Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Ialomicioara Cave Romania

The Ialomicioara Cave has had a long history, being certified for the first time in 1510 when the Wallachian prince  Mihnea Vodă cel Rău  would had hidden here. But the cave was first described in 1793.  Cezar Bolliac , Romanian writer of the 19th century, discovered in 1870 almost all the major galleries till the Bears' Hall. Formed on the direction of a fault orientated East-West, the cave had risen in the emptiness left between the two compartments.

Within Bucegi Natural Park, this pint-size monastery abuts the enormous cave, making it look even tinier. The monastery dates back four centuries, but the reason it looks in such good condition—you'll notice that the colorful paintings adorning its interior walls are particularly vibrant—is that what you see today was built 1993 following a huge fire.  To get to the monastery, you can take the cable car from Busteni up to Babele and then hop on the cable car going toward Pestera . From there it's about a 10-minute walk.

One of the most popular caves in Romania is undoubtedly Ialomicioara in Bucegi Mountains. It is located on the right side of Ialomitei Gorges, in Moroeni locality, Dambovita county, at 1,530 altitude.

Ialomita name comes from Dacian word “jalomit” which means “to cry”. The cave is actually known as an ancient place of Dacians where they used to celebrate the personality’s death in order to become an individual immortal being.

The cave is open for visiting on an area of 400 meters up to the area where the stalactites are positioned as if they seem to form an altar. The access is on wooden stair by electrified corridors, the cave displaying many halls and galleries.

Right at the cave’s entrance lies Ialomita Monastery built in the 16th century by ruler Mihnea cel Rau (Mihnea the Bad). The monastery has burnt several times during the history.

The first level of the cave has several names, the most known being the The Ermit Grotto or Zamolxis Grotto (Zamolxis was the supreme god of Dacians).

However, among the most exquisite places in the cave there are also St. Mary Grotto and the Bear Hall. You can enter St. Mary Grotto by climbing a threshold of big wet rocklets. The name of the grotto comes from the resemblance of a stalagmite with the statue of Virgin Mary.

The largest cavity of the cave is represented by the Bear Hall. When the first people discovered it, they found bones and even full skeletons of Ursus Spelacus Blum, or the cave bear, with many of them being tracked down above-ground, which leads to the assumption that the cave was among the last hideaways of the cave bears 10,000 years ago.

The cave has been revamped lately and recently reopened for visitors. Over RON 6 M have been invested in new bridges, lighting or sound systems, most of the money coming from EU funds. The entrance has also been rehabilitated, looking like a true promenade right now.
The cave is open for visits on a daily basis during 08:00 and 11:00 and 14:00 and 17:00.

The name of the Ialomiţa cave came from the Dacian language, “jalomit” meaning “to cry”, this cave being known as an ancient place where Dacians celebrated death as a major event, passing from one life to the next one. 
The cave has 3 levels: the first one is for the tourists, shaped like an S; the next two are harder to cross. 


The first level has many names, the most known are Grota Pustnicului (The Monk’s vault- because some say that the cave was discovered by a monk, Father Teofil, after he had dreamed of the place and the way to it) or Grota lui Zamolxe (Zamolxe’s Vault) – Zamolxe is an ancient Dacian priest/god. It is said this cave was used by Zamolxe and his people to hide and pray when they were under attack.


At this level you can find one of its most peculiar attractions: somewhere in the stone there is a groove, like a pail, filled with water. The strange thing is that once the water is removed, it starts to “rain” from the ceiling, and it stops when the pail is full with water again. 


Another attraction is Hades Well, a coalpit inside the Ialomiţa Cave: nobody could explain yet why any kind of light just dies inside this groove. 


The second level hosts two Dacian tombs, and the third level a glaciar lake.
 
The entrance to this cave is guarded by a small hermitage, called Schitul Pestera, built in a very long time because of a long series of weird events – people say that every time they tried to finish this church a lot of hostile natural phenomena stroke the building: fire from the sky, avalanche of stones. 

Maybe, it is said, because no one should build churches in the land of Death.


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