Rocks and caves in the Przemsza area

The Biała Przemsza area is a paradise for climbers and cavers both beginners and those seeking thrills and challenges. No wonder it has become a mecca for climbers. The Caves, with their unique stalactite ornaments, have tempted Polish and foreign cavers for many years. The beautiful rocks and caves majestically integrated into the surrounding woods and fields provide the excellent setting for waking and hiking, especially as there is no shortage of trails in the area. The most interesting caves are concentrated in three places: in the Wodąca Valley, along the educational route Góra Stołowa in Jaroszowiec and in the surrounding area of Klucze.


The Caves in the Wodąca Valley


In order to see the most beautiful rocks and caves one should go to the Wodąca Valley and follow the Stone Age route.  It is 10 km long and was designed in 2005. The route leads through the most beautiful places. Tourists will be able to see from up close the Clock Rocks (Skały Zegarowe) with the Zegar and Jasna caves. The top of the highest of the rocks (ca. 486 m) offers unforgettable views. Hikers encounter equally beautiful landscapes among the field ducts leading to Kyciowa Rock (one of the few non-forested inselbergs in the area. The additional natural charm of the formation is its shape, resembling an elephant) and to the pit hiding the Jasna Strzegowska cave. It is worth pausing to contemplate the so-called living water source (the source of Tarnówka), in which the relic animal species of Crenobia alpina has survived to our times.


Traces from 500 thousand years ago in the Biśnik Cave


As its name suggests, the route runs through territories inhabited by our ancestors hundreds of thousands years ago. The Biśnik cave is the oldest site of Neanderthal culture findings in Poland. There, archaeologists led by Professor Assoc. Krzysztof Cyrk of the Nicholas Copernicus University in Toruń, discovered  traces of pre- Neanderthal beings dating back to  500-400 thousand years ago. The site is also unique for its traces of as many as eighteen attempts of settling by groups of Neanderthals, as well as older human species. Excavations revealed numerous bones of hunted animals and employed tools, fashioned of flint, bone and horn.


Natural light in the Jasna Cave


Equally interesting is the Jasna Cave – a wide arterial cavern, 42 m long and separated by a large stone pillar in the middle. As the name points, its interior is indeed bright, owing to the wide entrances and window like apertures, which ensures the access of natural light. The cave used to be inhabited by people from the Aurignacian cultures, between ca 40-10 thousands of years ago (upper Palaeolithic period).

In the old factory of flint axes – the Jasna Strzegowska Cave


The Jasna Strzegowska Cave has been explored for a long time. Excavations uncovered Upper Palaeolithic finds (30 000 BC) from the Aurignacian culture. The archaeologists found animal remains, e.g. those of a cave bear. At the summit of the rock, the remains of a settlement with flint workshops which mass-produced flint axes were discovered. The chamber is well-lit and mostly quite spacious. The roof has several skylight apertures. Further on, a passage leads to the deeper portion of the cave, dubbed the Fox Holes – a small tunnel with narrow branches.

Twice a year in the Zegar (Clock) Cave

The name stems from the folk legend according to which on the Midsummer Night and Christmas Eve, a clock strikes somewhere within the cave. Hence the name, Clock Cave. The cave has three entrances, situated along the 25 m rocky area. The oldest evidence of the cave being inhabited dates back at least to the Palaeolithic era, ca. 50-60 thousand of years ago (such as stone tools, bones and teeth of the cave bear, lion, hyena and reindeer).


The caves along the educational route “Góra Stołowa” in Jaroszowiec

Stalactites in the Błotna (Mud) Cave – only with specialist equipment

The Błotna (Mud) Cave (the Klucze commune) is one of the most crucial recent speleological discoveries in the Polish Jurassic Upland. The Mud Cave is the fifth deepest cave of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland. Its name stems from the fact that the walls and bottom of this cleft cavern are slippery and very hard to move around due to a layer of mud. Its exploration requires the use of specialist equipment. Climbing skills are also necessary, especially with some of the stone steps. The vertical cave is 42 m deep, and the length of its corridors reaches up to 120 m. The cavern is located in the central part of the Stołowa Mountain, ca. 2 km north of Jaroszowiec. The entrance is a well-like formation, built on a wide tectonic cleft which is 23 m deep. Its passage is especially challenging when leaving the cave, for the width may sometimes narrow down to as little as 25 cm. The corridors sometimes expand into larger spaces, such as the Dripstone Hall or the Lower Chamber. Due to the technical difficulties when exploring, and its recent discovery (1989), the cave may boast some interesting dripstone formations, which has remained almost intact. Here, one may admire dripstone layers, large stalactites, woolly formations, as well as draperies, rice field formations and in the lower parts of the cave (in the alluvium and on its surface) broken remnants of large stalactites and stalagmites.


