Baia de Fier, Gorj county.
In southern part of the Mountains of Paring, in the karst area Polovragi-Cernadia. From the road Târgu Jiu to Râmnicu Vâlcea turn left in Poenari, 7 km to Baia de Fier. The cave is located at the entrance of Galbenul river gorges. Munṭii Căpăṭânii (Capatanii Mountains, literally: Mountains of the Skull).
MAY to SEP daily 9-20.
OCT to APR daily 9-17.
Tours every hour on the full hour, last tour 1 hour before closing.
Adults RON 5, Children (6-18) RON 2, Students RON 2, Seniors RON 2.
Photography Permit RON 5.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||L=573m, D=1h, Min=4, Max=100.|
Gabriel Diaconu et al (1980):
44 pp 67
|Address:||Peştera Muierlor, Baia de Fier, Gorj County|
|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.
|1870||first written record of the cave.|
|1957||first cave in Romania with electric light.|
The name Peştera Muierilor (Women's Cave) was given to this cave by the people from Baia de Fier. In the old times, when the men fought in frequent wars, the women (and children) were hiding inside the cave. It was a secret place, its location only known by the women, so it became the women's cave.
The cave has four levels. The upper level, 40 m above the ground of the gorge is open to the public. A horizontal passage of 580 m was developed with paths and electric light. The cave is entered at the northern entrance. After only 20 m, the extreme richness in speleothems starts. Icicle like stalactites, organs and huge stalagmite formations can be seen. The most impressive stalagmite is called the Little Dome. Then in the Altar Hall the Blooded Rock has an exceptional red colouring which resembles blood. It is caused by oxidized iron or rust. The red coulour is similar to terra cotta, and a result of higher temperatures during the oxidation process. Under lower temperature the result would have been brownish.
The Cupola is a 17 m high chamber, which is home to a bat colony. Bats of the spieces Myotis, Miniopterus, and Rhinolophus live here. The typical sound and the odor of methane is overwhelming. Finally the eastern entrance is reached, which opens in the cliff side of the Galbenul Gorge. The cave was formed by the water of the river Galbenul. Every level of the cave represents one stage of the river cutting its valley into the limestone rocks.
Continuing in the main passage, we reach a chamber with the restored skeleton of a cave bear (Ursus spelaeus). The bears were discovered in the Bears Gallery in the level below. This part is not accessible to visitors, as it is closed for protection. Access is strictly restricted to scientific research. This cemetery of prehistoric animals still contains numerous cave bear skeletons plus the remains of hyenas, lions, foxes, wild goats, wolves, and wild boars. Even some human remains from the Mousterien have been discovered.
The guide uses a formation of flowstone to produce music by knocking the ribs with a small stick. The passage now becomes wetter, with many pools filled up in spring during snow melt. In summer some of them become completely dry. This passage is sometimes very low, with the lowest parts less than a metre high. The Turk's Hall was named after a huge stalagmite, which looks like a person with an oriental mantle and a fez on its head. This is the Turk. The hall has numerous other formations with names like Odalisque, Santa Claus, and Wounded Hen Hawk. Returning to the southern entrance, the cave is left here. The path back to the entrance offers many views of the Galbenul river gorge.
The name of the Cave of the Women comes from the fact that, on dry summer days, the women sat at the southern mouth of the cave. The cool breeze from inside made their work of twisting the thread much easier. They used to go inside, to soak the flax and hemp in the pools of dripping water.