The explorations of Serbian, Polish and Hungarian speleologists, during the least three decades, have shown, that, although some speleological sites in Montenegro already in Balkans, the distances and depth reached so far are not the ultimate. Nowadays karst is overfilled with different objects, from long holes to deep caves, and there is no area without at least some gaping hole. Question is are you in a mood to research something new or enjoy experiencing the already known? The Mountain massifs of Orijen, Lovćen, Meganik, Kapa Moračka, Durmitor and Prokletije, as well as the part of Pešter plateau, are distinguished by a significant number of structures of different dimensions, transients, tehnical demands, amount of water and general level exploitation.
Considering the complexity of this terrain, number and characteristic of the structures research possibilities, specific speleological organizations have been organizing activities on the same locations. A database on terrains was made and constantly expanded as well as a map of interests . Unfortunately, there is no enough space here to present a more comprehensive list with descriptions of all local speleological elements, but even this overview of the most visited terrains and the biggest caves and halls will be able to conjure the beauties of the Montenegrin geological underworld.
In the area of National Park Durmitor there are several speleological elements of imposing size, mostly caves. The thickness of karst and high altitude of the entrances enable the creation of deep caves, among which is the cave on Vjetrena brda that was for long considered as the deepest in the Balkans, while the cave on Mali Lomni carries an epithet of technically most demanding even today. Cave on Vjetrena brda, with 755 m of depth, is the deepest one in Montenegro and one of the deepest in Balkans. Although there are no big technical difficulties in it, its grand size demands serious organization well prepared team, and large amount of equipment. The cave was discovered by Polish speleologists. In August 1985, during the international speleological expedition “Durmitor 85”, the cave was explored to the very bottom, at 897 m of depth, according to the measuring at that time. Last measuring ( 2005) with more precise instruments has shown that the real depth is 775 meters.
Although it is not the deepest one, the cave on Mali Lomni Do is technically the most demanding. Because of that, it is not often the subjects of actions or expeditions, while stories of conquering its details are inevitable part of local speleological history. Discovered and searched up to depth of 560 meters in 1984, during the international speleological expedition “Durmitor 85”, when the ultimate depth of 605 meters was reached, without the possibility of further progression.
Cave system in Obručin, with a depth of 464m, is most often visited cave on Durmitor. It is an excellent introduction and preparation for descending down in bigger and more difficult objects. For the first time, this technically relatively easy cave system was explored at the international expedition. It has 4 entrances, three are shown on the drawing. Verticals, that lead from fourth entrance, are connected with the system in the ceiling of the final chamber.
Đalovića Klisura ( Đalović’s Gorge)
The cave above Vražiji firovi ( Devil’s whirlpools) in Đalovića Gorge ( the canyon of Bistrica River), near Bijelo Polje, is the longest cave system in Montenegro. It is situated about a kilometer upstream from Glava Bistric, through Đalovića klisura, at the same altitude as the lowest one of four ponds, so called Vražiji firovi. Explored length of this canal is around 11.750 m, while precise measure us 10.550 m, and denivelation is about 120 m. Researched cave part above Vražiji firovi consists canals, hallways and caves that are mostly dived on four basic entities: Canal with lakes, Veliki Lavirint ( Great Labyrinth) , Veliki Kanal ( Great Canal) and braid of cannals that connect the upper level with the lower one. The richness of morphologic shapes and cave jewelry make this cave a pearl of local underground, by its dimensions and aesthetics.
Maganik and Morača Mountain
The central part of Montenegro, in which the mountain massive on Maganik rises, Prekornica, Kape Moračke and Lola, are also exquisitely attractive speleological terrains. Among the huge number of cave objects and different depths, Dvogrla jama in Pribatov dol on Maganik, stands out by its dimension, at 395 m of depth, and cave in Crveni dol beneath Stožac and Kapa Moračka ( 444 m). In 1994, both caves has been explored for the first time, and in 2001, during the research of the depth limit of 393 m, a cave continuation that increased its depth to 444 meters was found in a hole of Crkevi Dol.
Southern areas, especially ones covered with chains of seaside mountains Rumija, Lovćen and Orijen, don’t have altitudes like ones in Durmitor, which enabled formation of caves of great depths, but they don’t lag behind in their numbers and diversity of speleological objects. Terrains like Kameno more ( Stone Sea) within the wider scope of Orijen massif, where caves burst, practically everywhere, or on wider Lovćen region and mountains leaned onto it, offer almost unlimited possibilities of enjoyment in the underground magic. The zone of the main coastal cliffs is characterized by formation of holes or combined cave-hole objects that drain the surface waters towards that coast, as it is confirmed by several hydrological examinations. The example is a combined cave in Duboki do, in Njeguši area, which is 2.178 m long and 506 m deep. Its dimensions make one of the most representative Montenegrin speleological objects in both categories, while the unique complexity of passage, which includes speleological diving in a great siphon, demands from speleologist all of his knowledge, equipment and skills.
During the whole year, the air temperature in speleological objects is the same, but not the level and amount of water in the streams and accumulations. That is why the second half of summer and the beginning of autumn is the best choice, since during that time the surface receives the smallest amount of precipitations, which are still drained and collected in caves. Besides that, after numerous hours spent in wet and cold overalls, it is good to meet a warm August morning instead of February storms.
NOTE: speleology in Montenegro is free. Exceptions are the areas of national parks, where you should pay general and visitor’s fee, and for every activity in objects of NP Durmitor you should get an approval from the park management.
Cave jewelry that we admire so much and whose beauty is the counterbalance to the extraordinary monumentality of underground spaces, should remain there for everyone else that will come to admire it. Resist the drive to break it off and don’t take it away. From the silence of underground chambers souvenirs are carried in memories, not in a bag.
Montenegro Hostel Team