Among the many natural beauties that Serbia can boast of are more than 2,000 caves. Unfortunately, only a small number of them have been explored, arranged and made accessible. While many hidden underground gems are patiently waiting for someone to discover them, others have been attracting the attention of speleologists and tourists for decades, thanks to their magnificent underground halls, corridors, rivers, waterfalls, figures and decorations
Serbia does not have the longest cave in the world, because that title belongs to the Mammoth Cave in the American state of Kentucky, whose network of underground channels is 240 metres long. Serbia does not even have the most famous cave in the world. The Spaniards can boast of Altamira in the Santander province. Serbia does not even have the deepest cave in the world, because it would be difficult to outdo Krubera in the Georgian mountain region of Western Caucasus, whose deepest point is at 2,197 metres down, but it doesn’t matter. We also have something to boast of.
Serbia has more than 2,000 caves that are rightly considered precious, unique natural treasures with a plethora of stalactites and stalagmites, magnificent jewellry, underground rivers and waterfalls, incredible figures… Most of the caves are hidden by the mountains in the western and eastern parts of Serbia, so well that only a small number are organized and accessible to visitors.
Between the villages of Rožanstvo and Trnava, just 20 kilometres from the centre of Zlatibor, known as the “golden mountain”, a slightly different gem is hidden – Stopića Cave. Its five halls hide many beautiful sights that amaze tourists, and it all starts at the very impressive 18-metre tall entrance.
There is also a unique underground waterfall, 10 metres high, known as the Source of Life, dugure, large openings in the ceiling, a cone with the unusual name Dogs’ Cemetery, and large “siga” tubs that are the trademark of the Stopića Cave. In these hollows lined with stone walls, water accumulates and overflows in cascades.
Lazar’s Cave is located in eastern Serbia, in the idyllic surroundings of Lazar’s Canyon. It belongs to the poorly explored system of the Zlot caves and is the only speleological object from that entire underground system that is accessible to tourists. Lazar’s Cave is considered the longest speleological system in Serbia, as it is 10,000 metres long, of which only 900 metres are accessible to tourists.
It is enough just to see the Throne Hall, the Concert Hall and the Hall of Blocks and to enjoy the cave decorations with interesting names, among them the conductor, the orchestra and the bison, which looks like a petrified animal.
On the northeastern slopes of the Homolje mountains, 15 kilometres from Kučevo, near the village of Ceremošnja, after which it got its name, there is the Ceremošnja cave. It was opened to tourists only in 1981, and since then visitors have been able to admire one of the largest and most beautiful halls in Serbia, whose acoustics are so special that it is difficult to find a similar example. The largest hall is called the Arena and it contains the most beautiful examples of cave jewellry.
The trademark of Ceremošnja is the cave column On Eternal Watch, and there is also Beautiful Vlajna Girl, a luxurious column made of crystalline, sparkling calcite, the Abyss and Andesite halls decorated with snow-white ceiling jewellry, the opening of the Door reminiscent of altar doors and a whole series of stone formations. The tourist trail is 447 metres long, the cave is dominated by the colour white, created by lime calcite.
By the way, Ceremošnja belongs to the living caves, which means that decorations are still being created in it.
In the immediate vicinity of Ceremošnja, in the area of the nearby village of Ravnište, there is Ravništarka. It is a little longer than Ceremošnja, and equally interesting in terms of the beauty of the jewellry. According to legend, this cave was discovered by fearless and curious village boys who managed to overcome all the obstacles.
Thanks to them, tourists can admire the unique wealth of cave jewellry, enjoy the monumentality of the Black Castle hall filled with powerful stone figures Kraljević Marko, Beautiful Ravništarka Girl and Big Heads.
Just 15 kilometres from Niš, near the Kamenički Vis picnic area, at the altitude of 515 m, at the place where the Provalija River sinks, you will find Cerjanska Cave. The main corridor of this cave is over three kilometres long, and it is decorated with numerous stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, wavy draperies, cave corals and crystal flowers.
Cerjanska Cave has been under state protection since 1955. The path that leads to it is ideal for easy hiking in nature, and at the entrance you can see a small waterfall.
The winding meanders of the river Uvac are one of the biggest attractions in Serbia and one of the most visited tourist spots in our country. In the immediate vicinity is the Uvac cave system, the largest in our country.
This system also includes the Ice Cave, which can be reached by boat on the Uvac Lake. In the cave, which has all the elements of an underground castle – decorations, tall pillars and draperies – there are large tubs of siga from which visitors can drink water.
The entrance to the Ice Cave is located under a steep limestone section, and with side channels its length exceeds 2.5 kilometres.
In the immediate vicinity of Aranđelovac, in gentle Šumadija, there is Risovača. Although it is far smaller than the endless tunnels of Lazar’s Cave, although its jewellry cannot match the decorations of the Resavska Cave, Risovača has been at the very top of the most visited caves in Serbia for a very long time.
It was discovered quite by accident, during the collapse of the quarry, but that’s why what it hid immediately grabbed attention of both speleologists and archaeologists. Beneath the ground they discovered a large number of fossils, bones and skulls of long-extinct animals, from woolly mammoths, to rhinoceroses and cave lions. The researchers were particularly amazed when they discovered that Neanderthals had also lived in this place.
The title of the most famous speleological pearl of Serbia is rightly held by the widely famous Resavska Cave, one of the most visited tourist destinations and one of the most interesting places in our country. It lies about 20 kilometres from Despotovac, near the Ravanica and Manasija monasteries, surrounded by a beautiful landscape.
The Resavska Cave has as many as eight halls, and each of them holds unique cave jewellry, which is perfectly lit so that the visitors can enjoy the beauty. Due to its long tradition over several decades and its great popularity, the Resavska Cave is the best organized tourist cave in Serbia, even though the temperature in it is only seven degrees throughout the year.
At the bottom of the Kučaj Mountains, near the road Boljevac-Zeječar and the village of Bogovina, there is the Bogovinska Cave, one of the largest and most beautiful in our country. Of the six kilometres discovered so far, only the first few hundred metres have been arranged, so tourists are not recommended to go deeper into the cave.
The Bogovinska cave is considered a spring cave, because the Bogovinska river occasionally flows through its middle, the largest part, while the upper part is always without water. What fascinates everyone who enters the Bogovinska Cave is the beautiful cave jewellry.
Just 2.5 kilometres from Majdanpek, next to the gold-bearing river Pek, Rajko’s cave is hidden, the only white cave in Serbia, whose decorations look like frozen scenes characteristic of a winter idyll.
This speleological pearl abounds in hidden treasures, including the murmur of the clear Rajko’s River, which echoes through the cave halls, thousands of calcite tubes on the ceilings, ruddy bigrene bathtubs, the Winter Fairytale Hall with a figure of a white bear, and the Crystal Forest Hall adorned with a twinkling lake.
Following reconstruction, the two horizons of the Rajko’s Cave are connected, so that visitors can go around the entire complex on a concrete circular path that is beautifully lit.