Petnica cave


PETNICA CAVE (~ 34 km from Mravinjci)

Village of Petnica, near Valjevo, western Serbia

History of research

The first notes of Petnica cave are by famous Serbian writer Joakim Vujić (1772-1847) when he in 1826. visited Valjevo and Petnica. He recorded the details of the upper and lower hall, fluctuating course of the River Banja and said that upper chamber is so vast "that man through it  can walk for an hour and come out at the village Žabare."

First speleological research of Petnica cave was conducted by Jovan Cvijić (1865-1927), founder of Serbian scientific speleology. His research was conducted in 1893., and in 1911., he survey  certain parts of the cave, Upper Cave, vertical profile, hydrological problems and morphogenesis. It is recorded that Upper cave has a length of 420m.

Detailed speleological research was conducted by Branislav Jovanović (1921-1984) with the team consisting of R. Lazarevic, M. Marinkovic, M. Popovic, S. Veljković, B. Mladenovic and B. Arapović. Surveying was done in november in 1949. and it was made a plan and longitudinal sections of the cave, drawings of  interior, environment map of the cave and two plans for road to the building. The greatest attention is paid to the genesis of the cave, and measured the total length of the chanels is 600m. R. Lazarevic in those days made tourist route between Lower and Upper Cave, which is identical to today's.

Petnica cave in 1950. became recognized and protected as law natural rarity. As tourist atraction Petnica cave was put to work in 1979. On this occasion, members of the Speleological Group Research Society "Vladimir Mandić - Manda" from Valjevo again surveyed cave and do a detailed plan and longitudinal profile in the scale 1:200, suitable for the project. Additional research was conducted by Radovan Lazarevic (Instigut Forestry Belgrade) with a team consisting of Rozomir Tomic (DIVMM), Eng. Ludvik Pucelj and tehn. Radisav Cvetić. Investigations have taken tacheometric space in front of the cave, Lower Hall and part of the upper chamber. For everything else they used the results of B. Jovanović and Speleological Group DIVMM. Works on organizing touristic route of Petnica cave, the project of R. Lazarević, began in February and ended in September 1988. Work in Petnica cave was done by special city committee, and exceptional support provided by the current mayor of Valjevo, one of the founders of the Research Society "Vladimir Mandić - Manda", Dušan Mihajlović.


Morphological characteristics

Petnica cave was created by water and chemical processes in the limestone. This process started several miliona years ago and is still not finished. Limestones of Valjevo were formed in the Mesozoic period. After the withdrawal of the Pannonian Sea (late Cretaceous), there was a strong tectonic movements which led to the reduction of river networks, switching of surface water into the groundwater, which begins construction and expansion of today's caves. In Upper Hall are two distinctive holes in the ceiling, so-called "vigled ". Occurence of vigled is explained by the increase in the height of the cave, which led to a reduction in the thickness of the ceiling. In the cave, there are three levels and three generations of cave horizons. The main cave channel, which is constantly dry, which consist of the rock shelters of Lower Hall, then channel system upstream of the Abyss, a much smaller, wet and muddy, and the new river path, Dragon's lake.

Interesting hydrological phenomena is the source of the river Banja with pulsating flow, without the rules it suddenly change the amount of water. This mechanism is referred to as a source of intermittent or potajnica.

The total length of the cave system is 580m, and the surface is 3395.5m2. Channel width varies from 1m to 20m, a height from 0.8m to 17m. For touristic visits it is arranged a part of the cave to the channel with the Abyss, and the length of the tourist trail is 414m. It should be said that the cave was never officially opened for tourist visits since she was in the 90's robbed from the entire equipment in the cave, cables, lighting, etc., which is reprehensible. From Lower to Upper Cave it is made connection by a steep path through the cave channel. The cave has 11 natural speleomorphological Group: Banja restaurant (Lower Cave), Concert Hall, High Hall, Pharynx, Bujanovac hall Channel with Abyss, link arm channel, left and right channel source, Dragon's halls and underground channel Banja. The largest area of the cave is a concert hall, which measures 25.6x42.6m, 24m height and area of 1030m2. On ceiling of this hall are 2 Vigleds. In Dragon's hall is lake with depth of 8m, whose level has oscillates about 1m. Water from the lake flows in underground drains in the Banja room. There is a legend that in this lake is a dragon. When dragon moves its tail on the surface of the lake there are bubbles , and when he drink the water, level of the lake drops.

Cave is not very rich with speleothems, but has an erosive form of large dimensions. In the cave there are numerous permanent colony of bats. Petnička cave presents an archaeological site that provides testimonies of people and animals since the Paleolithic period, or Old Stone Age.

Position of cave - a topographic map Valjevo 478-4-2 (Bačevci)

Geographical features and position of surrounding terrain

Petnica cave is located 7.5km southeast of Valjevo in a place "where the plain of Kolubare, the gentle waves constructed from lake sediments, faces a steep, wooded slopes, built of limestone." It is one of remarkables speleological karst structures of the type covered, zepenog krasa and covers an area made of limestone - dolomite rock.

Name of the cave comes from the name of the village where it is located. The opening of the cave rises on the north side of the hill Osoj, it is very big and very noticeable from a distance. Local people  called 2 openings the Great and Little Cave, but today they are known as the lower and upper halls. It is old belief that the Upper Cave is linked to a cave in the village Robaje, and that through it may come out in Žabare village or hamlet Rogljevići in the Abyss, but none of these claims is supported by the discovery of caving channel. From the lower cave emerges river Banja, whose name probably derives from the stable temperature water (about 9 °C), which does not freeze in winter, and in summer retains freshness.

River Banja once had a mill, on whose place today is a small hydroelectric power plants, power 12KW. Near the cave is located Petnica church, Petnica Science Center - PSC, and farther the same name sports and recreation center, the most visited pool in surrounding, based on the use of thermal sources, which is located downstream from the cave on the left side of the river Banja. To Petnica cave leads asphalted road. Petnica church is built in the 19th century on the foundations of much older monastery. There is a tradition that the monks of the Turks, hidden monastery treasure in Petnica cave, but it was never found. The church have the relic, the hand of St. Luka, and in the churchyard there is a pine that is planted in the 16th century, by one member of the family Jevtic from the village Bujačić. In recent years, not far from the cave was built an bottling factory of carbonated natural mineral water.