Thematic Route: Caves Route

Name of Touristic Attraction: Veterani Cave

Location: in Mehedinți county

Description: Veterani cave is located in Ciucarul Mare massif, on the left bank of the Danube, at approx. 5 m above the water level. It is also known as the Veteran’s Cave, Veterans Grotto, or Piscabara Cave and lies about 70 meters above the water. It has a total length of 173 m and a width of 40 m. The cave is named after Veterani, the aide of Ianovici, the commander of the Austrian army stationed at Caransebeș, and the one who re-forted the cave at the end of the 17th century. The cave has been known since ancient times, being a strategic point for Dacians, Romans, Austrians and even Turks. The entrance in the cave is made from the water, being famous for its adventurous and at the same time more unusual access.

Legend / Story / Impressions / Recommendations

It is a cave that has always been hunted by the treasure seekers all around the world. The legends also tell about the treasures of Basarab from which the Tismana Monastery was built, the rest of the treasure being hidden in a cave on the Danube Clisura. The Dacians built an altar in the cave, just in the place where the rays of the sun penetrate into the cave through the only existing natural hole. This altar was used for a long time by the Dacians to worship Zamolxis and to honor animals, thus explaining the existence of the remaining of animals and birds discovered by archaeologists. The Romans built some walls inside and turned it into a small fortress, being a very good point of sighting the Danube. The fortress was baptized “Path”. In 1400, the cave became an Austrian fortress, led, later in 1692, by the Austrian general of Italian origin, Friedrico Veterani. The cave could shelter up to 250 soldiers when needed, and at that time constituted a refuge form the Turkish attacks. During the two world wars, the cave served as a shelter for ammunition and food. Given the military interest, Veterani Cave was the first mapped cave in Europe. The first description of the cave belonged to AF Marsigli, which gave it the name of ‘Piscabara’ and it was made in 1692. The first researches were made around 1872, but detailed speleological, geographic, archaeological studies are barely after 1962. Initially the fortification was arranged on three levels but after building the Iron Gates Dam and implicitly raising the Danube level by 30 meters, there are only two levels left: the second level, which serves as a cave entrance and the 3 rd level which is still untapped. The cave is made up of a short access gallery and a large hall, lighted by a natural limestone window. In the cave there is also a gallery in the west part where a fountain called “Fântana Turcului” is located, whose water comes directly from the groundwater, not from the infiltrations of the Danube.

Conditions:

The access to the cave is only possible from the Danube. The embarkation is made from several points on the Danube Cluster, between Eşelniţa and Dubova villages. The cave is open to the public daily from 09-19. It can be visited throughout the year, but the optimum visit time is from May to October. To visit the grotto you need a suitable headgear, rubber boots, overalls and flashlight. Visitor groups will be accompanied by a tourist guide belonging to the “Iron Gates” Natural Park. An entry fee of 6 Ron is charged.

 

Information and Contact:

The cave is administrated by the Iron Gates Natural Park:

phone/ fax: +4 0252 360 511,

phone: +4 0372 702 529,

website: http://www.pnportiledefier.ro

e-mail: parc@drobeta.rosilva.ro

Route closed to other thematic routes:

In the area, you can also visit:

  1. Decebal’s Statue
  2. Ponicova Cave
  3. Mraconia Monestery
  4. Danube Gorges

Other useful information

Accomodation:

Melba pesnion: Dubova, tel: +40727 474 179, e-mail: pensiuneamelba@gmail.com

Delfinul pension: Dubova, tel: +40740 791 538, e-mail: delfi.cabana@yahoo.com

Spetembrie pension: Str. Dunării, nr. 1198D, Eșelnița, tel: +40726 135 065

Steaua Dunării pension: Str. Dunării, nr. 1016, tel: +40722 207 918, e-mail: steauadunarii@yahoo.com

 

GPS coordinates: Lat/Lng:(44.595489115657635, 22.261303200000043), 34, Golubinje, Serbia

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