Another geographic related aspect I learned about Slovakia is its incredible cave systems. There are about 3,800 caves that weave through Slovakia. Only about 400 have been explored and only 12 are open to the public. Imagine that they have so many that “spelunking” or exploring caves as a hobby is one of their leisure things to do in the South of Slovakia!
Near the Southern border with Hungary, there is a huge limestone plateau where water has carved narrow canyons and incredible caves. It’s called the Slovak Karst and it is in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Ready to go Spelunking? This is a map:
We’ll do with the ones listed in the UNESCO Heritage World List. They are:
Dobšiná Ice cave
(Dobšinská ľadová jaskyňa), Slovak Paradise
This cave is one of the most famous cave in the world. It is a part of the Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst site. It is part of an area in Slovakia called “Slovensky raj” or Slovak Paradise. This gorgeous area holds rare flora and fauna and one can encounter different habitats filled with all kinds of wildlife in meadows, chasms, canyons, gorges, plateaux, caves and waterfalls!
This cave has halls, frozen water falls and domes with ice formations. In some areas the ice can be up to 26.5 meters! One of the amazing phenomenons of Ice Caves is that they are iced all year long, even if outside the cave is hot, the thickness and the cover of the ice keeps the cave cold year round. Yes, ven with all those tourists walking around!
Here are some photos:
This video was the most pleasant one I found that shows a bit of the cave and the region around it:
The Domica Cave
The Domica cave is situated on the south-western border of the Silicka planina Plateau 10 km (6.2 mi) south-east of Plesivec in the Rožňava District of the Košice Region in southern Slovakia and in combination with the Baradla cave represents the most significant section of the Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst cross-border cave network that continues into the (Aggtelek National Park) in Hungary.
These vast limestone passages, that had formed during the Middle Triassic and are rich in speleothems were discovered in 1926 by Ján Majko. Speleothems are mineral deposits that accumulate over time in natural caves. A 1,600 m (5,200 ft) section of its total length of 5,140 m (16,860 ft) is publicly accessible since 1932. Cr. Wikipedia
This photo shows the different kinds of speleothems:
I found this video that captures well the experience of being there. It is incredible!!!
Did you notice the river?! This cave is one of the biggest caves in the world that is open to the public, and has a river that runs along its 17 miles! Imagine that!!!
Gombasek Cave or Gombasecká jaskyňa (in Slovak) and Gombaszögi-barlang (in Hungarian) is a karst cave in the Slovak Karst, Slovakia. It is named after the settlement of Gombasek, which belongs to the village of Slavec. It is located in the Slovak Karst National Park, in the Slaná river valley, approximately 15 km south of Rožňava. The cave was discovered on 21 November 1951 by volunteer cavers. In 1955, 285 m out of 1 525 m were opened to the public. Currently, the route for visitors is 530 m long and takes about 30 minutes. Cr. Wikipedia
The cave was also used for “speleotherapy” as a sanatorium, focused on airway diseases.
This is the cave first open to the public in 1846. 852 meters (2,795 feet) out of 2,148 meters (7,047 feet) are open to the public.
Many archaeological discoveries of the Paleolithic, Neolith and the Hallstatt periods have been made in the cave. Cr. Wikipedia
It is also an important sleep out place for 19 kinds of bats during winter. Cr. Slovakia.com
Ochtinská Aragonite Cave
This cave i is a unique aragonite cave situated in southern Slovakia, near Rožňava.
Although only 300 m long, it is famous for its rare aragonite formations. In the so-called Milky Way Hall, the main attraction of the cave, white branches and clusters of aragonite shine like stars in the Milky Way. The cave was discovered by Martin Cangár and Jiri Prosek in 1954 and opened to the public in 1972.
Interested in Spelunking some more? Go HERE.
I remember going spelunking near Carupano in Venezuela. We went to a cave called “La Cueva del Guacharo” (or The Oilbird’s Cave) when I was really young, 7? I remember being really scared. There was a part we had to walk in the water and I was about 3/4 in it. The coldness, the darkness… and the shrieking of those oilbirds! Funny that guacharos are called oilbirds in English, even Venezuelan birds have oil! (OK… bad joke! ^ ^). I know we are in Slovakia, but I’ll show you this cave in Venezuela, quick detour!
And the oilbirds: