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Caves of the Rhodopes

The Western part of Rhodope mountains is well known for many caves that exist in that area. These natural wonders are one of the vital resources of tourism and they have been a major attraction for a large number of visitors during the time. Also, they are mythical and mysterious, and birthplaces of many stories and legends in Bulgarian history. Most known are Yagodinska Cave, Uhlovitsa Cave, Devil’s throat and Snezhanka Cave.

The longest cave in Rhodopes is Yagodinska. This cave, who was named after a village nearby, is more than 10 kilometers long. It is the most visited cave in Bulgaria, and because of it long history, which dates back two hundred seventy thousand years ago, many cave forms as stalagmites and stalactites, as well as little cave pearls, are able to be seen here. Traces of human activity in this cave are estimated to date back in 4th-millennium b.c. This cave is also known for its residents. A large number of various bats are living in this cave, and some science studies were made about that fact, and Yagodniska cave happens to be in most books in which bats are being examined.

Devil’s Throat is not largest or oldest, but for sure it is the most mysterious and mythical cave in this part of the region. The name came from entrance into the cave, because it looks like devil head. When you enter the cave, straight down you see forty-two meters high waterfall of Trigrad river, coming down trough devil’s throat, and making huge noise in Hall of Thunder, second largest cavern in Bulgaria. The river then flows underneath the cave, exiting some half kilometer below altitude it enters. One legend is related with this cave. It is said that Orpheus came down into the underworld, for Eurydice, in this place. That really makes people think, that maybe Devil’s Throat name came with a reason.

Uhlovitsa got the name by an owl. In these parts of Europe, an owl is a mystical and very respected animal. Cave was founded 1967. And it was among the last to be discovered. Smaller than previous two, with only four hundred sixty meters long, she is known for its coral formations, to be precise flowstones, a form that is made from calcite, which over the years made shapes, that are amazing to see. This one in Uhlovitsa is called Icefall, and many tourists came to see just that specific thing.

Snezanka cave is the oldest one, formed three million years ago, by Novomahlenska river. Cave is small comparing to the other ones, but what she contains will leave you breathless. All the stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones,  lakes, are creating such a view that is unbelievable. Deposits of calcite are shaped in many forms, and many of them have names, and most important is Snezana, or Snow White. White shape statue which resembles Snow White, waiting for her prince to come, and take her away. Cave got the name by this statue. It is divided into several halls, Udder hall, Big hall, Music hall and one where Snow White waits for the prince, Magic hall.

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