– a natural cavity in the upper stratum of the earth’s crust, communicating with the earth’s surface with one or more outlets that are passable for humans. The largest caves are complex systems of passageways and halls, often with a total length of up to several tens of kilometers. Caves – the object of studying speleology. A considerable contribution to the study of caves is made by speleotourists.
Almost in all adventure novels there are caves, it is an indispensable attribute of such works. After all, there is a mysterious darkness, a booming and deceptive echo, and the light from torches and flashlights is not able to completely disperse the darkness. In the caves, robbers used to hide, pirates hid their treasures, through them there were underground passages connecting distant places among them. Folk beliefs gave these places all sorts of evil spirits – from ancient nymphs to Scandinavian trolls.
In fact, in caves there is rarely such an exciting life – it’s usually quiet and peaceful, and the main treasures are stalactites. Their bizarre forms give a special flavor to underground voids. Let’s talk about those caves that stand out among all others with their volumes and beauty, which causes serious interest among tourists. Cave of Melissina, Greece.
The secluded island of Kefallonia is the largest in the Ionian Sea. Here, an appropriate atmosphere – luxurious landscapes with clean beaches, delicious wine and ancient monasteries. The island is famous for its caves, Melissina is the most beautiful of them. Only here inexorable time and nature made the cave a leaky one – after the earthquake the dome partly collapsed and now sunlight penetrates inside. However, this only embellished the underground decoration. Now the lake in the cave is shining through the sunlight, visitors can admire the clear water of an amazingly blue hue. But you can not drink it – it is salty, because it comes from the sea through hidden channels. This place long before the tourists chose the ancient Greek priests, who arranged here the sanctuary of the god Pan. Quite a lot around the caves and legends, but is it possible to do without them in Greece? It is said that the nymph Melissa drowned in the underground lake. The reason for her death is called either coldness to her Pan, or his betrayal, or maybe vice versa, persistent harassment. Once in this place, it will be best to ride on a lake on a boat. The nearest town to the cave is Sami, and you can get there by bus, which follows from the capital of Kefallonia, the city of Argostoli. Postojna Jama, Slovenia.
The name “postojna” in the translation from Slovenian means “inn”, and “pit” and do not need to translate. “Postojna Yama” is the largest cave in Slovenia and one of the largest in Europe in general. Here the underground galleries are 20 km wide. Nature has created such beauty in the depths of the limestone plateau of Krasse with the help of the Pivka River. However, despite its name, the cave never acted as an inn. But already in the XIX century it was landscaped specially for visiting tourists. There was electricity and the world’s first cave railway. The train overcomes 7 kilometers of path past the unusual stalactites and stalagmites, the further way has to be made on foot. The biggest hall in the cave is called Concert, it is not surprising that exactly here once there was even a whole conference of speleologists. Interesting and local water bodies, because there are even living creatures – proteins. They have no eyes, they are like a mixture of a lizard-albino and a worm. Proteas are distant relatives of salamanders. After visiting here, stand on the Russian bridge, built after the First World War by the hands of Russian prisoners of war especially for the Austrians. Not far from here is the city of Postojna, but it will be from Ljubljana – the bus will get here in one hour.
Marble Cave, Ukraine.
Plateau of the Crimean mountain Chatyr-Dag is literally strewn with wells, mines and caves. The most famous place is the Marble Cave.Popularity it brought a large size (length – more than two kilometers) and an attractive entourage. Visitors first enter the hall, called the “Fairy Tale Gallery.” Here rise stalagmites, which resemble their kind of fantastic creatures. You can see Santa Claus, Mamontenka and the Frog Princess. In the next room – Dvortsovom, there is a non-miraculous royal couple created by nature together with their retinue. Also in the cave is the Perestroika Hall. It’s not entirely clear why he got that name, because his main attraction is the huge stalagmite “The Tower That Fell.” Tourists can look in the gallery of the “Tiger walk”, in which once were found the bones of a cave bear. All the local beauty can be bypassed in an hour, for people here are equipped with special paths among the incipient formations. In the cave you can find even pearls, which are formed from small stalactites falling into the puddles of water. Although there is no value from pearls, but it looks interesting. The closest to the cave is the village of Mramornoe, and you can get there by taxi from Yalta. New Athos Cave, Russia.
