The astonishing nature of North Macedonia in Vrelo cave

The astonishing nature of North Macedonia in Vrelo cave

2 minutes to read

Are you up for an underwater, "not-yet-explored" adventure? Are you seeking for a more "adrenaline-full" experience than scuba diving? If yes, then you are welcome to dive into the underwater world of the cave Vrelo. This underwater cave is located in the canyon of Matka, on the right side of the river Treska, near Skopje. The cave has two components, one cave above the ground (Vrelo) and a hidden one under the water (Podvrelo).  

Photo by © Paweł pbm Szubert /Wikimedia
Photo by © Paweł pbm Szubert /Wikimedia

This natural phenomenon was nominated for the "world wander prize" and the Speleodiving group (cave diving) was formed after Belgian cave divers needed a hand from local divers in 2008, to explore the area.

The land of butterflies

Matka, the canyon where this cave can be found, is not only famous for the amazing and vivid landscape, but also for the diversity of butterflies that live there. Over a hundred "day type" and over hundreds of "night type" butterflies, make this hidden place even more spectacular to visit.

The cave Vrelo is accessible by an organized 20minute boat trip. Naturally, the entrance into the cave is through the above-water part. The "concert hall" is the first thing you see, while on the left, there are the so-called "written stones". The central space occupies the stalactite "cone", which is two meters high! Further follows the second hall, "the hall of the cones" and then the third one, the "hall of the lakes". If you are interested in cave interiors formed completely by nature, don't miss Postojna Cave in Slovenia.

Photo by © Paweł pbm Szubert /Wikimedia
Photo by © Paweł pbm Szubert /Wikimedia

Deep inside in the cave, there are two lakes, the Small and the Big one. On one of the lakes, there is a Russian beach. The beach got its name from the first swimmers there- Russian pilots employed in the Macedonian aviation. The dimensions of the big lake are 15/35meters in width and 15-18meters in depth.  The small lake is 8-15 meters in width and almost 15meters in depth. There are stalactites in the water, which means that the water came later, after the cave's formation.

Let's talk about the depth

The impossibility of exploring the cave fully creates a certain challenge for the top-tier cave divers in the world.

Diver Luiggi Casatti reached this depth, but despite his efforts to illuminate the bottom he could not see it

The newspapers were filled with this info on August 11, 2009. An Italian deep-diving team, that explored the Vrelo underwater cave, reached a staggering depth of 190 meters. It took 7 years for this number to change. In 2016, the Polish cave diver Krzysztof Starnawski reported that he had reached the depth of 230 meters.

Photo by © Paweł pbm Szubert /Wikimedia
Photo by © Paweł pbm Szubert /Wikimedia

No one knows the real end of the Vrelo story. It is a bottomless cave that challenges the most extreme divers. It is for sure worth visiting, even if you are not determined to reach its bottom!

Cover Picture © Credits to Paweł pbm Szubert /Wikimedia

The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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