient times. In 1928 Vazecká Cave was opened for public visiting. This event took place thanks to its lessee F.Havranek. However, official opening and measuring of tour route took place in 1934. Electric lighting was installed here and reconstruction of Vazecká Cave was performed in 1954. Nowadays, length of the tour route is 235m.
Harmanecka Cave is one of the most important caves of Slovakia which is peculiar with its big chambers-cavings and abounds of “moon milk”. Entrance to the cave bearing the name of Izbica, was known to local workers and woodcutters since long ago, but secret corridors of Harmanecka Cave were open to public only in 1932. The cave was formed in the dark-grey Gutenstein limestones. The cave is 2763m long and it has a depth of 75m. Among a number of oval horizontal corridors, leading downward, there exists a lot of cavings which created huge chambers in the form of halls – the High Chamber, Pagod Chamber, Wandering Chamber, and many others. First cave tunnels formed under the influence of corrosion caused by leaking in water. Later on, walls and arching of some parts crashed and this resulted in destruction of oval corridors which transformed into fields covered with rock debris.
Air temperature in the cave changes from +5.8 Ñto 6.5 Ñ, and relative humidity is 95-97%.
Harmanecka Cave is a favorite inhabitation of bats. For the moment being, 11 species are represented here. Dominating species are lesser mouse-eared bat and mouse-eared bat. Their number reaches 1500 samples.
In war time, in 1944 Harmanecka Cave served as an asylum for local people. Measures of the cave were carried out in 1949 and in 1950 it was officially opened for tour visiting. During expedition of 1987 speleological society discovered an extension of the cave corridors. Nowadays, the tour route covers 720m.
Gombasecká Cave is a fluvio-karst cave having length of 1525m. Two layers of this cave are represented by oval corridors formed by river waters and naturally cracks and fallings. The cave formed in the light Wetterstein and dark-grey Gutenstein limestones as a result of erosive and corrosive activities of the river Ñierny Váh (the Black Vah) and its unstable feeder located in the Marble Hall. Gombasecká Ice Cave is just a part of Silica-Gombasek undergroundhydrological system.
The cave is unique due to its dropstones-stalactites; they sometimes reach 3m long. There are also a number of other stalagmites, stalactites, various draperies, formed from sinter deposits.
Air temperature in the cave is rather high – from + 9.0 Ñto 9.5 Ñ, and relative air humidity reaches 95-98%.
The cave is a permanent abode of bats, and only sometimes such species as lesser horseshoe bat can be observed here. However, in recent times during the period autumn-spring fire salamanders started to settle here.
Gombasecká Cave was discovered in 1951 by speleologists-volunteers. Through the Back entrance, having finished some grounding works, they entered underground labyrinths of the cave. For public visiting Gombasecká Cave was opened in 1955. In the year 1968 the first speleological session was held here. Tour route covers 285m.