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The Sloup–Šošůvka Caves
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CHARACTERISTICS

Short tour:
Tour duration:
60 min   
Tour length:   890 m

Long tour:
Tour duration:  100 min
Tour lenght:    1760 m

Air temperature 7 - 8 °C
Relative humidity cca 99%

THE CAVE TOUR

These caves start with an entry portal and through the corridor you come to the Nicová Cave (Moonmilk Cave), which has been known since time immemorial. It was named after the moonmilk coating on the walls. In the Nicová Cave there are bronze plaques with portraits of the remarkable karst explorers Dr. Jindřich Wankel and his grandson Prof. Karel Absolon.
The tour continues to Eliška’s Cave. It is a beautiful hall with stalactite and moonmilk decorations. The special acoustics of this hall are demonstrated to the public using reproduced music.
The underground walk leads through the artificially created corridor into the most extensive part of the Sloup-Šošůvka Caves – Staré Skály (Old Rocks). The walls blackened with smoke from wood chips are evidence of ancient expeditions to the cave. Staré skály begins with the huge Gotická chodba (Gothic Corridor). At the point of U řezaného kamene (The Cut Stone), in 1775 Count Karel Salm had two sinter plates cut for tables in the Rájec Chateau. The widening corridor Gotická chodba is terminated by the 65-metres-deep Stupňovitá Chasm. The visitors pass by spaces used for recuperation programmes, so-called speleotherapy. During reconstruction in 1997, the Stupňovitá Chasm was spanned with a bridge and a new non-traditional view is revealed to the visitors.
The next stop is the Kolmá Chasm. There are spaces here discovered in 1900 by Karel Absolon. The jewel of this part and the whole system of the Sloup-Šošůvka Caves is Nagel's Chasm. It was discovered in 1748 by the mathematician J. A. Nagel in the lower levels of the cave. Nowadays, this chasm is accessible thanks to two bridges. It is about 90 m deep (from the ceiling to the surface of the Sloupský Brook in the lower floors – and due to its dimensions it is one of the biggest underground shafts in the Czech Republic.
From Nagel's Chasm the foot trail leads to Trámová chodba (Timber Corridor). It is named after ancient timbers anchored horizontally in the corridor. Their origin is not known precisely. Probably they were the bearers of a scaffold used either as a platform for people hiding during the Thirty Years War, or for exploitation of stalactites and stalagmites. Trámová chodba leads to the 260-metres-long Stříbrná chodba (Silver Corridor). In previous times it was named after sparkling crystals of sinter decoration plentifully covering the walls. As chips of woods were used here, the sinters are dusky today. The last stop of the Short Cave Tour is in the middle of Stříbrná chodba. The visitors leave the underground area through the Kůlna Cave.
The Long Cave Tour continues in Stříbrná chodba. Old writing on the walls (among others even the signature of the mathematician J. A. Nagel from 1748) indicate how far into the cave people were able to go.
From this place there is a junction to the Šošůvka Caves, which were gradually discovered in 1889–1915. They are not as extensive as the Sloup Caves, but there is a very nice and well-preserved stalactite decoration.
The next steps lead you to Brouškova pohádková síň (Broušek’s Fairytale Hall). There is a unique stalagmite formation called "Svícen" (Candelabrum). Then visitors can continue to Riegrova síň (Rieger’s Hall). The Černá Chasm leading to the surface of the Sloupský Brook at a depth of 70 m is the final goal for tourists in the Šošůvka Caves. From the bridge, built here for research purposes by Karel Absolon, visitors can look down into the abyss. From the Černá Chasm through an artificial tunnel the visitors get back to Stříbrná chodba and go out through the Kůlna Cave.
 
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