The Caves Of Ai-Petri

Overall, there are 300+ wells, caves and tiny mines at the peak of the Ai-Petri plateau. Only 3 caves are open to visitors, including "Geophysical", "Three-eyed" (aka Vorontsovskaya) and "Yalta". These caves are of karst origin and you'll find them at a depth of roughly 30m. The tourists will love the fascinating stalactites and stalagmites. There's a 6-meter-long stalactite in the Geophysical cave, while Three-eyed is home to ice stalactites.

The “Geophysical” cave

The locals claim that the “Geophysical” cave is a shelter for evil spirits. The scientists were able to get into it only about 5 decades ago, in 1971. The cave is surrounded by all kinds of wells, with the biggest one being 28 meters deep (it's got a shaft that's 100m long!) and a couple of smaller ones - 60 meters long. It's pretty cool in the cave - the temperature reaches a max of +10 degrees C. The “Geophysical” cave was open to visitors in 2009 after the officials installed a 28m-long screw ladder. The 6m-long stalactite is one of the biggest on the peninsula.

The “Three-Eyed” Cave (Aka The "Icy Cave" Or The "Vorontsov" Cave)

This cave comes with 3 gorges with an entrance and various stairs that go down in the enormous karst "hall". It's 30 meters deep and dates back about 3.5 million years! The temperature in the cave is pretty consistent and never exceeds +10C, just like in a fridge. The conical snowdrift goes up right at the bottom. People knew about this mysterious cave for ages. Hunters used to hide their prey in there - hang it on the ropes in the vast ice bins. Count Vorontsov really liked using the ice from the cave to cool his food and, of course, wine. The ice was cut, wrapped up and stacked in small pieces in a huge tub to keep the cold. Next, it was brought down by bulls. In 1989, when the local government equipped the cave with a proper ladder, it was officially open to visitors.

The “Yalta” Cave

This amazing cave has a karstic origin and has been used by the locals since the Neolithic period. Various traces of their existence were found by the researchers. It was first discovered in 1997 and was open to tourists in 2007. The cave is located at quite an impressive depth of 31m, and it's 180 meters long. However, only the main hall is open to visitors. There's a path in the lower hall that slides directly through a vertical forty-meter-long well. You can't go down the well without special equipment. To this day, you can find a huge number of stalactites, stalagmites, speleothems and even some stone flowers in the "Yalta" cave. The floor and the arches of the cave are covered in speleothems that are illuminated by colored lighting. The speleothems on the walls look a lot like jellyfish and huge stalagmites on the floor only add to the amazing picture.

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