18.05.2017 21:14

The Moravian Karst: revealing the extraordinary of the ordinary

Autor: Ruta Draskinyte | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

It is very humid here, but in a good way; it gives that fresh-air feeling, which is weird, because I am literally underground. Well, in a cave to be precise.


There are about 15 of us and a czech speaking guide, who somehow looks so comfortable here, as the caves were her home. Also, it is quite chilly here – the temperature here stays the same all-year round, about 10 degrees. If you like camping, this is not the place, but if you are looking for something extraordinary, the Moravian Karst in the Czech Republic really has something to offer!

The Moravian Karst is regarded throughout Europe as a classic karst landscape with underground streams, caves and gorges. The Punkva caves are part of a large cave system created by the water courses and are the most famous in the Moravian Karst. The water streams that made the paths in the caves are in fact tributaries of the subterranean Punkva river, which is actually still there in the cave. The tour of the Punkva caves consists of two parts connected with the Macocha abyss: the Dry Sector of 810m long walking path, and the 440m long water cruise by the electrically driven, flat-bottomed boats.

I am walking in the shadows, up and down the path, with a couple of lights in the way. They are not too bright, just enough to create the magical atmosphere and not to interrupt the natures work with human-made intruders. The voices of the tourist group and Czech speaking guide merges with the mesmerizing view of stalactites. They are hanging over our heads like the swords of nature. Some of them still dripping water on the passengers shoulders. Careful, even though in the Dry Sector the river is long time gone, it is still slippery.

While walking inside the cave, the imagination strikes you automatically as the guide tells you the titles of stalagmites and stalactites you are surrounded on the way. Camel, Owl, Angel and Curtain, Dwarf, and even Eternal Lovers (or the Needle) – the stalactite and stalagmite leaning towards each other, with a small gap in between that is never to be filled. Interesting, how rocks can be brought to life with imagination and a drop of romance.

Right before the water cruise, we enter the rewarding view of the bottom of the Macocha abyss. As the guide explained,the title came from the legend. In the nearby village used to live an evil stepmother (in Czech – macecha), who threw her stepson down into the depths of abyss. However, a branch saved him from death and as he returned, he told everyone what happened. The stepmother, scared of the punishment, then threw herself in the abyss. The total depth of the abyss is 138.4m and the depth of the Lower lake, through which the Punkva river leaves the Macocha bottom, is about 49m. As well as being a place of legend, despair and rugged beauty, the Macocha bottom is also a very rare habitation site of strictly protected flora usually found in the high mountainous regions.

Contrasting with the inside of caves, the gray is replaced by fifty shades of green and the shadows are illuminated by the sunlight. If someone asked me how the heavenly gardens look like, I bet it would be something similar. There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, in this case, the picture and words combined would not be able to reveal the beauty of this place. Truly amazing.

As we enter the boats, the excitement flows. It is one of the best attractions in the Punkva caves – the water cruise. Not only because it is a pleasure, but also because most of us are already tired of walking around the Moravian Karst. We are passing through the cave galleries, from time to time hitting the walls as the boat is making turns. It is forbidden to touch the water, which does not look deep, but actually is up to 40 m deep. Also, we are forced to bend every now and then so as not to hit the hanging stalactites. This actually makes the cruise more entertaining. However, the entertainment is coming to an end as we flow to the sunlight out of the caves.

There is something about the Moravian Karst and the Punkva caves that I adore. They are so simple and magical at the same time. You understand that it is just a water creation, but the results are magical, showing the power of nature. And this is very intimidating, but at the same time comforting, because you are also a part of it, which makes you extraordinary, too.

Klíčová slova: Moravian Karst, Punkva caves, Nature


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