Пещера Козарника

Peshtera Kozarnika - Kozarnika - Kozarnika Cave


Useful Information

Location: 6km from Belogradchick. From Belogradchick follow road 102 to Granitovo, a few 100m after the city limits turn right on a small road to Oreshets. The road descends in u turns into a valley, then there is a parking possibility on the left side. The cave is a short walk uphill.
Open: no restrictions. [2019]
Fee: free. [2019]
Classification: ExplainKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=210m, VR=85m.
Guided tours:  
Photography: n/a
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: Nikolay Sirakov et al. (2010): An ancient continuous human presence in the Balkans and the beginnings of human settlement in western Eurasia: A Lower Pleistocene example of the Lower Palaeolithic levels in Kozarnika cave (North-western Bulgaria), Quaternary International, Volumes 223–224, 1 September 2010, Pages 94-106
Address:  
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

1920 mentioned by the famous Bulgarian archeologist Vasil Popov.
1984 Kozarnika cave project started.
1996 project headed by Dr. Prof. Nikolay Sirakov and Dr. Jean-Luc Guadelli.
2014 project completed, cave reopened.

Description

Пещера Козарника (Peshtera Kozarnika) is actually called Kozarnika without the "cave" by the locals, because this translates goat shed. And thats what the cave was used for over centuries. But then it was discovered and excavated by archaeologists. And now it is again unused and open to the public. Probably the floor is a little lower after the excavation.

Kozarnika is of great importance for archaeology as it is located at the route of the early humans from Africa to Europe, according to the out of Africa theory. The cave is located 85m above the valley floor and opens to the south, an ideal place for hunting parties. The project was headed by Dr. Prof. Nikolay Sirakov from the Archaeological Institute and Museum of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia and Dr. Jean-Luc Guadelli from the French National Center for Scientific Research in Bordeaux. The findings go back to 1.4 Million years BP which is quite old, originating from Homo erectus. They discovered a human molar tooth which is considered to be the earliest Homo erectus/Homo ergaster remains discovered in Europe outside the Caucasian region. Other exceptional findings were bones with man-made markings. Higher levels conztain findings from Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens.

During the 20 years of excavation the cave was closed for the public to protect the excavation site. The porject was completed in 2014 and since 2015 the scientist explore other surrounding sites, and the cave has been reopened to the public. The excavation shafts in the cave can still be seen in the cave floor. The cave is a huge horizontal passage and there are trails from teh excavations, so it is quite easy to visit it. In the deeper parts a torch is helpful.

Some websites we found advertise cave exploring and even overnight stay. Probably nobody will care if you do so, nevertheless it is forbidden in the EU nature protection law to have open fire in caves and to sleep in caves. So we recommend to stay in front of the cave, like our predecessors did.