"Rajko's Cave" Majdanpek Travelogue by tayloretc
Majdanpek Travel Guide: 4 reviews and 24 photos
About 2 km from Majdanpek is one of the earliest-explored and best-known caves in Serbia. It?s not the biggest cave in Serbia, but it?s supposed to be the most spectacular ? nearly all the stalactites and stalagmites, and other surfaces, are formed from pure, very white calcite. Where the growth is done, the dry crystals sparkle.
Where the formations are lit, it?s like walking into a fairy tale magic cave.
The cave is about 2.3 km long, open at both ends to old forest. Rajko?s River is still carving the lower level; the upper level is now dry, and that?s where the famed stalactites and stalagmites are. The lower level is visited almost exclusively by scientists. Nearly 1.5 km of the upper level are accessible from one end via a mostly raised wooden walkway that?s seen better days.
The floor is mostly reddish tufa. In places, it is twisted into depressed basins and speckled with thousands of years of white calcite drips.
The air is oxygen rich, to the point where walking up the 20 meters or so of stairs to the upper level left both the guide and I winded for a moment.
As of September, 2011, they?re in the process of switching to LED lighting. Until the lights are replaced, the lighting changes periodically so as to inhibit the growth of mushrooms and fungi on the wooden boardwalk. Mushrooms and fungi are not endemic to the caves (spores are brought in on shoes). Actually, not much is endemic to the caves. No plant life is found here, and the only animals found have been spiders and scorpions. Even bats don?t come into the caves (at least not where you can visit), evidenced by a complete lack of guano.
The end you can?t visit (yet) shows evidence of human habitation back to the last ice age, and animal bones dating back 30,000 years have washed down from that end. There?s talk of extending the trail all the way through, although there?s a stretch that's too low for a raised boardwalk.
The legend goes that Rajko was an innkeeper who stole from his guests (or, in some versions, from the Turks, and in others, from travellers on the road) and hid his treasure in the cave. Somewhere on the walls is drawn an outline of a hand with four fingers ? if you find that, you find the treasure. Nothing has ever been found, and in fact the only document referring to Rajko the man is a letter from his family saying that they had to move because he?d been hanged.
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