Today I visited the small village of Bystrá, where I had the opportunity to visit the Bystrianska Cave. Surrounded by limestone, this cave offered many different sites to see, such as stalactites and stalagmites, as well as a few different types of bats. I am sure that I say this to just about everything that I write about, but pictures just can’t do this cave justice.
We left right after lunch to the village of Bystrá, which is located about 45 minutes from my home city, Banska Bystrica. After we purchased our tickets into the cave, we had to wait a little while for the tour to begin, so I spent my time observing the nature and reading a bit about the cave itself. The cave is set in the low Horehronska valley on the southern side of the Nizke Tatry (Low Tatras). The cave system was first “officially” discovered by Jozef Kovalcik and the Holman brothers in April of 1926, however the cave had been known by the local people for long before then. The guided tour of the Bystrianska Cave only covers 580m of the 3000m of explored cave. The cave keeps a stable 5-7°C, with the humidity in the cave normally resting around 90%.
After waiting about 40 minutes, the tour began. We plunged into the tunnel on the side of the mountain, with the cave walls just big enough to fit through. Well, let me correct myself. I had no issue fitting through the cave, being only 5’4″ (163cm). My host family however, had to keep the heads down to keep from smashing their foreheads into the limestone ceilings. The cave did open up every so often, and when it did, it was absolutely stunning.
The wet stone was very interesting. I don’t know if I captured it well with my pictures, but the stone appeared to have a melted-wax look. The look of the stone was quite deceiving however, as it appeared to be rather soft to the touch, when in reality it was hard as… stone. Who would have guessed? Anyway, i’ll talk a little bit about the stalactites and the stalagmites. Water seeps through the limestone roof, and when it does this it mineralizes, and attains the calcium it needs to drip and form the stalactites and the stalagmites.
Although I was just visiting, there are some permanent residents to the cave: the bats. There are roughly 30 different species of bats living here in Slovakia, and eight of those can be found in the Bystrianska Cave. The Lesser Horseshoe Bat is the most common species of bat living in the Bystrianska Cave, with there being approximately 200 of them. The Greater Mouse-Eared Bat is also another abundant species in the cave, however I only saw one during our visit.
There around roughly 2400 different caves in Slovakia, with only a handful of them being accessible to the public. This was the first cave I have been able to see in Slovakia, and I am looking forward to being able to explore more in the future!
Jaskyňa – Cave
Pronounced like yaskenya in English
I plan on doing something special for post #100, but I have to kind of laugh at myself. I have misnumbered so many of my posts I am probable closer to 110 in actuality. No one reads the title anyway so it should be OK….