Снежанка

Snežanka Peštera - Snejanka Cave - Snow-White Cave


Useful Information

Location: 4km south-west of Peštera, 8km north of Batak.
Bataška Planina (Batak mountains), Rodopi (Western Rhodopes). 20km South of Pazardžik.
From Pazardžik follow road 37 south, behind Peštera, on the left bank of the Novomahalenska river. Signposted single lane road to the cave, 20 min walk. (42°0′12″N, 24°16′13″E)
Open: Summer daily 9-17:15.
Winter Mon-Fri 10-16.
[2008]
Fee: Adults EUR 1.30
[2001]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: electric.
Dimension: L=145m, T=6°C.
Guided tours: L=220m, D=45min. V=10,000/a
Photography:
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Dietmar Sömer (2001): Snzhanka. Die "Schneewittchen"-Höhle. Eine Schauhöhle in Bulgarien, Karst/Höhle, 10/2001, pp22-24. (Deutsch - German)
Address: Kurena Tourism Association, 16 Ivan Popov St., Peshtera, Mobile: +359-35-02359, Tel: +359-896-715-972.
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

03-JAN-1961 discovered by a group of climbers.
1968 developed, electric light and opened to the public.
1979 declared a natural landmark.

Description

photography
Snežanka Peštera. Public Domain.
photography
Snežanka Peštera. A formation known as cave udder. Public Domain.

Snežanka Peštera is a rather small cave, but it is exceptionally rich in speleothems. However, the speleothems are not generally white, but yellow, brown, white or blueish. At the entrance huge stalagmites dominate, later the ceiling is covered by soda straws, some pillar-like stalagmites are of impressive beauty. Most dripstones are wet and active, and fortunately there are no signs of vandalism so far.

Some 10cm to 20cm long curtains in the last chamber sound when they are hit softly. Cave descriptions tell, you should not hit them yourself, as the guide knows which ones sound best and how to avoid breaking them. Actually it is a bad idea to hit speleothems, so most caves of the world where this was practiced years ago, have abandoned it by now. We hope the Bulgarians will learn this too.

The cave is home to four species of bats, Greater Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum), Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros), Geoffroy’s Bat (Myotis emarginatus), and Greater Mouse-eared Bat (Myotis myotis). None is endangered, but nevertheless they are protected.

While the cave is one of the most beautiful show caves of the country, it is rather hard to reach. There is a single lane road to the parking lot from the town Peštera. From here it is a rather steep 800m long trail to the cave entrance which is called ecotrail. There are numerous signs with jokes along the trial to keep visitors going. However, the situation is better than a few years ago, before the road was opened. At this time it was a one hour walk to the cave.

The cave was discovered accidentally by the three climbers Boris Eftimov, Gencho Kotzev and Georgi Zlatarev, members of the local tourism association. On 03-JAN-1961 they went climbing and discovered the cave early in the morning. According to legend they entered the cave and were so captivated by the beauty, they stayed the whole day. In the same year the cave was explored by scientists from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. One of the scientists, Prof. Alexi Petrov, named the cave after a stalagmite in the Magic Hall, which is also called snow white and resembles a womans' figure. He was obviously inspired by the fairy tale.

A Thracian tribe lived in this cave during Iron Age, some 600 BC. The remains are bones, pieces of earthenware and a bronze needle. Excavations took place in the floor of the Big Hall, soon after the cave was discovered in 1961. The circular fire place which was excavated is shown on the tour.