Tsarske vode, King's Spring, Careve Vode, Hotočina.
M5 Pale north R446 east, then Srpskih ratnika, 5.15 km, turn left through Cemanovici to Careve Vode. Trail starts at Tsarske vode, King's Spring, 30 minutes walk.
|Karst Cave Cave Castle
|L=60 m, A=1,515 m asl.
|Novakova pećina, Hotočina.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|first exploration by mountaineers of the "Željezničar" Mountaineering Society from Sarajevo.
|second exploration, decision to install an iron door between the first to the second part of the cave
Новакова пећина (Novakova pećina, Novak's cave) was named after the old folk hero Старинa Новак (Starina Novak). He was a Serb hajduk, a brigand and rebel, who fought in many battles against the Ottoman Empire, which occupied the whole area at that time. He is considered a national hero by both the Serbs and the Romanians. As an early guerrilla he needed hideouts, and so various locations in the area have the legend that they were his hideout. Some are even named after him, actually there are two caves in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are named Novak's cave. We have not listed the other one, because it's a pretty small shelter, not a cave. But this one is not only a cave of considerable size, it is a cave castle built inside a huge cave portal, and the cave also has a second entrance, which is of great strategical importance. It is located in the southern escarpment of the karstified plateau named Romanija.
At the foot of the hill below the cave castle is a karst spring named Цареве воде (Tsarske vode, King's Spring). It was located right beneath one of the most important roads of the Turkish Empire in Bosnia, the Carigradski drum (Constantinople Road). The cave is obviously a good place for a trap for important Osman travellers, which make a stop at the spring.
The cave was explored by mountaineers of the "Željezničar" Mountaineering Society from Sarajevo in 1958. They discovered the shaft in the rear and climbed up to the plateau. In 1962, they returned and surveyed the cave. The decided to install an iron door to block the access, which was realized a few years later.
The easiest way to reach the cave castle is to start at the spring, which is located in a small hamlet, 5 km from Pale. Nearby is the lodge Planinarska kuća "kod Nene", which is signposted. The trail to the cave castle is well-marked, it's about 2 km uphill, and the roundtrip is at least an hour walk. The trail is sometimes quite steep and there are fixed steel ropes for security.