პრომეთეს მღვიმე

P’rometes Mghvime - Prometheus Cave - Kumistavi Cave - Tshaltubskaya - Tskaltubo Cave


Useful Information

Location: 5 km northwest of Tskaltubo city, Tskaltubo District.
(42.376810, 42.600834)
Open: All year daily .
[2021]
Fee: Adults GEL , Children (6-17) GEL , Children (0-5) free, Students (-26) GEL , Seniors (65+) GEL , Disabled GEL .
Groups (+): Adults GEL , Children (6-16) GEL , Students (-26) GEL , Seniors (65+) GEL , Disabled GEL .
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightLED Lighting LightColoured Light
Dimension: L=11,000 m.
Guided tours: L=1,060 m, D=60 min. V=100,000/a [2017] V=175,000/a [2018]
Photography:
Accessibility:
Bibliography: Givi Gigineishvili, Zurab Tatashidze, Kukuri Tsikarishvili (2007): Geographo-Hydrological Arguments on Possible Expansion of the Tskaltubo Cave System, Bulletin of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences, vol. 175, no. 3, 2007 Bookonline pdf
Jumber Jishkariani, Zurab Tatashidze, Kukuri Tsikarishvili, Omar Lanchava (2010): Main Results of Complex Research into the Tskaltubo Cave System, Bulletin of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences, vol. 4, no. 2, 2010
Address: Kumistavi Cave, Tshaltubo. Georgia.
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

1983 discovered and explored by a group of Georgian speleologists.
1985 start of planning.
1989 start of development.
1990 project stopped due to the political situation and lack of money.
2007 restoration of the cave.
2007 declared a natural monument.
2010 visited by the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili.
2010 installation of LED light by GermTec.
26-MAY-2011 show cave opened to the public.
2017 cave museum opened.
2019 cave light modernized by GermTec.

Description

პრომეთეს მღვიმე (Prometheus Cave) was opened as a show cave in 2011 and is the youngest show cave in Georgia. The cave was visited by the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili in 2010. He suggested the new name of the cave, because there is a local legend that Prometheus was chained to the mountains in this area. So the cave was renamed and is now known as Prometheus Cave. According to the Greek mythology Prometheus stole the fire from the gods and gave it to humanity. He was punished with eternal torment, bound to a rock an eagle was sent to eat his liver. His liver grows back overnight, only to be eaten again the next day. After some versions of the legend he was bound at Mount Elbrus (100 km) or at Mount Kazbek (160 km) in the Caucasus Mountains. So that's not really close to the cave. Actually there is a Georgian Epic about Amirani, who resembles the classical Prometheus. In this legend Amirani was chained to the Khvamli rock where birds would eat his organs. This rock is only 16 km from the cave, so it would have made more sense to call it Amirani Cave. Obviously a president is right, even if he is wrong.

The cave tour shows Argonauts Hall, Kolkheti Hall, Medea Hall, Love Hall, Prometheus Hall and Iberia Hall. They say that 6 out of 22 chambers are developed, which is such an absurd claim, we had to cite it. The weird sentence "The caves feature spaces — referred to as halls — of varying depth and width" is quite funny. There is also a cave river and visitors can pay an additional fee to leave the cave by boat.

ყუმისთავის მღვიმე (Kumistavi Cave) was discovered, named, and explored in 1983 by a group of Georgian speleologists. Jumber Jishkariani led the team, which consisted of Tamaz Kobulashvili, Amiran Jamrishvili, Vakhtang Kapanadze, and Kote Nizharadze. The cave is part of a large cave system in a karst area which is named Sataphlia-Tskaltubo karst massif, north of the city Tskaltubo. After a few years the cave was generally called ღლიანის მღვიმე (Tshaltubskaya, Cave of Tshaltubo), after the nearby city. Because of the difficulty to rewrite the russian name in Latin letters it is also written Tsqaltubo or Tskaltubo. It was never renamed, people just started to use the other name in publications, and it stuck.

The development of the cave as a show cave started in 1985, only two years after its discovery and exploration. After the works were going on for more than a year, the trail was already completed, the project was stopped due to financial problems. For some reasons today the claim that the political situation after the Soviet Union collapsed was responsible, but the cave development stopped in 1986 or 87 and the Soviet Union collapsed etween 1989 and 1992. But the political situation explains why the cave development was postponed for 17 years. While the cave was closed for the normal tourist, there was a possibility to visit it even during those years. Numerous tour operators offered cave trekking tours into the cave, which actually entered on the abandoned trails to go beyond into the undeveloped part of the cave system.

In 2007, with increasing tourism in Georgia, the cave development was restarted. The development was financed by the government and was obviously intended to create an attractive destination for tourism. In spring 2010 the reconstruction of the road to the cave was started, and the most spectacular feature of the new cave was created, a light system based on state-of-the-art LED lights. The system was built and installed by the German company GermTec, which is specialized on LED light systems for show caves. Unfortunately the cave light is coloured, which is - even with the most modern technology - quite annoying. In the same year the President visited and the cave was renamed and only one year later it was finally opened to the public. Today there is a Visitor Center with a museum, a restaurant, a hotel, and numerous other venues, which developed around the most popular natural monument destination of Georgia. The cave is visited by 100,000 to 200,000 visitors per year, so we guess it's essential to avoid Holidays and weekends.