Yagodinska cave is the pearl of the cave world of Bulgaria. The research of the cave began in 1965 by Speleo Club “Studenets” – Chepelare, led by Dimitar Raychev. 9 young people from the club took part in the initial expedition. For 12 days, archaeological drillings were conducted at the cave entrance – the first floor was mapped and the second floor was accessed. At the time of this initial research of the cave interesting archaeological findings were made prompting three more specialized expeditions. Along with the archaeological studies, specialized speleological studies were carried out, such as mapping of the second floor, microclimatic and bio-speleological studies. As a result of the expeditions, 8500 meters from the cave were thoroughly explored.
In 1982-1986, a new mapping of the cave was carried out and new galleries and sections were discovered, reaching a length of 10500 meters. Two artificial tunnels- the current entrance and exit- were excavated. The cave is well-developed and the third floor is open to visitors. At 4 meters after the natural entrance of the cave (first level) an Eneolithic dwelling – a local ceramic center, is found, the only one in Europe preserved in its natural form.
About Yagodinska Cave
Yagodinska cave is located 20 km south of Devin and 3 km southwest of the village of Yagodina. It is situated on the right bank of the Buinovska River (the beginning of river Vucha), which has shaped the longest and most picturesque gorge in Bulgaria – Buynovo gorge -7 km long. The cave can be reached on the Devin–Dospat road, turning left at the wall of Teshel dam. Because the road from Teshel to the cave is one-lane only, buses over 35 passenger seats cannot drive on it.
The Yagodinska cave / Imamova dupka / is named after the nearby village – Yagodina. In its morphology, it is a multi-level, labyrinth cave. It is 10.5 km long (the third longest in Bulgaria and the longest in the Rhodopes) and is located on three floors, of which only the third (the lowest) is open to visitors. The tourist path is 1250 meter long, and 360 meters of it can be accessed by wheelchair. The entrance and the exit to this floor are artificially excavated tunnels with a length of 150 and 80m, respectively. The third entrance is the natural one, and was the entrance used during the initial studies of the cave in 1963. At the beginning of the natural entrance, an eneolithic dwelling dating from the 4th millennium BC was found.
Some very beautiful cave formations can be seen along the entire tourist route – stalactites, stalagmites, columns, helictites, cave lakes, leopard skin, dendrites, draperies and some of the most unique formations – cave pearls. A total of 22 of the world-known 28 cave formations can be seen in Yagodinska Cave.
Those with creative eye can spot cave formations resembling Santa Claus, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Madonna and Child, Pijo and Penda, animal figures and many more interesting figures can be seen in the cave if you have good imagination.
In the cave there even is a ritual hall for civil marriages.
The temperature of the cave show area is + 6 ° C – constant all year round, the humidity is 85-91%. The cave entrance is at altitude 930 meters, and the exit is at 937 meters a.s.l., a difference of +7 meters elevation gain.
Due to the great length of the underground galleries, Yagodinska cave is rich in animal and plant species. From the animal world, different species of bats, cave locusts, spiders and others are present, and from the flora – lichens, mosses, molds and mushrooms.
Eleven species of bats are recorded in the cave during the different seasons of the year. Six of these species are of priority for conservation throughout Europe – the large and small horseshoe bats, as well as four species of bumblebee bats: the large, the squirrel, the long-haired and the tricolor. In the summer months the natural entrance of the cave is an important gathering site for bats. Every evening, from August 15th to September 30th, about 9-10 different species of bats gather around the natural cave entrance. In the winter, mainly the large and small horseshoe bats remain in the cave.
There is a paid car park at the site of the cave, and also a restaurant and small market with local products like honeys, teas and mountain crystals.
The Eneolithic dwelling is located on the first floor of Yagodinska cave. It is 200 sq.m. in size, and the temperature inside is 18 C. Its entrance is the natural entrance of the cave which has been used during the initial study and mapping. It is located 200m left of the cave exit and can be reached following a marked path about 50m long.
The Eneolithic dwelling dates back to 4 millennia BC / chalcolithic period / and in it, visitors can see many interesting artifacts from the life of ancient civilizations like: kiln, ceramic vessels, ceramic fragments, tools, charred corn, charred fabrics and many more.
Working hours of Yagodinska Cave
All year round, 365 days per year.
Winter season / 01.11 to 30.04. / – from 10:00 to 16:15
Summer season / from 01.05 to 31.10./ – from 9:00 to 16:15
Lunch break hours vary depending on the volume of tourists visiting the cave. Please check at the ticket office. There is a guided tour of the cave at every round hour. The lecture begins 10 minutes before the guided tour in front of the cave entrance next to the ticket office.
Children up to 6 years of age – free
Children from 7 to 18 years – 4.00 BGN
Over 18 years – 8.00 BGN
Students – 5.00 BGN / must present student ID /
Winter period – minimum visitors required for a guided tour – 6 adults
Summer period – minimum visitors required for a guided tour – 10 adults
Working hours – every day from May until the end of September at: 10:10, 11:10, 12:10, 14:10, 15:10, 16:10, 17:10
Lunch break: 13:00 to 14:00
Visits to the dwelling are organized as a group tour with lecture and require a minimum of 5 adults
Children up to 6 years of age – free
7 to 18 years – 1.00 BGN
18 years and over – 2.00 BGN