Jeskyně Šipka

Sipka Cave - Arrow Cave

Useful Information

Sipka Cave, cave entrance. Public Domain.
Location: 742 66 Štramberk.
Štramberk, hill of Kotouč, Národní sad (National Orchard). District of Nový Jicín. Best reached from the parking lot at the Elementary School and Kindergarten Štramberk, Zauličí 485, 742 66 Štramberk. Its 200 m, 5 minutes walk uphill.
(49.587949, 18.118224)
Open: Šipka Cave: No restrictions.
Šipka Museum: All year Tue-Sun 9-12, 13-17.
Fee: Šipka Cave: free.
Šipka Museum: Adults CZK 50, Children (6-15) CZK 30, Children (0-5) free, Students (15-26) CZK 30, Seniors (65+) CZK 30, Families (2+4) CZK 100.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: A=440 m asl.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Jiří Svoboda, Vojen Ložek, Emanuel Vlček (1996): Hunters between East and West: the Paleolithic of Moravia Springer US, 30 Sept 1996, Social Science, 311 pages. ISBN 0-306-45250-2, pp. 52-54
Address: Městské informační centrum Štramberk, 742 66 Štramberk, Tel: +420-558-840-617. E-mail:
Šipka Museum, Zauličí 456, 742 66 Štramberk, Tel: +420-553-034-519. E-mail:
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.


1879 Karel Jaroslav Maška begins excavations.
1880 archaeologist Karel Jaroslav Maška unearthes a dwelling with a fire pit and Neanderthal remains.
1893 end of excavations.
1922 plaque commemorating Karel Jaroslav Maška placed by the artist František Jurán at the cave.
1926 bust of Bohumír Jaroňek by the artist František Jurán unveiled on his sixtieth birthday.
09-JAN-1960 declared a národní přírodní památka (national natural monument).
1992 start of yearly exhibitions of Zdenek Burian in Štamberk.


Sipka Cave, inside the cave. Public Domain.

Jeskyně Šipka (Sipka Cave, Arrow Cave) is a small cave of mostly archaeological interest. It was excavated by the archaeologist Karel Jaroslav Maška for 14 years, from 1879 to 1893. The most spectacular finding he made was in 1880 a Neanderthal dwelling with a fire pit. The mandible (lower jaw) of an 8-10 years old Neanderthal child, the so-called Šipecké čelisti (Šipecka jaw), made the cave world-famous. It was the first Neanderthal remains which was unearthed in its cultural context, only 24 years after the original Neanderthal discovery in Germany.

Karel Jaroslav Maška was a teacher at the gymnasium in Nové Jičín. He discovered new parts of the cave with nice speleothems, which are unfortunately completely vandalized today. He also found 80,000 bones and teeth of prehistoric animals, including cave bear, cave lion, hyena, woolly rhinoceros, mammoth, bison, aurochs, muskox, leopard, wolverine, reindeer, and moose. He identified a total of 130 species of animals. It seems the cave was visited by prehistoric hunters and predators as well. The oldest human remains in the cave were dated to 32,000 BP. And he also found a set of bronze objects from the Late Bronze Age.

The cave formed in Tithonian limestone of Kotouč hill, the Sipka Cave is the largest cave in the small karst area. The reef limestones formed 145-150 million years ago and are full of fossils. The cave formation was most likely while the valley floor was on the same level, and the caves drained the surrounding hills underground. Later, the river network deepened to its present level and the caves became fossil.

The cave has numerous monuments, for example, a plaque commemorating Karel Jaroslav Maška and a bust of Bohumír Jaroňek. Both were created by the artist František Jurán. There are trails across the Kotouč hill, leading to the cave and to the summit with a stone cairn with a cross, a monument for the destroyed churches on the top of the hill. The was once a wooden bell tower with the inscription "Kdo si na mě zazvoní, bude žít až do smrti" (Whoever rings the bell for me will live until death).

There is a small museum in the town, the Šipka Museum, which is dedicated to the geology and archaeology of the cave. It has a permanent exhibition called Geologie a archeologie Štramberku (Geology and Archaeology of Štramberk). It has a reconstruction of a "living" Mesozoic coral reef, at the end of the Jurassic and the beginning of the Cretaceous. The reef was so extraordinarily rich in fauna, the limestone is one of the richest sites of Jurassic fossils in the world. The archaeological section has not only an exhibition of numerous important artifacts from the area, it also has a replica of Sipka Cave and the famous jaw bone.

Sipka Cave, beneath the limestone hill of Kotouc (532 m asl) where the remains of Neanderthal man were discovered in the late nineteenth century. The caves are a short walk through the woods of the Národni sad, signposted off the road to Koprivnice.

It is said that Zdenek Burian (*1905-✝1981), a Czech painter who is renowned for his representation of Palaeolithic life, got his inspiration from the Sipka Cave. In the Zdenek Burian Museum in Stramberk are some excellent examples of his work.

Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.