Peștera Izbândiș

Useful Information

Location: Șuncuiuș.
(46.933400, 22.520385)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: KarstKarst Spring
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=2 km.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Nicolae Chidioșan, Ioan Emodi (1983): Descoperirile arheologice din Peștera Izbândiș (comuna Șuncuiuș) aparținând grupului cultural Igrița Crisia XIII 1983. 17-32 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 Romanian - Limba Română
Address: Peștera Izbândiș.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1921 Izbandis Cave explored by E. Bokor.
1929 Izbandis Cave explored by René Jeannel and Emil Racoviţă.
1942 Izbandis Cave explored by H. Kessler.
1951 Izbandis Cave explored by Pierre Alfred Chappuis and René Jeannel.
1984 speleologist and diver Gabor Halasi dies at a depth of 40 m, 200 m from the entrance.
1999 after the removal of a sedimentary plu 1 km of new passages is discovered.
2014 commemorative plaque placed at the entrance in memory of Gabor Halasi.


Peștera Izbândiș (Izbandis Cave) or also Izbucul Izbândiș (Izbandis Karst Spring) is located at the exit of Șuncuiuș commune in Bihor County, towards the village of Zece Hotare. The Izbândiș Karst Spring is the deepest in Romania, at about 114 m, and is located in the Pădurea Craiului Mountains. The spring has been the subject of numerous explorations by experienced divers. Unfortunately there has also been a diving accident in 1984, when cave diver Gabor Halasi died at a depth of 40 m, 200 m from the entrance, for unknown reasons. He was a rather famous caver and 30 years later a commemorative plaque was placed at the spring by the local cavers.

The water of the river which emerges from the spring was used to power several water mills. While the mills are all gone by now, the spring is still used as drinking water for the nearby village Şuncuiuş. The catchment area has a size of some 20 km², the yield of the spring is one of the highest in the Pădurea Craiului Mountains. The connection to various known ponors in the area were proven by dye tracing experiments, for example Ponoror Brezului, Ponoror Olfului, or Ponoror Tomii. Unfortunately its quite deep which makes diving very difficult and dangerous.

The cave system has at least two levels, an upper level about 20 m above the spring which is fossil, and the lower level which is bigger and completely water filled. The upper level was explored by numerous scientists during the 20th century, including the famous Emil Racoviţă from Cluj. Skeletal remains of Ursus spelaeus, Cervus elephus, and remains of prehistoric visitors were found. The findings are today in the collection of the Museum of the Country of Crișurilor in Oradea. The fauna of the cave includes coleoptera, diptera, trichoptera, araneids, mites and isopods. The cave requires the descent a 10 m high vertical wall right at the entrance, which hopefully ends the exploration trips by amateurs. There is also a gate which was built by the local cavers.

The shafts connecting the two levels were originally clogged by loose sediments, but the cavers removed the blocking debris. From this point on the two caves were connected forming the Peştera şi Izbucul Izbândiş (Izbândiș Cave and Spring). In total a cave system of almost 2 km has so far been explored. Water-filled caves often reach the surface at some distance from the resurgence and, once reached, there is a river cave behind. If this is the case here is unknown, so far this point has not been reached, despite numerous dives by Romanian and foreign cave divers. However, the first siphon, in which the diver died in 1984, can now be avoided by using the upper level to reach the passage behind.

The cave is not accessible for tourists, but the spring is well worth a visit, with its deep blue Vauclusian entrance. The 10 by 8 m big lake has a depth of 10 m at the far end.