The Wind Cave (Romanian: Peştera Vântului), is the longest cave in Romania, and with a length of almost 52km, it is also the most extensive limestone labyrinth and cave-reservation in Europe. The cave is located in the Pădurea Craiului Mountains, on the left bank of Crişul Repede River, in the vicinity of Şuncuiuş village (Bihor County, in the North-West of Romania). This cave is closed and only accessible to cavers, but there are works going on to develop it as a show cave. The cave was first explored in 1957.
Though only one entrance is known in the lowest (Northern) extremity, the length of the cave is growing fast from one expedition to another. The huge exploration and surveying work is not finished yet; there are several exploring and surveying teams, as well as novice cavers who are further exploring the complicated passage-networks.
The actual length of the cave is around 52km, but there are many passages, which have never been surveyed. The Wind Cave is a multi-leveled complex system, which has a main active passage and three main fossil floors. Actually, the number of the fossil levels is higher, in some sectors are 6 or 7 levels in superposition, forming very complicated passage networks. The most important galleries are: the Northern passage, the First flour passage, the White gallery (on 1st fossil flour); the 1st May passage, the 2nd flour passage, the 7th of November passage, the Red gallery, the P passage, the Lakes passage (on 2nd fossil flour); the Mikulas gallery, the MP passage (on 3rd fossil flour).
Because of the large temperature variations, the coleopteran fauna is very poorly represented. Bats are rarely observed in different sectors of the cave. Also very few bat and some mice skeletons were found on the fossil passages. The most interesting findings from this point of view are some recently discovered footprints and claw-marks on clayey walls very far from surface, possibly belonging to a marten or fitch.
The average temperature in the cave is 11.8C, varying in the entrance area and the main passages of the closed sector. The very powerful draft, that can be sensed in the entrance and in the far corners of the cave as well, is bi-directional being controlled seasonally.
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