Pećina Orlovača

Pecina Orlovaca Museum


Useful Information

Location: Orlovača Hill.
Donje Sinjevo, 10 km from Pale. 20 km east of Sarajevo.
(43.883528, 18.584083)
Open: 15-APR to 15-OCT Tue-Sun, Hol 9, 12, 15.
[2023]
Fee: Adults BAM 4.
Groups (5+): Adults BAM 3, Students BAM 2.
[2023]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave LightColoured Light
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=2,500 m, T=8.8 °C, H=90 %, A=949 m asl.
Guided tours: D=45 min, L=560 m, Max=15, Min=5.
Photography:
Accessibility:
Bibliography: Milovan Pecelj, Marina Ilinčić, Jelena Belij, Dušica Pecelj, Jelena Pecelj (2014): Geoecological Evaluation of the Orlovača Cave Technical Institute Bijeljina, Archives for Technical Sciences 2014, 10(1), 79-84. academia.edu DOI
Address: Pecina Orlovaca, KSC Pale, Ulica Srpski ratnika no 4, 71420 Pale, Tel: +387-65-943-580, Tel: +387-57-227-132. E-mail:
Tel: +387-65-992-808. 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.

History

1975 first cave exploration.
1987 begin of development as a show cave.
2002 cave first opened to the public.
2004 16,000 years old cave bear bones discovered.
2009 cave bear bones stolen.
2010 participates in the project "Development of agritourism in mountain areas of BiH".
2011 declared a Natural Monument (IUCN category III).

Description

Pećina Orlovača (Orlovaca Cave) is a natural cave which was transformed into a cave museum. There is a wooden hut in front of the cave which is both ticket office and cave museum with display of bones and archaeological remains. Inside the cave there are also exhibits, like dioramas of prehistoric man. One of the highlights is a 16,000-year-old cave bear skeleton, which is the second-largest cave bear skeleton ever found.

The cave is famous for many findings, both archaeological remains from the Mesolithic and palaeontologic remains, especially of the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus). The bones were discovered rather lately in 2004, but unfortunately they were stolen in 2009. There are some endemic animals known from the cave, for example a cave beetle which was named after the cave.

The cave has many nice speleothems, especially stalactites and stalagmites. But there are also some helictites. The cave is also called the longest cave of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but thats actually long ago and not true anymore. It is a rather young show cave and quite well developed. Unfortunately the used coloured light.

The cave is long known among biospeleologists, since the early 20th century cave animals form here were published. The first was a cave insect, discovered in the narrow opening channel by Viktor Afelbek, curator of the Entomological Department of the National Museum in Sarajevo. It was identified as a new species by the famous coleopterist Edmund Reiter in 1913 and named Charonites zoppai orlovacensis. It was named ( Sava's Cave) after Sava Minić. He invited speleologists to explore "his" cave. In 1975 the brothers Miroslav and Božidar Kurtović of SD "Zelena Brda" from Trebinje, and Momčilo Piljević and Muhamed Hadžiabdić of the skiing and mountaineering society "Jahorina" actually explored the cave. The Entrance of the First Explorers 206 m long narroew crawl, an annoying obstacle. But then the cave opened, huge passages with speleothems and paleontological remains followed.

The idea to create a show cave immediately rose. Radenko Lazarević from the speleological society "Bosnia-Herzegovina Karst" from Sarajevo started in 1987 with the development of the show cave. In 1992, 220 m of tourist trail and a reception building had been built and there was electricity for the light system. Then the war began and the development was interrupted. It ended officially with the 1995 Dayton Agreement, but the country was devastated. A few years later the Faculty of Philosophy from East Sarajevo continued the development. A new access road and a staircase to the entrance were built, light was installed, and the tourist trail was extended to a length of 560 m. The cave was finally opened to the public in 2002, renamed Orlovača Cave after Orlovača hill (1,056 m asl) where it is located.

The cave formed in Middle Triassic limestones, underlain by insoluble Verfen sandstones, sandy shale and marls. As a result the water is blocked and forced to flow on top to the springs. The cave system has four interconnected levels, the lowest active and drains to the Sinjeva River. The natural entrance was in the level above and was occasionally reactivated during high flow. Due to the cave river both levels have few speleothems or sediments and no palaeontological remains. The fossil upper two levels though are rich in both speleothems and paleontological material. The highest level was once open to the surface and so it was used by cave bears. Exceptional are the so-called bear nests, pits in the clay where the bears stayed some time. The cave was frequented for hibernation, but also by pregnant females. The walls were polished by the bears at some points, which is thought to be a result of scratching due to parasites that lived in their fur. Due to the collapse of the entrance not only the bones, but also the speleothems were protected from human vandalism.