A fascinating place to visit is the Devetashka caves near to Lovech. It’s a large open mouthed cave with high ceiling means that persons who suffer from claustrophobia shouldn’t be worried.
Devetashka cave earliest traces of human occupation date to the early stone age. Around 70,000 years ago. It wasn’t until 1921 however, that scientists rediscovered the system with interesting remains from the Neolithic period in Bulgaria.
Devetashka cave is 500 meters long and has a huge entrance – 35 meter high and 55 meter wide.
The height of the caves are 100 m in places and extends for over 2 kms.
It’s a karst cave. Formed from dissolution of soluble rocks and characterized by sinkholes, caves, and underground drainage systems.
The cave has 11 underground lakes, 14 springs and a river flowing through it’s interior which flows into the nearby Osam river.
The enormous chamber is lit by sunlight which enters from several large holes in the roof of the cave.
Two of the holes look like a pair of large looking down upon you. It is these eyes that gave the name to Oknata (“the eyes”).
Cold War storage
During the 1950’s. Devetashka cave was used as a large warehouse by the military to store petroleum. This led to a destruction of some of the natural formations inside the cave. Even a railroad was built leading to the entrance.
Devetashka cave is a protected landmark of national and international significance. It was declared a monument of culture in 1996.
Hollywood and Devetashka caves Bat Colonies
About 30,000 bats live in the Devetashka cave which is one of the three most important hibernation dwellings in the whole of Europe. All bats are a protected species in Bulgaria.
Four of the species that are found in the Devetashka caves are also included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
For movie buffs. Devetashka cave was a location for the underground lair in the action film ‘Expendables 2’. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chuck Norris. During 2011.
During the filming of ‘Expendables 2. The bat population had diminished due to stress incurred during filming.
The Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria declared that the filming was in breach of Bulgaria’s environmental regulations and the film company was fined.
The bats have now returned to their normal numbers since 2012.
Devetashka cave closes to visitors during the bat breeding season from June 1st until 31 July.
Here is a great news article story about the bats return to Devetashka cave
Devetashsak Caves are midway between Lovech approximatley 17kms and the Krushuna waterfalls 16kms.
There is a small entrance fee to the caves payable at the parking area. The entrance is about 5 minutes walk from the parking area and you will pass several souvenir stalls touting for business along the way.