Poarta lui Ionele

Useful Information

Image: climbing up one of the terraces.
Location: In the south of Bihor Mountains (Apuseni Mountains). From N 75 (Dr. Petru Groza-Turda Rd.) turn north.
Open: after appointment
Fee: after appointment
Classification: ExplainKarst cave
Light: none, bring electric torch.
Guided tours: after appointment
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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Image: a nearby shelter is commonly used for parties.

The Poarta lui Ionele is a typical show cave Romanian style. It is equipped with stairs and paths, and the local teacher guides tours after appointment, but there is no electric light and no reliable open hours. Unfortunately this makes it rather difficult for the average tourist to visit the cave, without speaking Romanian. A good approach is to ask at the school, there is a good chance to find someone who speaks English or German.

The cave is pretty impressive. Even the way to the cave is impressive, as it is a 10 minutes walk up a typical karst valley with steep walls and some shelters. The biggest shelter is often used for parties by the locals, there are benches and desks, and often used fire places. Following the single line road the visitor find a place were a carbon rich water comes down from the left hillside. The water spring only a bit above the road and builds an impressive tufa terrace.

The brook crosses the river in a man made canal along a small bridge, which is also the access to the cave. The path leads up a long stair, first along the brook, then through bushes to a fence with an iron gate. After passing the gate, the visitor sees the enorlous entrance protal of the cave. This huge hall is so impressing, it is worth the visit.

The path follows the main cave passage, obviously only useable during dry weather. The cave is subject to flood, when the narrow lower level (you remember the brook?) is not able to transport all the water. The water level rises and the upper level is reactivated for a short time. Its alwas wise to have an eye on the weather when visiting this cave.

The main passage has several terraces, so it is necessary to climb two huge one, about 8 to 10 meters high, on narrow, not very confidence-building wooden and iron stairs.

The passage splits up, the lower level only accessible to cavers, and the upper narrows soon. Some small labyrinthic side passages allow the curious visitor some explorations. This far end is populated by bats, with the typical smell. To visit all the side passages old clothes and a good torch are essential. Most of the cave is rather easy to visit if the visitor is not scared by the two ladders.

The path to the road is a single lane track, it is possible to drive there by car. But the road is rather poor and there is no possibility to park at the cave, so we suppose to park at the turnoff and walk the last 300m. On this way is another huge cave portal called Pestera Corobana lui Girtau. There is no cave behind, but the portal is equpped with leveled floor, wooden desks and benches. This cave is used by the locals for festivals and picknicks.

Poarta lui Ionele Gallery