Speleology – caves’ exploring

Polish Jurassic Highland is one of the best places in Poland to explore caves and underground world.

There are literally hundreds of caves, however not all of them are available for exploring without permission and professional equipment and preparation. There are a lot of small, few meters long caves, easy to reach and explore, which can be found quite everywhere. But there are a lot of those available to the professional speleologists and researchers only.

cave near Ogrodzieniec
cave near Ogrodzieniec

The longest cave is called Wierna (Jaskinia Wierna) that is 1027 meters long and is situated just by the little village of Ostreznik near Niegowa. Only a bit shorter (975 meters) is the Wierzchowska Gorna Cave, near Wierzchowie in Kluczowody Valley. The Wierzchowska Gorna Cave is available for tourists and it is definitely worth seeing! I strongly recommend visiting it! The deepest cave of Polish Jura is Studnisko Cave near Olsztyn – 75,5 meters deep. This cave is only available for experienced speleologists.

The others very impressive caves available for visitors without professional preparation are:

  • Gleboka Cave (Deep Cave) in Podlesice
  • Nietoperzowa Cave (Bats’ Cave) in Jarzmanowice
  • Ciemna Cave in Ojcow (Dark Cave)
  • Lokietek Cave also in Ojcow

The caves in Polish Jura are of course great masterpiece of nature, absolute must-visit for all fans of geology or natural history. But the may also be really interesting for all history lovers… From the prehistorical times through Middle Ages to the XXth century the caves played important role in the history of the region.

The oldest objects, around 100.000 years old, were found by archeologists and paleontologists in Ciemna (Dark) Cave in Ojcow. But first primitive arms, hand axes, animals’ bones, traces of prehistoric fires are being found quite in all of them. The caves in Polish Jura were already shelters to the Neanderthals and first hunters-gatherers.

During the II World War the caves were providing shelter to local resistance groups and fugitives searching refuge from occupants. Good example are Zydowskie Caves (Jewish Caves) not far from village of Ryczow. Around 1943 group of Jews being on the run and trying to survive and avoid Nazis’ extermination program was hiding there for a time. Oldest inhabitants of Ryczow remember providing them with food and water. Although those caves situated deep in the forest far from villages and roads seem to be a very good hide, the group decided to move on on their flee… The fear of being found and murdered was stronger than anything else… But the locals call the caves till today “Jewish caves”.