Șura Mare cave

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English
Șura Mare cave is located on the valley of Ponor creek, on the territory of Ohaba Ponor village, at the foot of Fruntea Mare steep, in the County of Hunedoara. As it lies within the protected area of the Natiral Park Grădiștea Muncelului – Cioclovina, the cave also represents a protected area, explored for the first time in 1929. It is about 4500 m long and it has a monumental entrance of about 40 m high and 12 m wide. The cave has a sole active gallery 3.143 m long, which is hard to go through, as the dry areas alternate with lakes, waterfalls and huge boulders barricading the way and making the passage difficult. In the first large hall, with the 40 m high ceiling, were discovered remnants of Neolithic ceramics and bones of domesticated animals. There is also an underground lake, which is 60 m long and 1.8 to 3 m deep, which makes advance difficult, particularly because of the rocks that form limestone thresholds. Air temperature inside the cave is 8-10 degrees C, and the water has a temperature of 7-9 degrees C. Starting here, the gallery is full of huge water whirlpool potholes , with the walls carved by alveoli. About 2.300 m from the entrance, is the Sala Mare [Grand Hall], the most spectacular opening, its walls being covered by parietal leaks, canopies of various shapes and colors and the floor is covered in a cascade of rimstones. After the Grand Hall the cave continues for about 800 m, and then, a deep  draintrap stops the advance. Inside Șura Mare cave there is one of the largest colonies of hibernating dwarf bats in Europe. The Pipistrellus colony, with about 34.000 individuals, is at 350 m from the entrance, and it is completed higher up, by colonies of Miniopterus schreibersi. The tourists can only admire the monumental entrance and the grand hall from the entrance, advance inside the cave implying the use of special protection equipment and speleological experience.