Rabu, 18 November 2009







The diversity of Croatia's landscape, primarily the mountain ranges of Velebit, Mosor and Ucka, as well as the continental mountain ranges, are a real challenge for speleologists that can visit numerous caves throughout the whole year thanks to the favorable climate.
A well-organized network of speleological societies and a helicopter equipped Mountain Rescue Service (GSS), enable all active holiday lovers to safely explore Croatia's caves.

Besides caves suitable only for professional speleologists, Croatia has numerous so-called tourist caves that are specially suited and safe for amateurs.
Caves have been known to man since prehistoric times when they were used as shelters, as well as temporary and permanent homes. We can find material evidence for this on the walls, ceilings, as well as in the interiors of caves. The oldest written documents on Croatian caves date back to Roman times and are the result of research done by Roman scholars Lucrecius, Strabon and Plinius Senior and Junior two milleniums ago. The second oldest document is a church register from 1096 describing the cave called "pechina" (this is the origin of the Croatian word "pecina" meaning cave) on the island of Ugljan near Zadar. The cave is 28 m long and lies on the western side of the island, about 500 m north of the bay of Zeljina at 100 m above sea level.
Some hundred years ago, the world renown Croatian scientist Dr. Dragutin Gorjanovic-Kramberger discovered in a cave on the Husnjakovo mountain close to Krapina remains of prehistoric man known as Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. This archeological site is among the most valuable Neanderthal locations in the world.
A collection of artifacts and bones can be seen at the Museum of Early Man in Krapina. For information on opening hours and other, call +385/49-371-491.

Of all mountainous areas, the Velebit and Mosor mountain ranges, as well as the Paklenica National Park have the most speleological sites such as caves and gorges suited for professionals that are familiar with techniques for climbing, descending into and moving through caves with full equipment etc. Here is a list of the best known caves:
- Panjkova Cave Krsnje in the Kordun Area 12 385 m
- Cave in the Tounj Quarry - Tounj 8 410 m
- Veternica Medvednica by Zagreb 6 816 m
- Jopiceve Caves - Kordun by Krnjak 6 564 m
- Donja Cerovacka Cave - Southern Velebit by
Gracac 2 510 m
- Klementina Cave - Velebit 2 403 m
- Mandelaja Cave - Ostarije by Ogulin 2 326 m
- Munizaba Cave - Velebit 2 300 m
- Ponorac Caves - Suvaja Kordun 2 232 m
- Lukina Cave - Northern Velebit 1 392 m
- Slovacka - Northern Velebit 1 017 m
- Stara Skola - Biokovo 576 m
- Vilimova Cave - Biokovo 572 m
- Gorge on Bunjevac - South Velebit 534 m
- Jama za kamenitim vratima - Biokovo 520 m
- Fantomska Cave - Velebit 477 m
- Ledenica in Lomska Valley - Velebit 451 m
- Munizaba Cave - Velebit 448 m
- Stupina Cave - Bitoraj 413 m
- Nova velika jama - Biokovo 380 m
- Jama kod Raspora - Raspor, Cicarija 361m
- Biokovka - Biokovo 359 m
- Podgracisce - Island of Brac 329 m
- Klanski gorge (Gotovz) - by Rijeka 320 m
- Puhaljka - Southern Velebit 320 m
- Zaboravna Cave - Biokovo 311 m
- Mala (Crna) Kicljeva Cave - Skrad, Gorski kotar 285 m
- Balinka Plaski - Lika 283 m
- Jama kod Matesica stana - Island of Brac 280 m
- Pretnerova Cave - Biokovo 252 m
- Semicka Cicarija - Istria 236 m

Tourist caves are speleological sites suitable for tourist and children who can visit them safely with the help of a guide during opening hours. Here is a list of tourist caves in Croatia:
- Veternica on Medvednica above Zagreb
- Grgosova Cave by Samobor
- Vrlovka in Kamanj by Ozalj
- Lokvarka by Lokve (Gorski kotar)
- Vrelo by Fuzine (Gorski kotar)
- Baredine Cave by Porecka Nova Vas (Istria)
- Biserujka (Vitezica Cave) on the island of Krk
(Hrvatsko Primorje)
- Golubnjaca in Plitvice National Park (Lika)
- Samogradska Cave by Perusic (Lika)
- Gornja Cerovacka Cave by Gracac (Lika)
- Donja Cerovacka Cave by Gracac (Lika)
- Manita Cave in Paklenica National Park (Southern Velebit)
- Vranjaca at the Southern Foot of Mosor (Dalmatia)
- Modra Cave on the Island of Bisevo (Dalmatia)
- Sipun in Cavtat (Dalmatia)

Besides traditional speleology, cave diving, that is exploring underwater caves, is becoming more and more popular. Cave diving consists of two disciplines: Recreational cave diving - diving in underwater caves without particular knowledge of speleological techniques and Professional cave diving - diving in underwater caves, springs or in waters in land caves for which knowledge of diving and speleological techniques is a must. All interested in cave diving can contact the Croatian Cave Diving Society (HSRD) at www.hpm.hr/hsrd/HSRD.htm
headquarters: Šibenska 41, 21000 Split
tel.: +385/21-569-861
fax: +385/21-543-477
gsm: +385/98-320-513
Working Hours: Monday from 19 to 22
Thursday from 18 to 21
In case of emergency, call +385/21-569-861 or +385/98-320-513

Underwater speleology
Current knowledge of human physiology, the high level of reliability of diving equipment and an improvement in exploratory techniques have transformed cave diving from being a merely hazardous adventure to an absolute experience in which elements from different fields, functioning in total synergy, not only satisfy the legitimate curiosity of Homo sapiens of exploring the unknown, but also help them acquire more information and developments that amplify the concept of science as a sovereign human activity.
Photo by Francisco J.S. Lima Cave's and underwater's environments have substantial common similarities. Speleological and underwater characteristics makes the underwater speleology an high-risk activity.
Nowadays the term diver is not enough to identify who is involved into those activities. Underwater speleology is actually developing into two separate branches.
The real underwater speleologists try to carry out explorations of hypogean systems that have flooded areas inside, because after those areas (called siphones) is often possible to go on with the exploration into dry caves.
After those explorators, derived from speleologist, there is another kind of diver, that might be named hydronaut speleologist. Those specialists explore deep and long caves, using big, heavy and sophisticated equipments, and particular immersion techniques.
Those activities may help us to improve our knowledges about the ecological, biological, geological, archaeological and hydrological points of view of the area we're actually working on.

Underwater speleology
Foto di Lorenzo Epis Lorenzo Epis
Instructor of underwater speleology - ANIS, Italy