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Hidden Treasures of Kapov Cave

Located in the Shulgan-Tash Reserve in the southern Ural Mountains of Russia, Kapov cave was first documented by P.I. Rychkov in 1760. In the late 1950s, Russian archeologist A.V. Ryumin discovered a gallery of more than fifty Paleolithic cave paintings on the walls of a long cavern in the network of caves. These superb examples of prehistoric art include rhinoceros, bison, mammoths and horses, as well as drawings of humans and other animals, along with geometric trapezoid shapes. Later excavations – by O.N. Bader in the 1960s and V.E. Shchelinsky in the 1980s – uncovered ash layers that enabled researchers to determine the date of human occupation as being between 13,900 and 14,680 radio carbon years before the present (RCYBP). Items unearthed during excavations include stone tools, beads, pendants made from bone and a lamp fashioned from clay.

Visitors to Kapov cave, also referred to as Kap cave, enter through an enormous archway, continuing from there to explore three distinct levels, each of which has caverns joined by corridors in an elaborate labyrinth. Stalactites hang from above, while stalagmites stretch up to meet them, and when the two meet they form columns resembling wax melted down the sides of a candle. Moreover, minerals in the water seeping through the cave walls have formed a fascinating array of crystals in different shapes and colors.

Other notable caves in Russia include the Kungur Ice Cave which stretches into the earth for more than six kilometers, with up to a hundred grottos joined by passages. As the name suggests, many of the stalactites and stalagmites, as well as other formations in the cave are formed from ice. Twice a year, during autumn and spring, the cave system is closed to tourists as it floods with water from the Sylva River.

Submerged in crystal clear water, the Orda Cave is listed as an All-Russia Natural Monument, as well as being listed as an excursion cave with the International Show Caves Association (ISCA). Located in the western Urals region, the Orda Cave has close to five kilometers of channels and underwater caves for divers to explore. The exceptional clarity of the water allows divers to see up to 45 meters around them, making it a dream destination for cave diving enthusiasts.

 



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