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Szepvolgyi System (Pál-völgy Cave)

Pál-völgyi Cave, Hungary
Pál-völgyi Cave / Joxy, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 47.5329 N 19.0157 E
No:541        (list of all attractions)
Category:Caves
Values:Visual, Geology
Rank:4
Address:Europe, Hungary, near the centre of Budapest, in Buda, Szépvölgyi út 162
Name in Hungarian:Pál-völgyi-barlangrendszer, Pálvölgyi Barlang, Pál-völgyi-barlang (Paul's Valley Cave)
Length:30,100 m
Depth:123 m

Entrance in the longest cave in Hungary - Szepvolgyi System - is located only some 3 - 4 km from the Hungarian Parliament Building. Tourists are visiting the first 450 m of this cave almost for a century but the true extent of this giant cave was discovered only in 2011.

Caves of Budapest

This by far is not the only cave in Budapest - there are known some 100 caves in this city. Budapest has interesting geology: here are located numerous thermal springs. In fact this is one of the two capital cities in the world with hot springs - the other one is Reykjavik in Iceland.

As the heated water is flowing through the limestone (hills of Budapest are formed from this stone), the stone is dissolved and caves are forming in it. Even more - the water forms beautiful stalactites, stalagmites and other formations which are adorning the cave.

Entrance in Pál-völgy cave around 1920, Hungary
Cave formations in Pál-völgy cave/ Szenti Tamás, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Geology of Pál-völgy cave

Szepvolgyi System (which includes Pál-völgy cave) also has been formed by thermal waters in the Eocene limestone. Streams of warm water now have left the cave and most likely flow somewhere deeper, below the cave. Witnesses of these times are some 8 species of algae which generally grow in thermal waters and have survived in the cave up to this day.

History

Entrance in Pál-völgy cave is located in an abandoned quarry - earlier here was mined construction stone. Cave was discovered in 1904 - there is a story that it was discovered by John Bagyura, the son of the owner of quarry who was looking for lost sheep or goat.

Entrance in Pál-völgy cave around 1920, Hungary
Entrance in Pál-völgy cave around 1920 / from , 1920 / public domain

Cave is beautiful, with interesting speleothems (cave formations) and it is located near the centrum of metropolis with numerous people - potential tourists. Thus it was opened for the public in 1919. In 1927 here was installed electric lighting but later, during the World War II the cave was used as a bomb shelter. In these tragic war times people did much damage to the cave - stalactites were broken and other cave formations damaged as well.

After the war tourist facilities have been reinstated and improved, the 450 m long tour with a guide is available up to this day. Tourists descend 42 steps down and then pass through several cave rooms with some interesting cave formations.

Map

See Szepvolgyi System on the map of Hungary!

References

  1. Pálvölgyi Barlang, Show Caves. Accessed on August 18, 2016
  2. Breakthrough Produces Hungary’s Longest Cave System, CavingNews, December 16, 2011. Accessed in 20 August 2016.

Landmarks of Hungary

Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest
Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest - one of the geatest Neo-Gothic structures in the world / Kamil Porembiński, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Most beautiful and interesting landmarks in Hungary are its world-class palaces and the beautiful villages and towns with well preserved medieval and later buildings.

Caves

Underground River in Palawan, Philippines
Underground River in Palawan, Philippines / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Every year there are reported exciting discoveries of new caves and discoveries of new qualities such as cave paintings in the ones known before. But there still is a feeling that our knowledge covers just a small part of all these monuments of nature.

Your thoughts?