Thematic Route: Caves Route
Name of Touristic Attraction: Isverna Cave
Location: in Isverna Commune, Mehedinți county. The road to the cave starts from the road that comes from Baia de Aramă and goes to Drobeta Turnu Severin. Near the village of Turtaba (famous for the “Nedeie” Feast, in May, which is known as the “Turtaba Fair”), the road turns to the village of Isverna. From here, there are only 5 km to the cave. It is about 100 m away from the last house in the commune.
Description: Isverna Cave is located in the western extreme of Isverna, at the foot of Mehedinti Mountains, on the Cave Hill, at an altitude of 600 m. An active cave, which has subfossil and fossil parts, Isverna has a main gallery, oriented in NV-SE direction, with some branches. The entrance in the cave has a dimension of 4×3 m. In order to get to the main gallery, it is necessary to climb a 3 m jumper and cross a short aisle. This gallery has been developed on the basis of a diacle system that has been processed through water erosion. Passing through the gallery involves crossing a long corridor sprinkled with a few small lakes containing 75m depth of infiltration water. At the end of a short aisle, there is a cascade. In this area of the cave there is a clear water basin with a depth of about 1.5 m. The basin is called the Green Lake due to the colour and clarity of the water. To navigate this pool, a pneumatic boat is required. Because the water temperature is low, swimming is not allowed. There is also the escalation variant: on the left side, there is a diaclase, a chimney that climbs about 5 m, which exceeds a threshold from which descends a fairly tilted and smooth surface of the limestone, shaped by the slopes. So we meet the underground stream that appears under the mirror of a siphon, known as the Green Siphon, which can only be exploited by an independent diver. The Green Siphon is 50 m long and 12 m deep. In parallel with it, the Fossil Gallery is being developed. The next section is about 80 m, relatively easy to cross. Here the gallery develops on a high diaclase of up to 4 m, with stalagmites from place to place. At the exit of the gallery there is a hall of 12×8 m length and a height of 6 m high, called the Diver s Room. It communicates with the underground stream through two openings. One of the apertures is on the right side, where a limestone slide descends to a siphon lake and the other one is opposite and represents the entry into a 5 m well at the end of which lies the same lake siphon, called Short Siphon. With a length of 20 m and a depth of 5 m it is the end of the route accessible to tourists. Following the Short Siphon, there is a new gallery with a length of 100 m and a new siphon. Exploited in 1982, this siphon is actually a drowned well with a depth of about 48 m. In the cave galleries we meet erosion, elliptical profiles, pillars, erosion waves and marmites. All of this builds the morphology of an active cave.
Legend / Story / Impressions / Recommendations
The cave was first explored by the biologist C. N. Ionescu. He only explored 200 meters. In 1914 he published a description of this exploited portion. In 1951 P.A. Chappuis and A. Winkler made a more detailed description of the cave, and later, between 1964 and 1967, V. Decou did some biospeology research inside the cave. In 1973, C. Goran realizes for the first time the cave’s plan which only appeared in 1976. In 1979, the cave is re-started, with new galleries included. Thus the current cave length reaches 1500 m.
The Isverna Cave is one of Europe’s most famous speleological reserves, which became famous after the great oceanologist Jacques Yves Cousteau arrived here with a team of cavers and independent divers in 1991 to make a documentary film. At national level, the cave became known after 1989 when some maps of hidden treasures in its depths, appeared. One of the legends concerns Empress Maria Theresa, who allegedly sinks into a cave lake a silver deposit belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Another legend speaks of Serbia’s national treasure, which would have been buried here in the second half of the nineteenth century, when the two hereditary princes, Milan Obrenovici and Mihail, claimed their throne. The cave is still an unknown land today, because despite its state-of-the-art technology it could not be fully exploited.
The cave is not accessible to tourists, it can only be explored by divers only with special equipment.
Information and Contact:
The cave is managed by Mehedinti Geoparc Plateau:
phone/ fax: +4 0372 521 116,
Route closed to other thematic routes:
In the commune you can also visit:
- The Wooden Church of the Holy Voivodes from Isverna
- The church in Seliștea Village
In the area you can also visit:
- The God’s Bridge in Ponoarele Commune
- Zaton Lake from Ponoarele Commune
- The springs of Cosustea from Balta Commune
Other useful information:
- Vila Lila: DC 50, Isverna, Mehedinți
- Pietrele Albe: Seliștea village, Isverna, Mehedinți, tel: +40722 335 322
- Steaua Munților: Seliștea village, Isverna, Mehedinți, tel: +40756 322 095, +40743 150209
GPS coordinates: Lat/Lng (44.980152715869316, 22.619647999999984), DC50, Isverna 227285, România