Topolnița Cave – Asociaţia Pro-Mehedinţi

Topolnița Cave is dug in the lime stones of the Prosacului Hill, at 400 m altitude. It is a gigantic cave, of complex, branched type, sub horizontal, developed on a system of cracks and fractures generally oriented N-NE, S-SW. The network of galleries is situated on four levels: two fossils (a superior one and an inferior one), a sub-fossil level, an active level. The cave was dug by three streams: Topolnița, Găurinți, Ponorat.

Topolnița Cave presents 5 access openings: Gura Prosacului, an impressive gate 67 m high, Gaura lui Ciocardie, Woman’s Cave entrance and the two entrances at Găurinți. Topolnița enters the underground through Gura Prosacului and springs out through Gaura lui Ciocardie after it receives the waters of the Ponorat and Gaurinți streams.

Inside Topolnița Cave there are 3 connected sectors: Woman’s Cave sector, Sohodol sector (or Găurinți) and Topolnița Cave actual sector, formed of a coloured central network from which three main galleries start: towards N-NE, Racovița and Murgoci galleries and towards S-SE, Prosacului gallery.

The Woman’s Cave sector corresponds to the fossil floor of the cave and it is formed of the Bat’s Corridor, the Colonnade Corridor and the Straight Corridor. From the opening, closed with a metallic gate nowadays, a descendent access corridor starts, the Bat’s corridor, which enlarges in a small hall, where through a very narrow branch one can reach the Colonnade Corridor, and through another horizontal, one can pass to the Vetrelor corridor starting next to the guano pile. In the old times, the Bat’s Corridor and the Vetrelor Corridor were directly connected; but today the passage is made through a metallic bridge. In the initial portion of the Vetrelor Corridor, there have been found some settlements, probably from Neolithic Period.

The entrance in the Topolnița Cave sector is marked by the Vetrelor Corridor.

The superior fossil floor starts with the Guano Hall, of large dimensions, with the floor covered in blocks of clay and guano. Towards the east there is the C. N. Ionescu Corridor, with few lime formations and with the floor almost entirely covered in sand and clay. Towards west, there is the Corridor between the Great Hall and the Halls. From the Great Hall appears both the Giants Corridor and Pripor Corridor towards S-SE, and Racovița gallery towards NE. Racovița gallery, the longest gallery of the cave, is nearly 1600 m long. In the area of the Quick Sands, it is strongly covered with sand, and from place to place covered in a layer of lime. Crossing this gallery is quite hard because of the horizontal portions with the stalagmite floor alternating with portions covered in masses of blocks. Racovița Gallery is very rich in stalagmites or candle like columns, some of the areas like the Candle Forest or the Crystal Lake, being a rare beauty. Here, in the superior fossil floor the Suspended Corridor and Staicu Corridor (discovered by D. Staicu in 1971) meet.

The inferior fossil floor starts with the Confluence Hall, where the Twisted Corridor and Barat Corridor start from. Towards south the Hope Corridor starts. It is rich in stalagmites and it continues with the Basins Corridor. The Corridor with Basins ends with the Depth Crossroad, where some corridors continue and form the sub-fossil floor of the cave.

The active floor of this sector is formed of the Murgoci Gallery, the Black Corridor and the Prosacului Gallery.

The Sohodol sector (or Găurinți) is formed of fossil, sub-fossil and active corridors.

The active floor starts from the bottom opening of the Sohod, crosses Săritoarea Mică, next to Sala cu Grohotiș, and continues with the Spiral Corridor. The floor is covered with many fragments of limestone, clay, sand and vegetal remains.

In the sub-fossil floor the Spiral Corridor and Corridor with Marmite meet. From this floor one can go down to Culoarul cu Săritori, which continues with the Blocks Hall, which continues with: Bent Corridor, Short Corridor and Surprises Corridor.

The fossil floor is formed of the Balcony Hall and Culoarul Faliilor.

Topolnița is a warm cave (8,2˚C – 10,8˚C), being interesting due to the variety of biotopes and of the elements that form the respective biocenosis. One can find here troglobiont species, recent skeletons rests from carnivorous, insectivorous and herbivorous animals, as well as Ursus Spelaeus fossils.

Visiting conditions: visiting the cave is quite difficult especially because of the large accumulations of collapsed blocks and numerous barriers which block the way from place to place, forcing people to climb up and down from time to time.