Peştera Comarnic

Comarnic Cave

Pestera de la Pârâul Ponicova - Cave of the Ponicova Sink


Useful Information

Location: Comarnic, Muntii Aninei (Mountains of Aninei).
From Resita N58 towards Carasova/Anina, turn left after 9km to Iabalcea, 5km gravel road 87. From Iabalcea continue on road for 3km to the forestry hut Padina Seaca. Here the road becomes bad, only possible with 4WD. It is recommended to follow the road by foot 3km, 45min.
(45.178566, 21.948452)
Open: APR to SEP Sat, Sun 10:30-15:30.
Tours at 10:30, 13, 15:30.
[2020]
Fee: Adults RON 15, Children RON 10.
[2020]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave. Upper Plopa limestone, Oxfordian-Kimmeridgian in age (Upper Jurassic), and Barremian-Aptian in age (Lower Cretaceous).
Light: Carbide lamps, or bring own electric torches.
Dimension: L=6,203m, VR=102m, A=440m asl, T=8-11°C, H=85-100%.
Guided tours: D=2h, L=2,000m. Min=5.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Adrian Iurkiewicz, Silviu Constantin, Bogdan Badescu (1996): Sisteme Carstice Majore din zona Resita-Moldova Noua, Asociatia speologica "Exploratorii" Resita 1996, ISBN 973-0-00314-9
Ioan Povară (2019): Domanului Mountains: Comarnic Cave (Pestera de la Cantonul Comarnic, Pestera din Ogasul Ponicovei), Cave and Karst Systems of Romania, Springer Series Cave and Karst Systems of the World, 2019. ISSN 2364-4591, ISSN 2364-4605. Springer
Address: Administratia Parcului National Semenic – Cheile Carasului, strada Petru Maior, nr. 69A, Reşiţa, Caras – Severin, Tel: +40-255-222-200, Fax: +40-255-222-200.
Nicolae Ifca, Tel: +40-763-276-349.
Marian Gheorghescu , Tel: +40-766-854-704.
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

1856 discovered.
1912 geological description of the cave by Z. Schretér.
1921 speleobiologic research by E. Bokor.
1929 speleobiologic research by R. Jeannel.
1933-1939 mineralogic and palaeontological research by E. Balogh.
1946 declared a natural reserve.
1961 research by L. Botoşăneanu, A. Negrea, and Şt. Negrea.
1965-1969 research by V. Sencu, A. Negrea and Şt. Negrea.
1967 survey by E. Balogh.
1994 declared a natural reserve by the County Council of Caras-Severin through law HCJ nr 8/20.12.1994.
2000 included in the Protected Natural Zones of National Interest under the law 5/2000-Section III, part of the Parcul Național Semenic-Cheile Carașului.

Description

Peştera Comarnic is named after the nearby Canton Comarnic, a forestry hut. It is the biggest cave of the Banat, the mountainous area in the south western corner of Romania, north of the Danube. Near the huge building of the forestry service is the small hut of the speleologists. The meadow here is a possibility for camping. It is also the meeting point of the road and numerous walking trails.

The cave has three different levels. The upper level, etajul superior is dry, the lower level etajul inferior is an active river cave. The middle level is sometimes flooded, during times of high water. The tour shows most of the upper level, which is rich in speleothems. Only the Sala Virginá (Virgin Chamber) is not accessible to the visitors, to protect it from damages.

Twenty years ago it was a typical Romanian show cave, there were no regular tours or open hours. During summer Jerry aka Romulus Vuia lived at the forestry hut. He guided anyone who came along, even foreign tourists as he speaks French and a little English. After appointment guides fluently speaking German and English are available too. They were organized by the local caving club, who did exploration and cave trekking tours.

This has changed in 2000, when the cave became part of the new Parcul Național Semenic-Cheile Carașului. The cave is now officially managed by the National Park. There are regular open hours on Weekends during summer and three scheduled tours. Nevertheless it is still possible to make reservations for groups, even in foreign languages. Some rough parts of the trail were developed with stone steps and railings, but the cave still has no light. We recommend to bring a helmet with a headlamp and good walking shoes. However, helmets and lamps are provided by the guide to those without. Despite being rather rough, this is a walking tour, there is no crawling or getting dirty involved. The cave is closed with a gate and it is not possible to visit without a guide. While there is a fee for the cave tour, you also have to pay the fee for the National Park. According to their website:

Send an SMS to the number 7473 with the text: “SEMENIC”, for “PRODUCT NAME”. SMS cost: 2 EUR + VAT. You will receive a confirmation SMS as soon as possible. Keep this message during your visit! The lack of a confirmation SMS means that the payment has not been made. The visiting rate is valid for two days from the date of issuing the SMS.

The Pestera de la pârâul Ponicova is the same cave system but another entrance. It is the resurgence of the cave river which sinks at pârâul Ponicova, pârâul is the Romanian word for sink, swallow hole or ponor.