Two levels of the Pod Porzeczką (Under the Currants) Cave

Pod Porzeczką (Under the Currants) Cave is a vertically formed cavern, situated near Ostra Góra (the north-eastern summit of Stołowa Mountain), north of Jaroszowiec. The name stems from the wild currant shrubs surrounding the entrances. The cave is 67 m long and 15 m deep and has two levels. Its roof and bottom is formed by multiple stone blocks wedged against one another. The dripstone formations are scant here. Despite the vertical formation, the cave is easy to access and tour. The more exposed parts may be accessed by chimneying. However, one must be careful – the wedged blocks may sometimes be quite dangerous.


Interesting to explore - the Lodowa (Ice) Cave


The Lodowa (Ice) Cave’s microclimate is quite interesting. After winter has passed, snow may lie here even up to late spring. The cavern, long known among the locals, is situated northwest of the Jaroszowiec centre, on the summit Pod Wieżą (447 m above sea level) which is the highest point of the Stołowa Mountain. The cave entrance may be found in the 5th segment of the educational trail “Góra Stołowa”. The cave is 30.5 m long and 5.4 m deep. Its exploration poses no difficulties and does not require any lighting equipment. The cave forms a large vertical cleft, largely exposed from the top. It has two levels. To access the upper one, one must leave the cave, get around the cleft edge from the north and access the cave’s upper part through a 1.5 m rock step. The Ostra Mountain area has several smaller caverns and shelter caves such as: one shelter near the Lodowa Cave, the Konfesjonał (Confessional) Cave, the Nad Błotną shelter, the W Cyrku (Circus) cave in Stołowa Mountain, The “Under the Lodowa” Cave, the Ku Wieży (To the Tower) shelter cave, the Na Ostrej Górze shelter cave, the Szczelina z Mostami (Cleft with Bridges) shelter cave and the Jubileuszowa (Jubilee) Cave.


Cave Nad Kopalnią (Over the Mine)


is situated south of Jaroszowiec, on a hill near the now closed opencast excavations. The rocks are subject to protection. In the summit part, there is located the vertical opening to a tectonic cave which is 5 m deep.  The bottom is a small 2 m wide chamber. Near the cave, there is access to a 10 m corridor, leading to the other side of the rock.


The caves around Klucze


The Mąciwody cave – entrance through a well!

Picturesque white rocks tower also over the village of Klucze e.g.: Maśnica 408 m above sea level,  Kamyk 418 m or Dupnica 421 m above sea level.

One of the most interesting caves is the Mąciwody Cave – discovered by chance while drilling a utility well. The cave entrance is situated in the well on private premises at no. 12 Poległych Street in Klucze. This makes its exploration harder since the owner’s permission is necessary.

The interior may be accessed through a 5 m cased well, evolving into a natural sedimentary cavern. 5 m above the cave bottom, there is a corridor reaching a fairly high tectonic chamber which branches into several small corridors. The total length of the cave reaches 195 m. The unique feature of this cavern is the constant presence of water. The dripstone formations are scant – though one should note the stalagmites and dripstone layers in the chamber.

The Kamyk Cave for the brave

It is situated in a woody area under the Kamyk summit which also functions as a viewing point (at the border between Kwaśniów Dolny and Cieślin). The cave is ca. 20 m long. Its entrance from the north is a very tricky one and has to be accessed by crawling. However, the main corridor already reaches up to 1.5 m. After ca. eight metres, one can see in the roof an oval cavity. The corridor then proceeds to the southern entrance. It is then, a route for the bravest of tourists.

Ocland has a very interesting system of caves in the gorge Cheile Varghisului. A hiking trail along the small Varghis river leads there (the locals claim that to the Almasi cave only – 21 km from Ocland). From its source in the Harghita mountains, the river broke through a huge limestone massif and over years created high rock walls and towers with numerous caves inside. They have set up here at five visible levels. Large caves can be found on the lower levels, close to the river (Balázs Orbán / the Almasi cave - Pesterea Meresti in Romanian, Lócsűr, Kőcsűr, Tatárlik etc.) These areas were known and used by the primitive man - during the excavations archaeologists found the remains of several stone-age cultures.

The Bielska Cave (the entrance at a height of 885 m above sea level) is the only cave available to visitors in the High Tatras. It is located on the northern slope of the peak Kobyli Wierch. In 1896, Bielska was the first cave in the world where electric lighting was installed.  The total length of the cave is 1752 m, 1001 m of which are available to tourists.

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