Caves are known to man for ten thousands of years. The history of the first cave visits is written on the walls of prehistoric painted caves. But later in history people became superstitious and fearful about caves. They were thought to be the entrance to hades, the hell, the home of trolls or other fabulous fairy tale creatures. In this times many caves were dubbed Devils Hole, Unicorn Cave or something similar. And mostly people were too afraid to visit them.
But there are some extraordinary exceptions, which we tried to collect. This is a list of early developments in cave tourism, what later became show caves or commercial caves. It is far from being complete, but we hope we added the most important milestones.
|1213||Postojnska Jame||Slovenia||The world's oldest show cave with the first known of visit.|
|1452||Jasovská Jaskyna||Slovak Republic||The oldest inscription in a cave. Visits maybe even earlier.|
|1504||Grotte d'Osselle||Jura, France||First cave visits, as far as we know only a local legend.|
|20-MAY-1516||Sontheimer Höhle||Germany||Germany's oldest show cave, with the first official guided tour during a visit of Herzog Ulrich von Württemberg.|
|APR-1668||Baumannshöhle||Germany||Hans Jürgen Becker becomes the first authorized cave guide of the world.|
|1806||Grand Caverns||U.S.A.||The first show cave in the U.S.A., was known under the name Weyer's Cave when it was opened to the public.|
|1812||Great Rutland Cavern||Great Britain||England's oldest show cave opened to the public.|
|1816||Mammoth Cave NP||U.S.A.||The second show cave in the U.S.A., this was the year formal guided tours started.|
|1832||Grotta Parolini||Italy||Italy's oldest show cave opened to the public.|
|1846||Jasovská Jaskyna||Slovakia||first opened to the public by Alojz Richter, an abbot of Jasov Monastery.|