Podilski Tovtry National Nature Park.
Zavallya village, Kamianets-Podilskyi Raion, Khmelnytskyi Oblast
|Dimension:||L=6,521 m, VR=21 m .|
Хмельницкий Спелео Клуб "Атлантида", Khmelnytsky Speleo Club "Atlantis", Tel: +380-67-999-2-777, Tel: +380-96-355-1-255.
Tourclub Ternopil, Tel: +380-96-212-40-71, Tel: +380-96-022-10-33. 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.
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|1950s||quarry for gypsum mining started and soon closed again.|
|1957||article published in the Kamenets-Podolsk newspaper about the discovery of a small cave.|
|1969||speleologists from Kiev discover Atlantida cave.|
|1975||declared a natural geological monument of national importance.|
|24-JUL-2006||Speleo Club "Atlantis" founded.|
Атланти́да (Atlantida) is a famous gypsum caves, the only one in the Ukraine with three levels. It has numerous exceptional speleothems, mostly various forms of selenite and gypsum. The cave is not a show cave, but the Khmelnytskyi Speleo Club "Atlantida" based in Zavallya offers cave trekking tours.
In 1950s a gypsum quarry was opened near the town Zavallya at an outcrop of gypsum. It was closed after a few years because the gypsum contained huge holes with various sediments which contaminated the gypsum and made the quarrying unprofitable. Young speleologists from Kiev lead by Valery Yanovich Rogozhnikov heard about those holes and went to the abandoned quarry. In 1969 they discovered the cave and named it Atlantida or Atlantis. The Hall of the Kiev Speleologists, which is one of the largest chambers in the cave, was named to their honour.
Actually the cave had been discovered in 1957 after a blast during quarry works. The cave was bigger than usual and made it into the Kamenets-Podolsk newspaper. The article said that in a gypsum quarry near the village of Zavalye, during an explosion, the entrance to a huge cave was opened. Researchers came to explore the huge cave and found a small labyrinth of dead end passages. The cave was forgotten for 11 years.
Valery Yanovich Rogozhnikov was teacher at the Kiev Palace of Pioneers. He was also caver and went with his pupils to study of the caves of the Podolsk region. He recognized the cave as an ideal training ground for practical training in speleology. The children practiced caving techniques, surveying and the safe removing of debris from blocked passages. In summer 1969 he returned with another group of children. A boy named Mischa was misbehaving and Valery Yanovich tried to apply "occupational therapy" for his offenses. He gave him a shovel and ordered him to dig out a small side passage. This did not work (as one would expect), because Mischa had no intention to dig. But after a while the other children heard a terrible cry from the side passage. When they had a look he was gone, and after they informed Valery Yanovich they went into the side passage. Behind a block was a small hole in the floor and they all climbed into the hole. After a short crawl they came to a big chamber with a huge rock. Mischa was on the huge rock, jumping like mad and shouting «Радость! Радость! Радость!», the Ukrainian version of jippee. This entrance hall has the name Радость (Joy) since this day.
The caving club organizes trips into this cave in different levels of difficulty. They also offer trips to half a dozen other caves in the area. However, there are no regular schedules, you have to contact them and make a reservation. Its best if you are a small group of people with some caving experience. And while the club will help if you miss one or another piece of equipment, they do not provide the full caving gear. You must bring your own personal equipment. The basic equipment is overall, thermal underwear or fleece, helmet, headlamp, spare lamps, gloves, rubber boots, and kneepads. Do not forget garbage bags for the dirty stuff and a second set of clothes to change, soap and a towel are also a good idea.
There are also tour to the cave offered by Хмельницкий Спелео Клуб "Атлантида" (Khmelnytsky Speleo Club "Atlantis"). Their main cave is Mlynky Cave, but they also do tours to Atlantyda Cave, Verteba Cave, and Optymistychna Cave.