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Entrada a la Cueva de Magura

Entrance to the Magura Cave

The Magura cave is located in northwestern Bulgaria, a 17 km de Belogradchik, on the mound limestone "Rabishka Mogila" (461 meters above sea level). It is one of the largest and most beautiful caves in Europe. His visitable part, open to the public, It is Eastern Europe's largest after the famous caves of Postojna and Škocjan in Slovenia . It consists of a main gallery and three side branches that total some 3,6 kilometers. The main gallery is 700 meters long. It opened to the public in 1960, coincidentally the same year they opened our famous Cuevas de Nerja.

 

The origin of the Magura cave is estimated ago about 15 millions of years. Tectonic activity allowed the entry of water and favored process karst cave formation. Water activity has created fantastic formations like stalactites, estalagmitas, pisolitas (cave pearls), moonmilk, etc. Apart from the beauty of these large formations highlights of some of them as “Great stalactites” of over 20 meters high (the largest stalactite in Europe) Y 4 meters in diameter. There is also a huge drop stalagmite, “Pino Caído” of over 11 meters in length and diameter 6 meters.

 

 

Like many other caves, It offers a specific microclimate with a constant temperature of 12 ° C throughout the year. The absence of light provides ideal living conditions for those being adapted to living in deep, the majority invertebrates, but also by a multitude of bats, up 5 different species that inhabit this cave. The fossils show that in ancient times the cave was used by cave bear (almost twice the size of the current) and the cave hyena.

But what also makes special Magura cave is anthropological discoveries that have been made in this cave. In fact according to some researchers the presence of humans in the cave dates back to 42.000 years ago and therefore they say their cave paintings are the oldest in Europe with those 42.000 years old and are also the most important paintings of the entire Balkan Peninsula by condition and complexity. This area of ​​Bulgaria is also mentioned as the origin of the Aurignacian culture that subsequently spread above the rest of Europe and where it originated what may be classified as the first world religion, even before paganism.

 

rock paintings over 42.000 years old (the date in Altamira 35.000 years)

 

The paintings depict spirits and women dancing, men hunting, variety of animals, soles, stars, tools, plants,…and they decorated with bat guano (faeces). The figures represent silhouettes spirits, women dancing, of men hunting and dancing, of people dressed, animals, stars, tools, plants. The drawings date from different eras: Epipaleolítico, Neolithic, Eneolítico and the beginning of the Bronze Age. Another important finding of the Magura cave is the solar calendar Late Neolithic, which it is the earliest solar calendar that has been found so far in Europe. It is painted on the walls of the hall-mark sanctuary and at least five holidays, and a year 366 days, fairly accurate given their age.

 

 

Include a distinctive symbol of these paintings is the symbol of “Ankh” or what it is now known as “Cruz Ansata” and that is a sign widely used in Egyptian iconography, however, this symbol has its first performance in Magura and predates by several centuries those known in Egypt so it is thought that there was migration of some populations from Bulgaria to Egypt and left their mark on Egyptian culture. In the above image the evolution of this symbol in different parts of the cave Magura shown and represents a woman with arms raised, in later times represent the Mother Goddess.

 

Sparkling wine cellar in the Magura Cave

Sparkling wine cellar in the Magura Cave

The cave is also used for the production of sparkling wines, they mature in natural conditions in one of its galleries, very similar to those used in the production of French champagne.

You are allowed to photograph and record inside the cave. Beside the cave the Rabishko Lake is the largest inland lake in Bulgaria is, whose depth reaches 35-40 meters. Entry costs 10 takes (some 5 € change), Summer groups are formed every half hour off peak season but do not expect anything and you enter directly, we did so in October.

 

The descent to the first large room is very steep and is made by a staircase that seems to end in hell, LOL, there a group of cavers and archaeologists have a designated area where they perform their jobs.
The road has no loss, just follow a railing that is helpful because moisture is plentiful and the soil is extremely slippery, in fact we all occasionally hairball, but without consequences.
Increasingly it was cold on the descent, just we passed from room to room with little stalactites and stalagmites …. Bats Galore, size and large…

 

The paintings room

 

The first gallery on the left is closed to the public because it is where they keep the wines, in the second on the left is where the cave paintings, must pass through a narrow passage that if you dawdle you miss the best of the cave are cave paintings and the gallery is the most beautiful and has the most bats also.

Then the main gallery still going through huge halls where the huge stalactites and stalagmites discussed earlier, as the largest stalactite in Europe “The Big Stalactite”.

 

main hall

 

Finally a short flight of stairs up to the exit to the outside. There is a small shop selling wines from the winery that used the cave to preserve its wines. From there you walk about 15 minutes to the parking lot entrance to the cave where we left the car.

 

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