Lurgrotte Semriach


Useful Information

Location: Lurgrottenstraße 1, 8102 Semriach.
25 km north of Graz. In a pine forest called Tanneben near Semiarch in the Steiermark (Styria). 5 min walk to the cave entrance.
(47.226885, 15.343660)
Open: 15-APR to JUN daily 10-16, tours at 11, 14, 15:30.
JUL to AUG daily 10-16, tours at 9:45, 11, 12:40, 14, 15:30.
SEP to OCT daily 10-16, tours at 11, 14, 15:30.
NOV to 24-DEC Sat 14, Sun, Hol 11.
26-DEC to 06-JAN daily 11, 14.
07-JAN to 14-APR Sat 14, Sun, Hol 11.
Closed 01-NOV, 25-DEC.
Abenteuertour: Nov to MAR after appointment only.
[2022]
Fee: Adults EUR 9, Children (0-18) EUR 6.50, Students EUR 8.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 8, Children (0-18) EUR 5.50.
Abenteuertour (adventure tour): Per Person EUR 45.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave Speleologyriver cave
Light: LightLED Lighting LightSon et Lumière
Dimension: L=6,000 m, T=10 °C, H=95 %, A=640 m asl.
Guided tours: Regular tour: L=1,000 m, D=70 min.
Abenteuertour: L=2,500 m, VR=160 m, D=4 h, Min=10, Max=12, MinAge=16.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Ralf Benischke (1994): Festschrift Lurgrotte 1894-1994, 332 pp 82 B&W & 14 colour photos 4 surveys.
In 1894 this cave became world famous when 7 cavers were trapped underground for a week by a flash flood. This book tells the story of the rescue with excerpts and photos from old news papers, diaries etc. The history of exploration, geology and hydrology, flora and fauna etc are all covered in this detailed monograph. Trevor Shaw describes some early cave "Stamps" sold to raise funds for exploration work. Nicely produced on art paper SB Deutsch - German
Hans Hofmann-Montanus, Ernst Felix Petritsch (1952): Die Welt ohne Licht, Höhlenforscher und Höhlengänger in Tragödien und Abenteuern. Josef Habbel Verlag, Regensburg, 1952. Deutsch - German
Address: Lurgrotte Semriach, Andreas Schinnerl, Lurgrottenstraße 1, 8102 Semriach, Tel: +43-3127-8319. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1601 first picture of the cave entrance.
1822 first written mention.
01-APR-1894 Max Brunello, an Italian speleologist, explored the Semriach entrance of the cave.
1894 seven cavers trapped underground for a week by a flash flood.
1895 first guided tours.
29-APR-1896 six cave explorers were trapped inside the cave by a flood.
1912 Lurgrottengesellschaft, a company to develop the cave, founded.
1913 drainage adit provided access from Peggau.
1924 the link between the Peggau an Semriach part was discovered.
1935 first through-trip through both parts, Peggau and Semriach, by J. Gangl and 15 other cavers.
1962 cave through tour with a length of 5 km developed and opened to the public.
1963 a flood destroyed the paths, which were soon repaired.
1975 once again, a flood damaged the paths, this time the paths were not restored.
2014 LED light system installed.

Description

The Lurgrotte (Lur Cave, also Lurgrotte Cave) is Austria's largest and most beautiful stalactite cave. It is a through-cave and an active river cave. The water of the Lurbach (Lur brook) enters the cave near Semriach at 640 m asl and leaves at a resurgence near Peggau at 400 m asl. The cave system in between is 6 km long, on both ends of the cave is a show cave. The description on this page is for the Semriach show cave.

Near Semriach a huge entrance portal leads into the cave, which became famous in 1894. In this year in April Max Brunello, an Italian speleologist, explored the Semriach entrance of the cave. Later in the year seven cavers from the Steiermärkische Gesellschaft für Höhlenforschung (Caving Society of the Steiermark) explored the cave. Heavy rainfalls caused a flood and the cave explorers were trapped inside the cave by the high water. The Imperial Engineering Battalion was sent to free them. The European public held their breath for nine days and the papers only reported about the Lurgrotte accident. This event boosted the development of the cave as a show cave, as it was well known from now on. Also, the tunnels built for the rescue became later a part of the tourist trail.

The detailed history of the two-week rescue operation can be found in the book Die Welt ohne Licht (in German). It was similar to the football kids, which were trapped in a cave in Thailand a few years. However, it was 120 years ago and there is no movie.

The entrance section of the show cave is an active river cave, as the Lurbach enters the cave at the portal right beneath the trail. But soon it vanishes and the fossil cave passage shows numerous speleothems, which are apparently named with phantastic names. The most impressive point of the tour is the Großer Dom (Big Dome) which is the biggest chamber of the cave, 120 m long, 80 m wide and 40 m high. It is said to be one of the biggest cave chambers of Central Europe. They also postulate, that it is one of the 10 biggest cave chambers on earth, which is definitely wrong. The chamber is not listed by Bob Gulden. It contains a huge stalactite called Riese (Giant) which 13 m long, has a circumference of 9 m, and is estimated to weigh 40 tons. Its formation took probably 3.5 Ma.

At the far end of the chamber, where the cave river is reached again, the tour ends. But there are trails which cross the whole cave to the other end. In the 1960s it was possible to cross the cave to the other end, a 5 km long tour, but the frequent floods destroyed parts of the trail. After some reconstructions the futility was finally realized and since the mid 1970s there is no regular tour anymore. A few decades ago through trips were still offered, most of the trip was on the trails and a few sections where the trail is destroyed, were easy canyoning. Unfortunately the current operators of the two show caves despise each other, so each one offers special tours into this passage, but not to the other show cave. From this side its possible to visit 2 km of the trails.

A summer highlight is the multivision show in the big dome, sound and vision fills the huge chamber. In winter this show is not possible, as it would disturb hibernating bats. The winter highlight is the Abenteuertour (adventure tour) which includes the river passage, but also some undevolped parts. The tour includes some crawling and requires basic physical fitness. Visitors must bring trekking shoes, cave overall, helmet and, headlamp are provided. We recommend bringing your own gear, gum boots, and gloves, also clothes to change and a towel.