Golub Špilja


Useful Information

Location: Lokrum beach, 20000, Ploče iza grada, Dubrovnik.
(42.622190, 18.125310)
Open: All year daily.
[2023]
Fee: Adults EUR 27, Children (5-18) EUR 5, Children (0-4) free, Students EUR 10.
Groups (10+): Adults EUR 20.
[2023]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension:
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Golub Špilja, Lokrum beach, 20000, Ploče iza grada, Dubrovnik.
„Rezervat Lokrum“, Od Bosanke 4, 20 000 Dubrovnik, Tel: +385-20-311-738, Fax: +385-20-427-242. 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.

History

1023 first written mention of the foundation of a Benedictine abbey and monastery.
1149 the Roman Curia confers the mitre on the abbot of Lokrum, and since then the abbots of the monastery have been considered the first prelates of the Church of Dubrovnik after the archbishop.
1806 Fort Royal construction started under the French Empire.
1835 Fort Royal construction completed by Austria.
1808 Benedictines leave the island.
1859 Archduke Maximilian Ferdinand of Habsburg has a mansion built on the island./td>

Description

Golub Špilja (Kayaking Cave) is a popular sea cave which is frequented by tourists. It's possible to visit it by boat, swimming over from the nearby beach, or to use a kayak, which is where the name originates. Actually there are two small coves with a strange rectangular form caused by tectonic cracks in the limestone, and the eastern one has a cave at the end. The coves are known as Mala Spila (Small Cove) and Velika Spila (Great Cove). Actually both coves have more or less the same size, nevertheless the names suggest differently. However, the cave is located at the end of the small cove, which is thus the more popular one. Another sea cave is nearby.

While these are sea caves and there are definitely erosional alterations by the waves, the caves are actually a karst cave. The whole island is heavily karstified limestone, and there are numerous caves, mostly underwater. A small lake named Mrtvo more (Dead Sea) in the southwestern corner is connected to the sea by an underwater cave and thus contains seawater. Most likely it is a water-filled collapse doline, the result of the collapse of a huge cave chamber. It is called Dead Sea, because like with the Dead Sea in Israel, the salt content of the water is higher than in the seawater. The reason is simple: surrounded by rocks, the water in the small lake is heated by the sun and is much warmer than the seawater. As a result, water evaporates, which rises the salt content. There is also a natural bridge named Buža na Lokrumu (Hidden Cove Lokrum), which is a last remnant of a formerly much bigger higher level of the cave system. It is located right between the lake and the sea and easy to find.

The rocks are limestones and dolomites of the Adriatic-Dinaridic carbonate platform. They were deposited during the Late Cretaceous, about 85 Ma ago. About 45 Ma ago the limestone was folded by the Dinaric orogeny, a result of the collision of the European and African plate. This created the cracks which are responsible for the rectangular and trapezoid coves. It also allowed karstification. The caves formed during the cold ages, when they drained the hill. And they were later flooded by the sea level rise, which resulted from the melting of the glaciers at the end of the last cold age.

The small island Lokrum is located off Dubrovnik, and may be visited by boat on day trips from Dubrovnik's Old City Port. It's only a 10-minute boat ride, we have given the prices for the entrance fee to the island. There is also a fee for the boat trip, but there are different operators with different prices. The cave itself is accessible without any restrictions and for free. If you rent a kayak, there is an additional fee. Of course, you can charter your own boat to see the sea caves. But if you actually set foot on the island, you should nevertheless pay the entrance fee. The island has numerous other sights, such as the church and Benedictine monastery, the castle, a huge cistern and a botanical garden. It is not allowed to stay overnight, and it's not allowed to smoke on the island because of the danger of fire. If you decide to swim to the cave from the nearby beach, be aware that it is a nudist beach. Its funny how some Americans were offended by this fact in some online posts.

When Richard I the Lionheart returned from the crusade in Palestine in 1192, he had a shipwreck. He vowed, when he was saved, he would build a church at the place of salvation. Then he found salvation on Lokrum island, and wanted to fulfill his vow, but at the request of the people of Dubrovnik, he agreed to have the church built in the city itself.

The monastery existed until 1808, when the last Benedictines left the island.

The island's Benedictine monks were forced to leave by an individual of power, commonly the pope or the ruling nobility, depending on the version of the legend. The monks were given a set of time to leave the island. In the last night, they gathered in their hoods, lit their candles, and turned them upside down. So they left a trail of candle wax, while they walked around the island. Their heads bowed, whispering prayers and murmuring songs, they walked slowly and finally cursed the future owners of the island. While the Austrian emperor owned the island, tragedies which befell the family. The execution of the emperor’s brother, Archduke Maximilian, in Mexico, the assassination of his wife Elisabeth at Lake Geneva and the suicide of his son and heir Rudolph in Mayerling, are attributed to this curse. The same with the family members of the Croatian King Francis Joseph I, while he owned Lokrum.

The people of Croatia still believe to this day that the island is cursed. Fortunately, the curse only applies to the owners, and visiting the island is absolutely safe.