Орлова чука

Orlova Čuka - Orlova Tschuka - Orlova Chuka Cave


Useful Information

Location: 2,5 km from Pepelina on the left slope of the valley of the Čherni Lom river.
32 km from Russe, 11 km from Dve Mogili, 31 km northeast of Byala. 45 minutes walk from the railway station of Tabachka.
(43.59326, 25.9602)
Open: APR to OCT daily 9-17.
Tours every hour.
[2021]
Fee: Adults BGN 6, Children (6-18) BGN 3.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=13.437 m, VR=45 m, T=14 °C.
Guided tours: L=1,500 m, D=45 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: Alexander Radulov (2002): Quaternary karst in the valley of Rusenski Lom River and its tributaries, Geological Institute,Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Ph.D. thesis. български - Bulgarian online
Address: Tel: +359-8855-00294.
Община Две могили, гр. Две могили, бул. "България" 84, Област Русе, България 7150, Tel: +359-8141-92-05.
Municipality of Dve Mogili, Dve Mogili, 84 Bulgaria Blvd., Ruse county, Bulgaria 7150, Tel: +359-8141-92-05. 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.

History

JUL-1941 cave discovered by the shepherd Stoyan Spasov.
1959 opened to the public, staircase with 124 steps and artificial entrance tunnel built.
1961 paleolithic remains discovered.
10-OCT-1962 cave and the adjoining area of 7,5 ha declared a natural landmark with decree #2810.
1978 declared an archaeological monument of national importance.

Description

Пещера "Орлова чука" (Orlova Čuka Cave) is one of the longest caves in Bulgaria. The entrance opens to the romantic valley of the Cherni Lom river, 40 m above the river. It was formed by groundwater around the Pliocene/Quaternary boundary, when the valley floor was 40 m higher at the level of the cave. The cave is formed in cretaceous limestone, deposited on the bottom of the former Sarmat Sea.

The cave entrance is a huge cave portal which is located in the middle of a south facing cliff. It was known and accessible for the last 200,000 years, but was forgotten since Roman times. It was rediscovered by a shepherd on a hot summer day in July 1941. He followed his sheep, which took refuge from the summer heat at a place where cold air came out of the mountain. In 1959 the cave was developed as a show cave, with trails amd electric light. To make the cave easily accessible, a stone staircase with 124 step was built from the plateau above to the entrance. Also an artificial tunnel was built into the cave. There is a hut, which offers accommodation for tourists, scientists and speleologists, and a pub or restaurant.

The first chamber is dubbed concert hall and is actually used for events like concerts, for example during the yearly cave festival in August. It has also the biggest stalactite of the cave with a diameter of 50 cm and a length of 3.5 m. The Great Gallery has a series of rimstone pools. The biggest chamber on the tour is named Golemite sipei (Big Scree).

The cave is rather cold, 14 °C is quite cold with Bulgarian summer temperatures outside. It also requires many steps and there are narrow and low sections which require stooping. It is Bulgaria, so the locals speak Bulgarian, some of them probably Russian. Guided tours are held in Bulgarian, but the guide is quite a show man and beneath singing and playing piano on stalactites, he also speaks a few sentences in English and French. Don't expect detailed information on bats and scientific topics though. Also, on days with a low number of visitors the cave might de-facto open at 11.

The cave contains numerous archaeological remains from 200,000 to 40,000 years ago. Older layers produced Palaeolithic finds like flint arrowheads and the bones of cave bear and deer. The upper cave sediments contained remains of the Thracians, which lived here during the Bronze Age and the time of the Romans.

Orlova Čuka is home to a huge bat colony, and during their maternity phase in May or June the visitors are not allowed in this part of the cave for about a month. Biologists from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences continually supervise the bats. They mounted cameras around the colony and so visitors can see how bats are born in the nearby hut "Edelweiss". 29 species of bats are known in Europe, 13 of them are found here. Three are included in the IUCN Red List, the long-fingered bat (Myotis capaccinii), the Mediterranean horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus еuryale) and the Mehely's horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus mehelyi).

The karst area around the river Russenski Lom in northeastern Bulgaria is full of caves. 56 caves were discovered and mapped so far. The area is called Lomovete, which is also the name of the narrow gorges. The rivers are called Rusenski Lom with its tributaries Cherni Lom, Beli Lom and Malki Lom.