Polovragi Cave, a trip to the center of the Earth

by Victor Grigore, Webphoto.ro

Going on the National Road DN67, between Ramnicu Valcea and Targu Jiu, after Horezu village, famous for its ceramics and monumental monastery, you shouldn’t miss the traffic signs to Polovragi Monastery. It is a humble construction, but with a vast and tranquil domain, sitting in the middle of a gorge between two mountains. The area deserves exploration as there are numerous walking paths with tourist signs.

The closest city is Baia de Fier (Iron Lake), with a decent road to the monastery. From here to the cave there is a forest road with plenty of holes in it, but no longer than 1 km. The road passes the Olt Gorges, along a rock wall. On the other side, over the ravine, there is the more famous Pestera Muierii (Woman’s Cave), to which there is a hiking path.
In Parang Mountains there are several caves, whose entrances resemble vultures nests and can be seen with the naked eye, but unaccessible without climbing gear.
Polovragi Cave is 11 km long, of which 800 m are electrified since 1984.

Situated at an altitude of 670 m, the cave has been dwelt in Neolithic. In the area there are vestiges of the Dacians that fueled local legends. Today, the cave is only inhabited by insects, among which the diplopodus – trachysphaera spelaea.
The water that drops continually from cave’s ceiling forms stalactites and stalagmites, but also clay so you have to watch your steps. Hazard and time created bizarre limestone formations which received poetic names: Lotus, The Throne of Zalmoxis, The Monk.
Polovragi Cave was also named the Cave of Pahomie.
The entrance ticket in Polovragi is 2.4 lei (50 eurocents), with half the price for students.
Visiting hours: from Wednesday to Sunday 10-17. On Monday and Tuesday the cave is closed.

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