Demenovskaya Ice Cave
Slovakia, Liptovsky Mikulas

The Demänovská Ice Cave is located in Slovakia, in the Low Tatras, 10 km south of the town of Liptovsky Mikulas, on the right side of the Demänovská Valley. The entrance to the cave is located in the Bashta rock, at an altitude of 840 meters, climbing to the cave takes about 20 minutes. Demänovská Ice Cave is one of the oldest in Europe; its existence was already known in 1299. The cave consists of tunnels, side galleries (Black Gallery, Lake Corridor, Bear Hall) and spacious domes (Halash, Kmet, Belov, Ruin Dome and Gravel Dome) located on three levels. The total length of the cave is 2445 meters, the elevation difference is 57 meters, 680 meters are available for visiting. The lower parts of the cave, especially the dome of Kmet, are filled with ice, ice columns, stalactites and stalagmites are located at a depth of 40 meters or more. The conditions for glaciation were created after backfilling several openings of the slope leading to the surface. Cold air began to hold in the lower parts of the cave, water seeping into the supercooled parts of the cave freezes, forming bizarre ice blocks. The original mineralogical formations were preserved in some places of the cave (stalactites, stalagmites, sap deposits on the walls and surface deposits at the bottom of the cave). However, in ice-covered areas, they underwent significant destruction. The surface of the sediment deposits turned gray to black, due to the soot of torches, oil burners and kerosene lamps, which were used to illuminate the cave until 1924. The Demänovská Ice Cave is also known for its skeletons of ancient vertebrates, including the cave bear. Discovered in the first half of the 18th century, they were mistaken for dragon bones, and the Demian Cave was called the Dragon Cave. Currently, the cave is inhabited by 8 species of bats and several species of invertebrates.