The Cerovac Caves are located 4 km away from Gračac (towards Knin), and are easily accessible by the A1 highway (Sveti Rok exit, 25 km away from Gračac).
The cave system is located in the southern part of the Nature Park Velebit (on the hill Crnopac, 1403 m asl) and is comprised of three caves named Upper, Middle and Lower Cave. The caves have an abundance of hallways, canals and halls, and are connected with several pits. Total researched length of the caves is 4 km, but only 700 m of the Lower and Upper Caves are open for tourist visits. Cerovac caves are very well known for their cave formations – stalactites, stalagmites, large draperies and especially for their huge rimstone pools. One of the cave guide’s sentences really stuck with me: “The Cerovac Caves were once the canals of an underground river that changed its position when the Velebit Mountain massive rose up, taking the canals with it.” Imagine that! Imagine all the power of water and tectonic movement that was in play, and you are standing right where it all happened.
They were discovered only recently, in 1924, while the Lika railroad was being built and were named for the railway station Cerovac. That wasn’t the first time the caves were discovered – 20 thousand years ago a man hunted cave bears inside – his bone and bronze axe were found fossilized. You can also see visible traces of cave bears’ movement inside the caves – it is one of the best locations for cave bear findings in Croatia. Apart from the obvious scientific reasons, seeing the markings on the walls is really cool!
Since 1961, the caves have been protected as a special geomorphologic reserve and it is very important not to touch its decorations (goes for other caves as well!) – you could be destroying the process that has been working for tens, hundreds of years. For me, caves are a place to find yourself – no technology (except for lights), no cell phone reception, and no wi-fi – just you. And I think everyone should experience that at least once and imagine all the forces that were at work to make something as beautiful as a stalactite. Enjoy!
Tip: the temperature inside is between 5 and 11°C so wear warmer clothes and comfortable shoes!
The photos were provided to us by the kind folk from Nature park Velebit, please visit their official homepage for more information.
- Cave park Grabovača – underground jewel of Lika
- National Park Paklenica – majestic blend of the Adriatic and Dinaric
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