Cetinjska Pećina


Useful Information

Location: Cetinje.
Follows signs to Cetinje manastir. At the foot of the cliff face behind the church.
(42.387683, 18.920974)
Open: no restrictions.
[2022]
Fee: free.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension:
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Martina Pavlek, Carles Ribera (2017): Kryptonesticus deelemanae gen. et sp. nov. (Araneae, Nesticidae), with Notes on the Mediterranean Cave Species European Journal of Taxonomy. 262; 1–27. DOI
Address: Cetinjska Pećina
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

1484 Cetinje Monastery erected by Ivan Crnojević, inspired by the Basilica della Santa Casa in Loreto.
1485 monastery inaugurated and dedicated to the birth of the Virgin Mary.
1986 cave flooded and became a resurgence.

Description

The Cetinjska Pećina (Cave of Cetinje) is located in the city Cetinje behind the Cetinje manastir (Cetinje monastery). We have no idea if it was named after the monastery or the city. The cave was developed with a concrete trail and staircase, but has never actually been open to the public. After 300 m the trail splts, the right side goes downwards further into the cave. After returning from this branch you use the left branch upwards, to the exit of the cave on the top of the hill. As far as we know it is currently open without restrictions, but that seems to change now and then. There are also rumours that the government plans to renovate the cave and open it as a show cave.

According to a legend the monks from the monastery used the cave as a hideout during dangerous times. One version says the cave runs underground all the way to Crnojevica River, which is 15 km away, and the priests used this to secretly travel during the Turkish occupation. Also, there was lately a discussion about an icon of Virgin Mary, if it should be placed in the cave or in the nearby monastery. We were not able to find out the background of that story, but we guess a cave which is not gated, humid and subject to flooding is not a good place for a religious artwork.

In 1986, Cetinje was flooded. The combination of snow melt plus heavy rains created a disaster, many inhabitants had to be evacuated. At this time the cave filled with water and a stream of muddy water erupted from the cave entrance. The temporal flooding is probably one reason why legend supposes a connection to Crnojevica River. But actually it is just connected to the karst water table which is normally below the ground of the polje of Cetinje.

The cave is also known as the habitat of a cave spider named Kryptonesticus deelemanae. Actually the whole genus is rather new, published in 2017, and endemic to the Balkans. Most are known only from the type locality, or have small distribution ranges. Kryptonesticus deelemanae is endemic to the coastal area of Croatia and Montenegro and known from about 20 caves. Type locality is Samogorska špilja.