Печера Кришталева

Pechera Kryshtaleva - Krystal'na - Kristalnaja pestera - Crystal Cave - Jaskinia Kryształowa

Useful Information

Location: Kryvche, Ternopil Oblast, Ukraine 48741.
Gypsum karst of Podolie. Near the village of Kryvche, Ternopil Oblast. 1 km, 15 minutes walk from the ticket office to the cave entrance.
(48.689002, 26.088690)
Open: All year Tue, Wed 10-17, Thu-Sun 10-18.
Fee: Adults UAH 50, Children UAH 40.
Classification: SpeleologyGypsum Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=22,610 m, VR=20 m, T=10.6 °C, H=90-98 %.
Guided tours: L=2.500 m, D=1.5 h, Max=15.
V=70,000/a [2000]
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: V. Nechay (1933): Przewodnik po jaskiniach w Krzywczu
Address: Pechera Kryshtaleva, Nadiya Romanivna Semenyuk, Kryvche, Ternopil Oblast, Ukraine 48741, Tel: +380-972-757247.
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.


1721 cave discovered.
1745 first mentioned in a Polish scientific publication by the monk Gabriel Rzeczynski.
1783 cave mentioned in a Polish publication.
1908 scientist M. Orlovych and engineer K. Hutkovskyi make a description of the entrance part of the cave and some of its chambers.
1928 explored by the archeologist professor L. Kozlovskyi from Lviv University.
1933 detailed study of the cave undertaken by engineer V. Nechay. Published with the title Przewodnik po jaskiniach w Krzywczu (Guide to the Krzywcze Caves).
1934 cave developed as a show cave and soon became a huge attraction.
World War II the entrance to the cave was destroyed.
1961 cave entrance reopened by pupils of Kryvche secondary school and students of Ternopil Medical Institute.
1961-1963 exploration and survey by a special karst expedition, headed by the famous Professor V. M. Dubliansky from the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.


Печера Кришталева (Pechera Kryshtaleva, Crystal Cave), also Печера Кристалічна (Pechera Krystalichna, Crystal Cave), is famous for its numerous gypsum crystals. With 22 km of passages, it is also the 6th largest cave of Ukraine [2023] and among the World's longest caves. Ukraine currently has six caves which are longer than 10 km. After the details exploration and mapping in 1963 the cave had a length of 19 km, and was the longest gypsum cave in the world. After the annexation of Crimea by the Russians, only two show caves remained in the country, and this is one of them. Located near the border to Poland it is so far not affected by the war, though we are not sure if the cave is actually open. We guess this makes no difference as international tourists will not visit the country anyway.

This is a gypsum cave and so it has no stalactites or stalagmites, no limestone flowstones at all. It is entered through a 500 m long artificial entrance tunnel, the miners were quite astonished when the learned that they built a tunnel through chocolate. The walls consist of brown gypsum crystals, and despite being transparent they strongly resemble chocolate, their structure resembles fern leaves. The cave itself is a passage which is rather high, in average 2.7 m, but the passage is rather narrow, between 1 m and 2 m wide. This gives the impression of a gorge, and the rocks show huge rounded hollows which sometimes resemble huge scallops. But this cave was not a river cave, the forms are of solutional origin. The cave was filled by groundwater which moved very slowly. The water dissolved the gypsum quite easily, forming not only rounded forms but also leaving protruding rocks. When the valley of Tsyhanka river in front cut deeper the level of the groundwater fell and is now well below the cave.

But while it was still water-filled, the water not only dissolved the gypsum, it also precipitated gypsum forming huge crystals which grew in the calm gypsum-rich water. The walls are covered by huge amounts of gypsum crystal which are also called selenite. The grew about 1 mm in 150 years.

The Зал Скель (Hall of Rocks) was named after stone pyramids, which are scattered along the floor. The Коридор кам’яних бурульок (Corridor of Stone Icicles) has bizarre gypsum forms protruding from the ceiling. The Зоологічному залі (Zoological Hall) was named after protruding gypsum which resembles various animals, assuming that the visitor has enough imagination. The Зала Завалів (Rubble Hall) has cement seals, which were placed on the walls in 1928. They will break due to movements in the rock and were intended as sensors for a possible collapse. They have survived two earthquakes unaffected, which proves the safety of the cave. The most spectacular part of the cave is the Кришталевий Коридор (Kryshtalevyy Korydor, Crystal Corridor). Here the walls on both sides are covered by selenite crystals. While they are mostly white, sometimes transparent, there are also cream, pink and ambet coloured crystals.

The Crystal Cavern also holds a strange secret: in 1962 an expedition found the skeleton of an unknown man. They also found several imperial Russian 5 kopeck coins, dated 1904, which tells a lot about the maximum age of this person. But the story behind his death is still unknown, the locals were not aware that someone went missing at that time. The exploration and survey by a special karst expedition, was headed by the famous Professor V. M. Dubliansky from the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. In the northern part of the cave they discovered the remains of fox, marten, badger, lemmings, reindeer, hare white, willow grouse, and many more. They were dated about 10,000 years old, and tell two important facts, the climate was much harsher than today, and the cave was not flooded since then.

The cave belonged to Poland until the end of World War II, when the borders of Poland were drawn new by the Allies. It was first mentioned in a Polish scientific publication by the monk Gabriel Rzeczynski. The development of the cave in 1930 was very expensive, but it made the cave the most popular show cave of Poland in the time between World War I and II. At this time the cave was called Jaskinia Kryształowa in Polish. During the war the cave was used by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) as a hideout. This was the armed force of the underground Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), created in 1942, who actually wanted an independent Ukrainian state with a Ukrainian ethnic majority. They committed massacres of ethnic Poles in the Volhynia and Eastern Galicia regions, with the goal to get rid of the Polish minority living in Ukraine. The NKVD blew up the entrance to the cave to destroy their hideout. The cave entrance was reopened by pupils of Kryvche secondary school and students of Ternopil Medical Institute in 1961.