The Emyne-Bayr-Khosar Cave takes an especial place among the natural phenomena of Europe. It is situated on the picturesque slope of Mount Chatyr-Dag wherefrom a panorama of the central part of the Crimea Peninsula opens up.
It was difficult to find way to the Cave. The only way was a descent to a dreadful and mysterious well, the vertical walls of which were hidden in the dark. Just in 1927, geologists descended into the well, which led them to a beautiful hall of more than 100 metres (328.08 feet) in length.
The Emyne-Bayr-Khosar Cave became world-famous after many years of work done by the Simferopol speleologists, who, from 1969 to 1982, discovered about 1,500 metres (4,921.26 feet) of new halls and galleries covered with calcite crystals of different colours, the cave flowers. The Cave is unique in its diversity and magnificence of calcite formations.
It is due to the Simferopol speleologists and particularly the Centre of Speleotourism "ONIX-tour" and its manager A. F. Kozlov that the Emyne-Bayr-Khosar Cave has been saved and opened for tourists.
Today it will take you two hours to get over the 850-metre long (2,788.71 feet) route and visit the tourist halls of the Cave. A new, man-made entrance to the Cave was arranged by speleologists in the place of the old river bed, the waters of which had washed out the Cave. The passage leads to the Northern Gallery. The tourist path rounds the stalagmites and goes down. The gallery is 6 to 7 metres (19.69 to 22.97 feet) wide. As you round the bend, you come in view of the fantastic world: stalagmites resembling southern palms and corallites like "stone grapes". From the Northern Gallery you go to the central part of the grand Main Hall that is 120 metres (393.7 feet) long. Its total height is 42 metres (137.8 feet). A natural well connects it with the surface. The well is 14 metres (45.93 feet) in depth. Sunbeams strike the well walls overgrown with moss and diffuse in the hall with emerald shining.
The Simferopol speleologists had guarded the Cave for twenty five years, then cleared a new good entrance and made a part of the Cave accessible for tourists. While working, the speleologists made several sensational discoveries. They found halls with unique dripstones and bones of vertebrate animals of the late Pleistocene. The number of bones and their good condition made the discovery unique.
In 2000, a paleontological museum was established in the Cave, where the most interesting discoveries are exhibited. These are the well-preserved skeletons of many animals of the last Ice Age such as mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, cave bear, reindeer, ancient horse, etc.
The southern wall of the hall is a calcite curtain of different colours that is unique for the European caves. Its area is 500 sq. metres (5,381.96 sq. feet). A good staircase goes up to the "window" in the centre of the curtain and leads to the Lake Hall. Its walls, decorated with corallite flowers, sink in emerald waters of the blue lake. Its water is as transparent as you can see the bottom at a depth of 6 metres (19.69 feet).
A path, which begins at the lake and loops between the columns, finally leads to the Hall of Idols that is about 60 metres or 196.85 feet in length. Over a hundred of stalagmites of different size hulk up around the Hall. In the centre there are giant statues resembling stone sculptures of gods. The biggest Idol is 10 metres (32.81 feet) in height. The walls are covered with 20-metre high (65.62 feet) cascades of orange and cream-coloured dripstones. Huge snow-white stalactites hang down from the dome. The floor is scattered with wrecks of an ancient landfall. The Hall panorama is ended with a dripstone dam of 10 metres (32.81 feet) in height and brownish in colour, hence the name of Chocolate.
A narrow tunnel leads from the Hall of Idols to the Treasury Hall. This is a miniature, however beautiful and inimitable hall. The most interesting dripstone formation of the Treasury Hall is the Castere Sun. The small, silent and indiscernible hall has been chosen by cave aborigines, the bats.
Leaving the Treasury Hall, you come to one of the most beautiful halls of the Cave, the Kecskemet that was developed and opened for visitors in May of 2005. This grand hall is of almost the same length as the Main Hall that is about 100 metres (328.08 feet). It was named after the Hungarian sister town to Simferopol. Nobody remains indifferent to the wall composition of the Kecskemet. Especially spectacular is the central stalagmite "White Speleologist".
The tour of the Upper Bayr is ended in the Kecskemet Hall. After the tourist path comes back to the Hall of Idols, it dives into the next tunnel leading to the Hall named after V. Dublyansky, the Crimean scientist and karst researcher. The Hall of the Dead Lake is an unofficial name of the hall. Colours of the hall dripstones amaze: amber, red, orange. You can see a masterpiece of cave architecture in the hall, the double-storied calcite lake that has not had water for ages.
After the Dublyansky Hall, the tourist path leads to the Pink Grotto. Columns are piled on the floor and resemble some ruins of an ancient temple. A stalagmite "Vulkanchik" (translates as Small Volcano) stands out.
As you round the bend you will see the most memorable dripstone that astonishes with its shape. It is the Monomakh's Cap. It was here, over the Monomakh's Cap, where the passage led the speleologists to the large collection of bones of vertebrate animals of the late Pleistocene.
One of the unique and hard-to-reach Bayr galleries is located at a depth of more than 100 metres (328.08 feet). Peculiar climate of this part of the Cave made a lot of crystal formations of calcite and aragonite on the walls of the halls.
The last tourist hall, the path goes through, is the Hall of Mistress. Here the tourist route ends and guests of the Cave start their way to the surface, towards warm and sun.
The land infrastructure of the cave complex includes a building of the mountain scientific station of Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology established in 2006. The Museum of Crimean Speleology is located in the same building.
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