Peştera Ungurului

Hungarian Cave - Peştera Unguru Mare


Useful Information

Location: Suncuius, 23km west of Ciucea and 10km south of the DN1, near Oradea, Bihor. On the left side of Crisului Gorge, Apuseni Mountains.
Highway 1 (European road E60) half way between Oradea and Cluj. At Topa de Criş, DC 173 1km to Vadu Crişului, DJ 108I 6km to Şuncuiuş. From Șuncuiuș towards Bălnaca turn off at railway barrier.
(46.932730761520375, 22.54896594887362)
Open: APR to OCT Wed-Sun, Hol 10-18.
[2020]
Fee: Adults RON 12, Children RON 5.
[2020]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: electric
Dimension: Peştera Ungurului: L=554m, VR=40m, A=307m asl. Portal: H=32m, W=22m.
L=253m, VR=27m, A=366m asl.
Guided tours: L=200m, D=20min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Lucreţia Ghergari, C. Ionescu, C. Lazar (2003): The mineralogy of the Neolithic ceramics from Ungurului cave (Suncuius, Romania), Acta Mineralogica-Petrographica, Abstract Series 1, Szeged, 2003 pdf
Paul-Erik Damm (2003): Preliminary note on the intermittent exsurgence in Ungurului Cave (Padurea Craiului Mountains), Nymphaea, 2003, p.31, Muzeul Tarii Crisurilor.
Lucreţia Ghergari, Bogdan P. Onac (1993): Crisite - a new minerai species found in the Bolhac cave (Pådurea Craiului mountains, Romana), Bulletin de la Société géographique de Liège, 29, 1993, 97-104. pdf
Address: Carmen Ungur, guide, Tel: +40-749-303-111.
Gârdan Dorina, administrator, Tel: +40-766-470-630.
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

1921 first mentioned by Elemér Bokor.
1978 Peştera de la Hodoabă discovered by L. Vălenaş and A. Jurkiewic.
1979 Peştera de la Hodoabă surveyed by the Crysis Speleology Club from Oradea.
1993 new mineral crisite discovered.

Description

Peştera Ungurului (Hungarian Cave) also known as Peștera Unguru Mare (Big Hungarian Cave) is famous for its archaeological remains. It is located at the great meander of the Crişul Repede, a road on the peninsula goes to the tip where the parking lot is located. To reach the cave it is necessary to cross the river on a footbridge. The cave is developed as a show cave, with electric light and paths. Most impressive is the huge cave entrance where the cave river emerges. The portal is 32 meters high and 22 meters wide. The cave is connected to Peştera de la Hodoabă, which makes it a through cave, and it is left through the other entrance. It is also named Peştera cu Gheaţă.

This huge portal was obviously the reason why the cave was used as a shelter since neolithic times. Archaeological excavations in the entrance area revealed numerous findings. Of course the cave was always known to the locals, but in historic times there were long periods when caves were associated with the devil or demons and not visited. The locals named it Peștera de la Bolhac. This cave was rather late rediscovered for science, its first written mention is actually from Elemér Bokor in 1921. The Hungarian entomologist worked on cave fauna and was specialised in Coleoptera (beetles). As he more or less rediscovered the cave officially, the Romanians said "the cave of the Hungarian", and the name stuck. Probably somewhat derogatory, as Hungary was perceived as an occupying power. The territory of Transylvania was part of the Austro-Hungarian-Monarchy with certain special rights, but the Romanians were nevertheless unhappy with the situation. With the end of World War I the whole area became Romanian. The old dislikes have, however, remained for a long time.

The cave portal is followed by a huge and level main passage. There is a small cave river, which is quite strange with its milky whitish color. It is caused by the presence of an acidic mineral which is called crisit. The name was derived from the latin name of the river Crişul Repede. It is said to originate from the old mining works in the region. We first suspected was just an elaborate joke of the cave guides. But the mineral was scientifically examined and seems to be a new amorphous mineral of the group of hydrated aluminium sulphate-silicates. Its only occurence is this cave which is also type locale. And it is not healthy, you should avoid drinking the water.

The human remains from the Neolithic were made in the entrance area, as always. The findings included blades and chisels made of carved and polished stone, fragments of painted ceramic vessels, and bone objects such as needles and grooves. Findings from the Bronze age on the other hand were made in the last gallery, called the Sacred Gallery. Remains of human skeletons, pieces of ceramic vessels, which could be completely reconstituted, bronze pieces and tools were interpreted as a necropolis. The most important piece is an amber bead of Baltic origin. While it is a rarity in this area, it shows us there was trade was across Europe at that time.

The cave is home to bat colonies, especially Greater horseshoe Bat (Rinolophus ferrumequinum) and Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rinolophus hipposideros). As a result the cave is closed during winter for bat protection.

Five minutes walk on the same side of the river is the Pestera Unguru Mic (46.93420713670108, 22.545114917839566). This small cave is not developed and has no electric light, but it is possible to visit the cave freely. The cave has only one short passage and a level dirt floor. The passage is triangular and developed along a crack in the rock. The cave has a bat colony, so it is not allowed to enter during winter.