Prohodna Cave (Пещера Проходна) is located north-east from the capital city Sofia, at a 110 km distance. The cave's name comes from the Bulgarian word for a passage, as this is the longest cave in the country – about 365 km long. It is open for visitors throughout the year, depending on the weather. Once one crosses its threshold, they feel intimidated by its size and its semi-dark spaces, just like the cave people did, a few hundred thousand years ago. Prohodna Cave gives you the opportunity to look into “God's eyes”.
The cave is about 70 million years old and was discovered about 60 years ago, in 1962. In it, there are the traces of inhabitants who lived here 200 000 years ago. It is famous for its “eyes”. These are two holes, caused by erosion. They remind of the human eye, and this is why they are called the “The eyes of God”. They are indeed almond-shaped, and from underneath, it seems like someone is looking at you. Because of this phenomenon, and because of its size and features, the cave is included in the list of the "100 best Bulgarian tourist sites".
The only light in the cave is the one coming from those two holes, as well as from its two entrances, a small one and a big one. Still, there is enough light inside for people to do sports. The cave is a famous place for bungee-jumping, which can be done from the big entrance. Prohodna Cave is also a good place for rock-climbing. It is divided into few sections, according to the level of difficulty of the climbers. Visiting the cave can be done without a guide, but the floors could get slippery in the cold winter days.
About a kilometer from the cave, there is a mountain hostel called “The national cave house “Peter Tranteev”. This hostel is located high in the mountains, allowing a good view over the cave and over Iskar River, which used to fill Prohodna cave but is now only flowing under it. An interesting fact about this river is that it takes its source from the Rila mountain range, which is located in southern Bulgaria and makes its way to the north, instead of the other way round. There is a way through the woods directly from the hostel to the cave. It is a popular destination, so it is advisable to reserve the places at the hostel a few days before your trip.
Prohodna Cave is indeed an amazing phenomenon, which reminds us of how small we are and how big and powerful nature is. The erosion processes in the cave have changed its appearance throughout time, but it has nevertheless kept traces of the people, who used it for habitation while ago. So, visiting this cave would be like looking into God's eyes, looking back in time and space. As the eyes are the mirror to the soul, you could see the whole miracle of life and nature in one just by crossing the threshold of this cave.
Photo © credits to iStockphoto.com/Liia Galimzianova
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