Piusa Koopad

Piusa Caves - Piusa Quarry

Useful Information

Location: North of the Piusa railway station, Põlva County.
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SubterraneaRock Mine ExplainRoom and Pillar Mining
Light: bring torch
Guided tours:
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.


1922 start of underground mining.
1950s hibernating bats discovered.
1958 bats legally protected in Estonia, start of regular bat counting.
1976 end of underground mining.
1981 mine becomes Nature Reserve.
2001 opened to the public.
2006 closed due to safety measures.


Piusa Koopad is a huge system of caverns in sandstone. Actually it is a sort of mine, or better quarry, as sandstone was mined which was used as glass-sand. It started with an underground mine, but since 1970, with better machinery, the mining is opencast mining. The quarry is still working.

The rock is the Lode Member of the Gauja Regional Stage or upper Givetian. The cross-bedded sandstone sequence of yellow, pinkish, and white colour contains thin multicoloured siltstone interbeds.

The mine is a famous bat hibernation quarter. In 1999 more than 3,000 bats were counted, which makes it the biggest known colony of bats in the Baltic states. This includes pond bat (Myotis dasycneme), Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonii), Brandt's bat (Myotis brandtii), brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus) and northern bat (Eptesicus nilssonii). As a result the cave is now a Nature Reserve.

The abandoned underground mine caverns, which were made using the ancient room and pillar method were opened to the public in 2001. They were developed with a path and wooden rails. There is no gate or entrance fee, and also no electric light. Visitors are requested not to leave the trails for security reasons. Actually the visit of this quarry is like visiting a wild cave, so do not go alone, or at least tell someone where you go. The trails are actually mainly for the protection of the bats, not the human visitors. Please do not leave the trail.