HomeAntarcticaStopića Cave: A Fascinating Adventure into Serbia’s Underground World
Stopića Cave: A Fascinating Adventure into Serbia’s Underground World
The Stopića Cave is a limestone cavern located in western Serbia near Sirogojno, on the slopes of Mount Zlatibor. The cave has been recognized as a natural monument by the state and is protected by the government. As of the year 2022, it has been hailed as the cave that receives the most visitors in the country.
Stopi-i hamlet of Roanstvo village, several kilometers away, inspired the name of the village as it is named after it. With its entrance standing 18 meters tall and 35 meters wide, the cave is quite easy to access as well as having a total length of 1,691 meters, which makes it quite convenient for visitors. Located at the bottom of the Trnavski Potok stream, the cave is classified as a river cave, as the stream runs through the cave.
Stopia Cave is situated on the grounds of the Roanstvo village, a village located 19 kilometers to the north of Zlatibor, in the direction of Sirogojno, so it is easy to get there. The location of the turning point from the road between the two villages is marked by the depiction of a large bottle, which served as an advertisement for the former Vapa Spa which was located at the turn-off point between the two villages.
A 31-foot waterfall, referred to in the cave as the “Spring of Life,” is found there as well as speleothems and distinctive tufa “bathtubs.” Over the years, these cave formations have filled with water, eventually overflowing and creating picturesque cascades. There is a whirlpool located in the section known as the River Canal when you enter the park.
There is a tufa slide just beneath it, which is spread into the tufa cascades as it spreads. In between the cascades, you will find a couple of “bathtubs” and gigantic “pots”. When the water influx at the springs is at its peak, the cascading water results in the creation of a waterfall known as “Spring of Life”.
Stopića Cave consists of two great halls, called the Dark Hall and the Light Hall, and besides that, there are specific openings in the ceiling of the cave called the dugure or the vigledi that serve as access points. Only one of these openings, measuring 66 meters deep, is directly connected to the cave, of seven that exist. Several of them are connected by slanted corridors that interconnect them with each other.
As for the history of the cave, local residents have kept a number of legends about unknown voices coming from the cave, individuals falling into it or tumbling into the abyss when they deviated from the path, and various other anomalies within the cave. It served as a hideout for the local Serbian population during the First Serbian Uprising, as they tried to hide from the Ottoman army during the uprising. According to locals, the corridors are substantially longer than the official measurements, but they have not been verified.
The first description of the cave was published by Radoslav Vasović in the manuscript of the Serbian Geology Society by the end of 1901. Speleological surveys were first conducted by Jovan Cvijić in 1909 and 1913. Pane Stopić, a local hero, hid in the cave during and after World War II in order to evade Chetniks, Yugoslav Partisans, and OZNA pursuers.
Local residents dug into the dugure at the turn of the 21st century, believing it contained gold. There was an opinion that it was the treasure of the medieval Nemanjić dynasty, while others believed it was gold hidden by the Chetniks during the war. In 2017, 61,280 visitors visited the cave, and in 2019, there will be 89,113 visitors to the cave.
Stopića Cave was opened to the public in 2009. As a result of its acoustics, the cave has hosted a number of concerts and performances over the years. The length of the walkways has been extended by 60 meters by 2022, bringing the total length of the walkways to 400 meters, which is an increase of 40 meters from 200 meters. The Dark and Light Hall, the Spring of Life waterfall, the Hall with Pots, and the whirlpools became accessible because of this. There were more than 100,000 visitors to the site.
Vapa Spa, also known as Toa’s Spa, was a former spa located in the Rochimci-Sirogojno area and next to a cave that was near the Rochimci-Sirogojno route. In this area, which is bordered by the small Pritavica river, there are two pipes from which the spring water from the spa flows. This spa has been used by local people for centuries, and they have been believing in its healing properties for a variety of conditions such as nerve problems, skin diseases, and eye problems for hundreds of years.
There is a spa complex that is designed in a castle style, but it is still unfinished and abandoned, covered in overgrowth, and remains unfinished and unfinished. Construction of the complex began in 1974 by a local man named Toša Lazović (1914-1999), which is where the spa gets its second name. The construction continued until 1999, but it was never completed. There is a large brick object in the shape of a bottle on the road that marks the turn to the spa if you are looking for it.
A semicircular gate is the only way in and out of the complex as you must cross a concrete bridge that is fenced in. Aside from that, there is also another entrance with a small bridge and a gate that is even worse dilapidated than the previous one. A hotel was supposed to be built in the middle of the complex, designed in the form of a castle with towers and terraces, and made of red bricks for the façade.
Pedestrian paths surround the river and there is a small pool situated next to it, along with paved pedestrian paths. Another bottle-shaped structure was built around the main building and each of them had a pipe that was supposed to carry water from a spring. Although Lazović bottled and sold the water for some time, the complex ultimately remained in ruins and unfinished for months to come. Read More – The Breathtaking Real Life of Svetloe Lake in Serbia