This education in Abkhazia is one of the largest in the world. The cave is located inside the Apsar mountain near the New Athos Monastery, and it owes its name to this. In the dungeon there are nine huge halls, the ceiling height reaches up to 100 meters. Inside the cave, besides lakes, there is also a mass of stalactites in the form of jellyfish, deer and fantastic creatures. This unusual place was discovered in the middle of the XX century. In the cave is a failure, nicknamed the bottomless pit. Although he was known to local residents for a long time, but only in 1961, speleologist Givi Smyr decided to investigate this place. Today it’s much easier to get into the cave than then. In the summer, an underground railway runs here, tourists even call it as a joke by the Abkhaz metro. The train goes between three stations, but it will be necessary to walk further on foot, on specially laid out tracks. Recently, the halls were renamed for political reasons – the Hall of Georgian speleologists became the Hall of speleologists, and the Hall of Sukhumi – the Hall named after Givi Smyr. Many tourists like to shout loudly in the center of the hall of Aphyarts – after all here is an excellent and loud echo. The closest to the cave is the city of New Athos, and it’s better to get here from Sochi or Adler by shuttle bus. On the way, the border with Abkhazia will be crossed along the Psou River.
Kungur cave, Russia.
This place is the pride of the Urals, the cave itself is hidden in the depths of Ice Mountain. It’s pretty cool here, in some remote grottoes the temperature does not rise above 0 at all, in winter it’s all -30 ° C. Such a unique climate caused the appearance of quite rare ornaments – crystals from perennial ice. In order to give them an even more enchanting look, there is laser illumination, in particular under the arches of the Polar and Diamond grottoes. For tourists in the cave are located and ice sculptures, created by man. But this place is famous for its ice currents, there are also quite traditional beauty – stalagmites, stalactites, and there are about 70 lakes here. The largest of them, the Big Lake, occupies almost one and a half square kilometers. However, the cold does not prevent the living creatures from being present in the cave, once there lived a man. They say that in the Cross grotto once there was a hermit’s hut. In favor of this theory testifies and dug a well here, and found here recently someone’s bast. In the Coral Cave there is a bar in which you can note the descent. The nearest city to the cave is Kungur, and you can get there by bus from Ekaterinburg, the journey takes 5 hours. Cane flute cave, China.
In the center of the Guangxi area is the ancient city of Guilin. The terrain here is very picturesque, surrounded by limestone cliffs of a bizarre shape. Their companions are traditionally karst caves, of which there are many around Guilin. The most beautiful of them is the Cane of the reed flute.Her name she received thanks to the cane growing around her entrance. It is believed that it is from the stems of this plant that the most melodic flutes are obtained in China. Let the dungeon and not a huge – its length is only 500 meters, but the nature here has worked extensively on the design of interiors. And the Chinese themselves decided to supplement the impressions with colorful lighting. As a result, grottoes resemble palace gardens and halls, only the places of trees and columns were occupied by stalagmites and stalactites. In one of the halls of tourists attracts an underground lake, and in another the giant stalactite the Staff of the Dragon King is amazing. He propped up the vault of the Crystal Palace, where nearly 1,000 people can stay at the same time. Guides assure that lost tourists can get lost in time. It is said that one gaffer spent three years here, although it seemed to him that several hours had passed. The closest thing to the cave is the city of Guilin, the path from Beijing takes a day and a half.
Mammoth Cave, USA.
Ridiculous, but in the cave just the same mammoths never did. Just the English word mammoth also means “huge”. Even in the XIX century in the state of Kentucky, under the flint of Flint, this cave was discovered. First it produced nitrate, but once the deposits were depleted and a certain businessman bought that place. With the help of his servants, he tried to explore the depth of the dungeon, but he could not. By the beginning of the XX century in the cave were found as many as 5 tiers and more than 200 grottos, galleries and crossings. Their total length was as much as 500 kilometers! The end of this underground country has not been found so far. But the Mammoth Cave can not boast of special beauty or miracles. Its arches consist of red limestone, which practically does not form a streak, so there are fewer figured stalactites here than in other caves, much more modest in size. The visual row is poor though, but the place is called sonorous – one of the corridors is called Broadway, and the underground river is called Styxom. However, there is something that guides are happy to show guests – a stone statue, reminiscent of the profile of the mother of President George Washington. To tourists do not leave their autographs on the walls, they are allocated a special Hall of Records. Solid guests can leave not a wall inscription, but a venerable business card. From the largest city of Kentucky, Louisville, you can get there by car in 4-5 hours, and the closest in the cave is the city of Brownsville.