Mermerna Pecina

Shpella e Mermerit - Shpella e Mermert - Gadime Marble Cave - Shpella e Gadimës


Useful Information

Location: In Donje Gadimlje (Gadime e Ulët, Gadime village), Lipjan, Kosova. Near Liptan (Lioljan), 20 km south of Pristina (Prishtina). 360 km from Belgrade and 65 km from Skopje.
(42° 28′ 48,2″ N, 21° 12′ 19,9″ E)
Open: APR to OCT daily 8-12, 13-16.
Tours every 30 minutes.
[2019]
Fee: Adults EUR 2.50.
[2008]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave in marble
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=1,260 m, T=9.6-16 °C, A=638 m asl.
Guided tours: D=30 min, L=440 m.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility:
Bibliography: Jovan Petrovic (1975): Mermerna Pecina, 1975, 74pp, 30 photos. SB (Serbian)
Ahmet Tmava, Sabri Avdullahi1, Afat Serjani, Islam Fejza (2013): Human Impacts in a Tourist Karstic Gadime Cave (Kosova), International Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, February 2013. Vol. 2, No.2, ISSN 2305-8269 online
Address: Information: Pristina Tourist Office, Tel/Fax: +381-38-21-555.
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

1966 discovered by Ahmet Diti whilst building an extention to his house.
1971 explored by J. Petrovic and members of the Novi Sadi Natural Mathematics Faculty Speleo Group.
1976 the cave was opened as a show cave by the Zavod za zastitu prirode (Institute for Nature Conservation).

Description

The cave is situated in the village of Donje Gadimje on the eastern side of the Kosovo valley. It is a dentritic resurgence on two levels. Throughout its long evolution, many passages in the cave have become choked with mud and gravel which had to be removed before the cave could be opened up to the public.

The cave takes its name from the metamorphosed limestone in which it is formed. The Ulazna galerija (entrance passage) was completely choked and is devoid of speleothems. The Zapadna Galerija (Western Passage) consists of a maze of smaller passages with many dead ends. They show marvellous forms in mottled marble, eroded by river waters.

The Severna Galerijna (Northern Passage) contains the best speleothems in the cave which include some rare aragonite formations. Of special interest is the Veliko Jezero (The Big Lake), Kristalna Dvorana (Crystal Hall), Kristalno Jezero (Crystal Lake), Biserni Stupovi (Pearl Columns), Ljubauni Sastanak (Lovers Meeting Place) etc. Some parts of the ceiling are decorated with stalactites which take the form of organ pipes and transparent curtains.

The Istocnu Galerija (Eastern Passage) leads to the Dugi Kannal (Long Channel) and to the Plavi Kanal (Blue Channel) which is connected to Dvorana Suza (Hall of Tears) containing many straw stalactites. Plavi Kanal (Blue Channel) is noted for its blue coloured speleothems, hence its name.

A large part of Mermerna Pecina is still unexplored as many of the passages and chambers are still choked with river borne deposits.

Whilst the cave was being opened up for tourists large amounts of debris were removed, altering the micro climate. The consequences of this are still being studied.

It is the aragonite speleothems which makes this cave unique in Serbia. The variety and fantastic forms of relief ensure that this cave is not only the most important of its kind in southern Serbia, but making it the most important tourist attraction in the area.


Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.

This cave has a multitude of names, or actually it has two in various languages. It is known under the name Мермерна пећина or Mermerna pećina in Serbian, Shpella e Mermerit in Albanian, which means Marble Cave in English. It seems this name was intended to draw tourists. While this cave is actually formed in marble, the metamorphic variety of limestone, the name Marble Cave is quite often used all over the world. Originally it was simply named Gadime pećina, Shpella e Gadimës in Albanian, or Gadime cave after the town Gadime e Ulët where it is located. Naming a cave after its location is not really creative, but in this case seems to be a better idea, as this name is at least unique, which "Marble Cave" is not.

Quite nice is, that the cave entrance is in the middle of town. The town was built at the foot of a marble hill in a strange L shape. Obviously the inhabitants preferred to build on the valley floor and not on the hill. The entrance was discovered by Ahmet Diti, a house owner who lived obviously at the edge of the town right on the marble. Some say he was digging the foundation for an extension of his house, others say he was laying tiles. There is even the version that he lost a tool in a crevice and when he tried to recover it he found the cave. Some sources say this was in 1966, other say it was in 1969. As you can see the infos about this cave are quite warbled.

Since the discovery of the cave a lot has changed. Today the house of Ahmet Diti is gone, replaced by a cave entrance with cafe, pizzeria, and ticket office. The pizzeria is recommended for good food at a reasonable prices. The cave tours are short but worthwhile. Unfortunately it is unclear when they actually start. We guess its best to just buy a ticket and have something to read while you wait. As far as we understood, you will not wait longer than half an hour. The war is long over and tourism to Serbia has increased and today the cave has more visitors than ever.

The cave is guided as a "dripstone cave", the fantasy forms of the stalactites and stalagmites are explained by the guide at length. So we want to give you additional info on the really important things you can see at this cave. The cave has formed inside marble, the passages have strange forms on the walls which are a result of the marble solution. So have a look at the fine structure of the rock, colours and forms at the walls and ceiling. And the cave has also a special speleothem, which is quite rare, named aragonite. It is chemically the same as calcite dripstones, but it has a different crystal form. It forms strange branches pointing in all directions. There are several patches which are quite impressive.