caves, mine galleries
One of the most beautiful limestone caves of Slovak Karst National Park is Ardovská Cave. It is 1492 metres long and its decoration is characterized by pisolite stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone curtains. These underground premises were already inhabited in the Neolithic Age and in later times as well. Measuring by Slovak standards, very rare and unique prehistoric wall drawings can be found here, albeit only in a fragmentary form. The cave is not open to public.
The Hôrka Karst Phenomena nature trail guides visitors through the southernmost point of the Slovak Karst – Hôrka which is adjacent to Koniar Plateau. The nature trail is actually closed-path, 8.8 kilometers long, beginning and ending at the same point which is the Skalná Ruža guesthouse. Ten boards provide information during the hike regarding the karst environment, including caves, fountain heads, springs, sinkholes and several limestone creations. Hikers can also get basic information about the thermophilic flora and fauna typical for this location. In the saddle of Hôrka and Koniar Plateau the nature trail crosses the green level hiking trail leading from Plešivec to Hrádok thereby connecting itself into the network of hiking trails through the Karst. It takes about two and half to three hours to complete the hike.
Bretka is located at the confluence of Muráň and Slaná rivers. The trail starts in the centre of the village and following the flow of Muráň it takes the hikers to less known but all the more astonishing places in terms of both history and landscape.
The hike is 3.2 kilometers long and the trail reaches the elevation of 66.5 metres. Visitors can acquire some new knowledge from six information boards.
The first board of the trail is located at the starting point in the village below the ruins of a former church. The church had been subjected to aerial bombardment during World War II, because of an underground military bunker in its vicinity. The ruins are still standing as a memento. The marked trail takes us after a slight climb to Peškő cliff.
The second board is situated right on the cliff. Provided the visitors are in slightly better shape and they are willing to go down the steep slope just along the cliff, they can find a cave with two openings. Following the marked path we take a turn back towards the village. We get to the river Muráň and after crossing a nearby bridge we continue up against the flow until reaching a canyon.
The third board provides information on the operation of the former mill. A dam was built on it which functioned later as a small hydroelectric power plant. The signs continue along the riverbank and after a slight climb they lead the visitors to a meadow.
The fourth board informs about the flora and fauna of the environment. Taking a left turn on the meadow leads us towards the mountain while turning right we take a path to the forest. The path is indicated as green level hiking trail and it leads back to the riverbank.
The fifth board is at the opening of the Hutnianska Cave. It informs about its origin, history and the erosive actions of the river as well. The hiking trail continues along the riverbank to a spring with drinkable water.
The sixth board is located at the crossroads of green and yellow hiking trails. While looking at the other side of the river the remnants of a former iron foundry are visible. From the last information board the path turns against the flow and goes in parallel with the green level hiking trail. Then it takes a left turn down on a steep slope and leads to a meadow. Crossing this meadow takes us back to Bretka.
The highest waterfall of the Slovak Karst can be found directly among the houses. It provides a unique spectacle at a piece of artwork that was not created by nature, but man. The water flows through a travertine rock outcrop from where the locals mined stone for house-building in the past. The soft and porous limestone was easy to shape with a saw. According to recollections of the locals an abundance of fossils (mostly leaves) were found during the quarrying process and it is not impossible to find them even nowadays. Next to the waterfall is a geological outcrop.
The waterfall is 14 metres high. It can be easily located provided one follows the indications. The stream had a practical use in the past. There were once three mills in Hrhov.
caves, mine galleries
The all year open karst cave Domica is characterized by rich karst decorations, especially typical shields and drums, cascade lakes and numerous pagoda stalagmites. It is also significant from archeological point of view. Not only ceramic jars used by prehistoric people, but also their hand and footprints, along with various items such as arrows, ornaments made of animal teeth, comb or ring were found here. Cave drawings made with coal have been preserved on the walls and bones of a prehistoric cave bear were also found.
The cave’s other peculiarity is the underground river Styx. Following excessive rainfalls the underground river can be used for boating or rafting which is very popular among the visitors. Along with the Devil’s Hole and Baradla Cave, Cave Domica forms an underground complex approximately 25 kilometers long. Visitors can take the short tour (780 metres long) or the long one (930 metres long).
The significant paleontological and geological location was created artificially during the quarrying process. Geological layers on the river Muráň’s left bank present the various limestone layers corresponding to different stages of development of the earth’s crust. Although several types of fossils can be found here, their collection is strictly prohibited because the places happens to be a protected area of 15 hectares with level 4 protection.
Meliatikum in the Western Carpathians is also named after the village of Meliata and the Meliata profile.
The protected territory with an area of 39.55 hectares is located near the river Muráň that flows through a narrow gorge changing into a canyon. A narrow path runs along the riverbank which sometimes passes over the canyon and then returns back to it. The breakthrough is accessible from the village of Meliata through the yellow level hiking trail that connects to the nature trail leading from Bretka and the green level hiking trail leading to the village of Gemer and the path leading to Viničný vrch in the opposite direction. Numerous caves can be found in the area.
This architectural masterpiece, unique in all Slovakia, is located on the Plešivecká Plateau. The Serényi reservoir is a concrete structure 16 meters in diameter, 4 meters deep with 960 thousand liters of water capacity. It was constructed on a soil depression in the shape of a funnel. It was not a typical karst sinkhole, rather than a former disappearing or possible future one, but its size and position fit the bill perfectly. It was built on a slope which enabled rainfall accumulation to a single point. Most of the structure is in the ground and it is capable of accumulating rainfall from an area of 290 hectares. The structure materialized in 1913 thanks to Béla Serényi, the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Agriculture at the time. The architectural project was designed by the royal industrial counselor Károly Rozsnai.
Less than two kilometres southwest of the village Silica is located one of the lowest-lying ice caves in the world with an altitude only 503 metres. Despite not being open to public it has the potential to be an attractive tourist destination due to its imposing rock portal created by the original cave’s collapsed ceiling. Its entrance, which is 12 metres high and 32 metres wide, is accessible for tourists by stairs. From this place not only the vast embracing cliff walls are observable but from time to time the glaciation of the cave as well. There is also a historical writing on the walls dedicated to Count Adam Revitzky’s visit of the cave. The Silica Ice Cave has been known for a long time. J. Buchholtza made a drawing of it in 1719 and the famous polymath Matthias Bel described it in 1744. The cave is under the highest level of protection due to its addition to UNESCO’s World Natural Heritage program in 1995.
A lake next to the yellow level hiking trail on the way to Silická Jablonica. Created by obstruction of a karst sinkhole. Today it is a fishing ward and nesting place of the black coot.
A former lake with a cave entrance is located by the red level hiking trail behind Silica village not far from a shadoof.
headsprings, spring wells
caves, mine galleries
Milada and Matilda are both caves. The former is located about 1 kilometer southeast of the village, while the latter is located in the south. Milada is 800 meters long with large underground halls and stalactite decorations. Matilda is a 415 meters long deep karst cave also very rich in decoration. None of them is open to public.
The cave was discovered through a fountain head and its premises were not connected with the surface. Thanks to this, the unique fragile decoration of sinter hollow straws remained. Some of these can reach a length up to three metres. The cave’s total length is 1.5 kilometres but the guided tour cover roughly one third of it with its length of 530 metres. Open to public during the season, further details and price list can be found on the following website: www.ssj.sk