In the Capital city Budapest.
Budapest III. ker. Szépvölgyi út 162.
Bus No. 65 leaving from Kolosy square.
|Open:||All year Tue-Sun, Hol 10-16. |
|Fee:||Adults HUF 2,700. |
|Dimension:||L=12,000m , T=10°C, A=205m asl.|
|Guided tours:||L=450m, D=50min.|
Dr H. Kessler (1980):
16 pp, illus, survey.
Duna-Ipoly Nemzeti Park Igazgatósága, Szépvölgyi út 162, 1025 Budapest, Tel: +36-6-1-325-9505, Fax: +36-6-1-336-0760.
Barlangüzem, Tel: +36-325-95-05. E-mail:
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1902||a famous speleologist, Charles Jordán visited Harcsaszáj Cave in the Szépvölgy valley.|
|1910||now 1km long.|
|1917-18||Ottaoká Kardić of the Geological Institute maps this very complicated cave system.|
|1919||opened to the public.|
|1927||electric lighting installed for the visit of the First International Speleological Congress.|
|1939-1944||used as an air raid shelter.|
|1973||National Bureau of the Nature Conservation takes over and modernises the cave.|
|1974||the quarry is transformed into gardens with snack bar and waiting room.|
|1980||now 4km long.|
|1998||mapped length 12km.|
The cave was discovered in July 1904 when a sheep (some accounts say goat) disappeared when the floor of the quarry collapsed. When John Bagyura, the son of the quarry owner tried to rescue the sheep, he discovered the cave. With the help of some visitors, Charles Jordán and Paul Cornelius Scholtz they removed some boulders, and were able to enter Pálvölgy Cave.
Text by Tony Oldham (2005). With kind permission.
From the entrance a flight of iron steep lead down into the Lois Lóczy Chamber, named after a famous Hungarian geologist. A flight of 42 steps lead down to the next chamber is called The Crossing. From here the passage leads through to The Lower Staircase Passage. Going to the right along the 25m long Wide Passage, there is a spectacular speleothem called The Organ. Unfortunately people sheltering in the cave seriously damaged it during the Second World War.
Where the Wide Passage is crossed by another passage, this leads to The Kabaret, so called because members of the Pannonian Touring Club used to hold their Christmas and New Year parties here. The next chamber is called The Lakatos László Camber after a guide who worked in the cave. Sadly he died at the age of 31 in a caving accident in northern Hungary. The Zoo can be reached by going down a few steps from the former chamber. It got its name from the many speleothems, which resemble animals, eg The Elephants Trunk, The Crocodile, The Python etc.
From here one travels along The Theatre Corridor which leads to The Theatre Box, which has a marvellous view of The Theatre Hall below, which is one of the largest rooms in the cave. There is an easier route to The Theatre along a horizontal passage from Lakatos Chamber. The Witch's Kitchen can be seen on the right hand side of this corridor. There are several half-spherical cavities and niches in this small room formed by the thermal waters, some resemble huge cauldrons. The Stage is reached in this way and there is an excellent view of The Theatre which is 12m high, with some marvellous formations, The Stage Loft, The Look-out Tower of Jánas Hill and the Fearful Sword of Damocles, a massive stalactite.
Whilst the visitors are delighted by these wonderful formations, music starts to play from the loudspeakers concealed in cavities opening out, high above The Theatre. The Auditorium can be reached by going down an iron staircase from The Stage to the bottom of the hall. Turning right into a dimly lit passage called The Long Passage which at 50m is one of the longest in the cave, it is also 15m high. Here the guide turns on the Ultra Violet lamp and the calcite crystals glow in the dark. At the end of this gallery is The Scholtz Test, 27m below the entrance. We are told that Paul Cornelius Scholtz was almost 100kg in weight and had great difficulties in passing the spot. Since then the passage has been enlarged and a steep iron stair case with handrail has been fitted. This leads to The Peti Passage 25m above.
The route continues along The Tourist Corridor and into Fairyland, the most decorated part of the cave, here there are stalagmites resembling Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Here the tour ends, but for the speleologist there are another 12km of passages to explore in Hungary's second longest cave. A short section of tunnel leads back to daylight.
Unlike most karst caves, these are formed by rising thermal waters. These gave rise to the thermal springs or spas for which Budapest is famous. When the waters receded to the level of the present-day Danube, they left a series of dry cave passages.
Every winter 660 bats hibernate in the cave. Among the 41 species of algae found, 8 species are a relic of the time when thermal waters flooded the cave.
Text by Tony Oldham (2005). With kind permission.