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Travel advice Eastern Europe

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MAGURA CAVE

With twelve large, connecting halls and a total of 2500 metres, Magura cave is one of Bulgaria's most extraordinary. This cave is over 15 million years old. As the cave has many large halls with a constant temperature of 11-12 degrees and humidity of over 80%, it has been successfully used for asthma treatments. Some halls are so large - upto 21 metres high, that Christmas and Easter concerts are held inside. Besides, the excellent conditions of the cave are now used to age Magura wines, in a seculded part. The cave had long been inhabited by prehistoric species such as the cave bear. Nowadays, several species of bats inhabit the large cave. These can be seen hanging from the ceilings of the enormous halls and they circle around as well. Some of the bats prefer to stay in the secluded part of the cave where wines are stored. This hall is made inaccessible because of a human-made wall. Yet, the bats can fly through an opening. There's another secluded part where asthma patients are treated.

 

The cave's most interesting asset is its wealth of mural paintings. Scientist have various theories on the age of these murals, ranging from 6000 to 9000 or 12000 years old - depending on the theory. These murals depict various (religious) rituals such as a fertility dance and hunting men. Several animals and suns and stars are part of the murals. One of the halls of the cave is said to have been used as a place to store knowledge. There, we find most of the murals, next to eachother. These murals are truly impressive - especially when you're guided around. On a second visit to Magura, I went with a group. We were guided around by Mr. Kiril Kirilov. He has done research on the murals in this cave for many years. There are some astounding findings - the inhabitants of this cave seem to have found out that the gender is determined in the fourth month of pregnancy. Besides, in the cave we see our planet and some planets around us. Besides, the inhabitants knew the earth turns around the sun and that there are 4 seasons. These were then divided into 3 months and 23 days a month. Even more surprising, there's a mural of a giraffe which means that when Europe and northern Africa were connected, the inhabitants were at some point in touch with Africans and the animals of the continent. Truly fascinating - there's so many more revealed during a guided tour.

Pictures of the murals can be seen in the second album below, as well as in this Youtube video. Some of the largest stalagmites in Bulgaria are found in the Magura cave. It's very interesting to visit and walking through it can take at least an hour. With a guide, expect the tour to take two hours. Bring a vest - it really gets chilly. You get out of the cave at another point than where you got in. At the exit, you have a wide view over Rabisha Lake, which is Bulgaria's largest inland lake. The cave and the lake are connected underground, water flows from the cave into the lake. This has been proved with coloured water. With a small tourist train you are brought back to the entrance. It is really worth it to visit the Magura cave in combination with the city of Vidin and the rocks of Belogradchik. Visiting by public transport can be quite hard - as Rabisha village and the Magura cave are over 20 kilometres from Belogradchik. It is therefore best to visit by your own means of transport or by rental car. Free parking is available right at the entrance.

 

Apart from Belogradchik, I found no accommodations and places to eat/drink nearby. Therefore, it is recommended to bring plenty of water and some food. There is, however, the hotel/camping/restaurant Han Madona at 17 kilometres southeast of town. The hotel has a nice terrace and garden. It's built in a Rhodope style, with a wooden structure and white walls, typical for southern Bulgaria - yet commonly reconstructed all over the country. The whole area of Northwestern Bulgaria is interesting to visit, as it has varied nature and interesting towns. One such town is Chiprovtsi, which is famous for its handmade carpets. Traveling from Sofia, you have choice out of several beautiful routes. For example through the Svoge area, Tserovo, Lakatnik or through the town of Berkovitsa. Enjoy Northwestern Bulgaria and all the highlights it has to offer! Feel free to ask any questions for your trip.

Below are two albums - the first with general pictures and the second with murals found in the cave.

When you come with more than 10 persons, make a call to +359 (0) 93296677. You can make a call in any case, for example to arrange a guide beforehand.

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