Looking at the green peaks and the colorful meadows, as if listening to the harp that forever loves love.
According to tradition, the great singer entered a cave in Hades’s underground estates to seek his beloved. He dazzled the boatman to take him across the River Styx to the kingdom of the shadows. But when he left the dark world, he turned to see the beloved follower, so he lost it forever. The penetration of most water caves in the Rhodopes creates unintentional associations with this legend.
However, their perception is costly – with human life, pointed out Sasho Inev from the Club of Speleology and Extreme Tourism “Mursalitsa” – Smolyan. The statistics are that almost every second or third cave scavenger died in an accident.
Sasho Inev is one of the few “cave” scuba diving in Bulgaria and our guide in the Golubovitsa water cave in the Rhodopes near Smilyan. It is in close proximity to her sister Uhlovitsa, which is dry and enjoys mass visits. Golubovitsa, however, is only for walks of lovers of extreme experiences.
It is reached after a marked route from the road between the parking lot in front of Uhlovitsa towards Smolyan. The forest path passes through the scenic Garga dere, over the river, over which there is a rope trolley. This will be the “cherry” of the cake of our adventure – going down the alpine trolley over the water, promises our guide. As we go, he explains that the name of the cave is related to the fact that many pigeons nest near the entrance. The bird, which is found in the area, is a godfather of the neighboring cave. And among them is the Garga dere, which was captured in the past by the black feathers.
We reached the entrance of Golubovitsa and it turned out that dressing up the equipment was also quite fun. Rubber overalls, boots, headboard and look unrecognizable in the picture.
The more emotional of the group shuddered as we entered the cave twilight, haunted by the ancient Greek traditions. We stepped into the underground river, on the shore of which were two inflatable boats. By the time we realized we had to lie down in the boat to pass under the low rock vault. We got to the cave gallery.
The cave secrets
As we got used to the darkness and light of the spotlight, we realized we were in some other mystical world. He was born from the love dance between the rocks and the water and was dotted with bizarre formations.
Our guide began to help us “read” the ancient messages left by the water on the stone. They have been buried here for millions of years. He presented us not only the scientific versions of the formation of stalactites and stalagmites, the secondary cave formations. They are very varied because they are formed by the fight of water with themselves because their level rises almost to the top of the galleries. In one way, they draw the droplets coming from the surface, and otherwise the lush underground waters mark the stone breast of the Rhodopes. In such moments you want to fall to your knees before the creative power of nature, for everything around you has been created for millions of years.
Water caves are jealously guarding their secrets. “Golobuwica” has been spanning span for years. It is now known that it may be over 14.5 km long, making it unique and one of the longest not only in Bulgaria.
Three siphons have been discovered, which are difficult to overcome, because researchers from various cave clubs in the country are facing all kinds of collapses and obstacles. The risks to human life are enormous and are much more different than those encountered by scuba divers in open waters, said Sasho Inev. He is 31 years old and has been involved in several studies of the cave. He is a waiter by profession, but for him cavership is a fate. He is a member of the Mursalitsa Club of Speleology, who has been involved in mapping Golubuji. Sasho admitted that the cave’s research can always create a danger to life. The surprises are every inch, you sneak through narrow galleries without visibility and the idea of where you get. Therefore, cave divers are provided with equipment – they carry two bottles of air, 4-5 lanterns and battery kits, two shelves, and so on. The problem is that the equipment of the cavers is very expensive and ranges from 10 000 to 20 000 levs and upwards. And the equipment of tourists who love the extreme experiences is 10 times less. In order to provide research facilities, Mursalitsa organizes such trips.
Caves are a complex system of galleries and formations, and resemble the Minotaur’s labyrinth. Countless are the situations where you can lose the return thread, and you have no right to mistake, admits our guide.
The more enthusiasts advance in mapping, the more uncertainty in front of them increases. “Golubovitsa” is becoming more and more mysterious and the question “Where is the end of it?” This naturally creates the sense of mysticism that made the ancient people create the legend of Orpheus’s journey into the underworld.
As we went out, we realized what it was like to return to light and fresh air. In 10 minutes we reached the place where our courage was awaiting us – downhill through the alpine trolley over the river over Garga dere. When a person was in the “lower ground” of fairy tales, he really feels he is flying. And below is the river, which is fed by the same water that galleries in Golubovitsa. You also need a view from the air above the mountain. For a few minutes ago you were walking through the blood vessels – underground galleries of the Rhodopes But from wherever you look the beauty of the mountain, you need the legends of Orpheus more and you will feel it with your heart. Because, with equipment from the 21st century, you peered into another mystical world.
Autor: Liliya lozanova
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