Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Prohodna: Two Eye Cave in Bulgaria

Prohodna is a karst cave in north central Bulgaria, located in the Iskar Gorge near the village of Karlukovo in Lukovit Municipality, Lovech Province. The cave is notorious for the two eye-like holes in its ceiling, famous as the Eyes of Oknata. The cave owes its name, which factually means Thoroughfare Cave or Passage Cave, to this feature. Prohodna is the best recognized attraction in the Karlukovo Gorge one of the largest karst regions in Bulgaria and a prevalent location for speleology.

The cave is formed during the Quaternary, Prohodna is 262 metres long, which makes it the longest cave passage in Bulgaria. The cave has two entrances which lie opposite one another, recognized respectively as the “small entrance” and the “big entrance”. The former is 35 metres high and the latter reaches 42.5 or 45 metres in height. The size of the big entrance makes it appropriate for bungee jumping, and it is between the widespread places in Bulgaria for that particular activity. There’re traces of prehistoric habitation in the Prohodna cave, which testify that humans lived in the cave during the Neolithic and Chalcolithic. Prohodna Cave is one of the most famous and easily accessible caves in Bulgaria. It is not by chance that local people sometimes refer to them as The Eyes of the Devil. Seen from a specific angle, they even resemble a face that looks down, and when it is wet it seems as if they are “crying”.

Prohodna is most distinguished cave due to two equal-sized eye holes in the ceiling of its middle chamber. It is believed that the eye resemble holes, is formed through erosion, let in light into the cave. The cave formation is generally identified as the Eyes of Oknata. Therefore several Bulgarian and foreign films were shot there, however the natural phenomenon was featured in the 1987 Bulgarian film “Time of Violence”. The cave lies two kilometers from Karlukovo, nearby the Karlukovo–Lukovit road. It is also reachable from Rumyantsevo, and there is a parking lot near the Small Entrance. Near Prohodna are the much longer cave Temnata Dupka, and a pathway from the Big Entrance of Prohodna leads to the Petar Tranteev National Caving House, one of the 100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria.

Persons who witness this beautiful natural phenomenon are amazed and a little enthusiastic the improbable symmetry and location of the cave holes fill one with awe and a sense of mystique. In 1962 the cave was declared a natural landmark. Moreover Prohodna Cave is a popular destination for climbers, and there’re sport climbing routes divided into more than a few sectors. Their level of difficulty differs, but they’re considered to be some of the toughest in Bulgaria. Furthermore accommodation is available at the mountain hostel, but visitors are advised to make a reservation in advance. There’s a junction on the Lukovit – Karlukovo road leading to the office of the speleological society. The cave is open for travelers all year round. Therefore a guide is not required. Make sure in the cold winter days it is suitable that visitors mind the huge icicles forming on the ceiling and around the cave holes and the slippery surface.

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