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The Lucky Cave of Kapova
October 22, 2009 01:06

The Kapova cave (or Shulgan-Tash, famous with its beautiful cave paintings of the Paleolithic age, is situated in the Bashkortostan Republic, on the Belaya River in the mountains of the South Ural on the territory the Shulgan-Tash nature reserve. The cave is interesting not only because of the paintings; its interior is notable too. It is well-known between the tourists and the scientists as well. The museum of The Kapova Cave is opened in it, and a spelaean laboratory will be opened soon.

Masterpieces of nature

The entrance to the cave is represented with an asymmetric arch. The span of this portal is about 40 meters, the height – 22 meters. The tree-storey system of the cave spans 3 kilometers and includes 9 halls, many grottos, the river and two lakes. Moreover, the biggest in Europe so-called siphon, the cavity filled with water without any air, is detected in the Kapova cave. Its diameter is 400 meters.

The calcite influxes in the cave are very picturesque. They look like tropical plants and waterfalls. The lowest level of the cave is filled with waters of the Shulganka River. It flows partly in the cave, partly of the earth surface. The second level consists mainly of the halls with cave paintings and a lake with crystal water. The upper level is situated on the 40 meters height upon the Belaya River. Each hall of the cave has its name, for example, the hall of the drawings, the hall of the Chaos, the Hall of the Abyss and the Hall of the Signes.

Cave painting

The famous cave paintings of the Paleolithic age were detected in 1959. They are situated in the halls of the middle and upper levels of the cave. The paintings of the upper level refer to the early Paleolitic time; the paintings of the lower one are approximately 12000 years old. This level is supposed to become available for the people by the end of the Ice Age. The animals are painted on the surface of the cave with raddle, and the animal glue was used as a binder. About 50 ancient animals are represented in the realistic manner, all of them move leftwards. Among them are mammoth, horse, woolly rhinoceros and bisons.

The cave was a centre of the religious life of the Paleolithic people; moreover, the legends of the Bashkirs are also tied with it. They supposed that the spirit of Ural-Bator lives in the cave. He is a huge horseman. His horse Arkbuzat has wings. You would be lucky during all your life, if you see him. Another myth reports, that some underground people headed by the soul live in the cave. Who renders any service to the Master of the cave, becomes a good luck in the life.

Unfortunately, the condition of the paintings is influenced by the tourists not the best way. The visits break the microclimate of the cave, and it harms the ancient masterpieces.

How to get

Some rafting tours on the Belaya River include the visit to the Kapova cave. Another way is to get to the natural resort Shulgan-Tash and book an excursion to the cave. The natural resort Shulgan-Tash is situated in the Republic of Bashkortostan, Burzyansky District, settlement Irgizly. Tel. (34755) 3-22-17; e-mail:

Yulia Buzykina



Tags: Bashkiria     

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