The Polovragi Cave

In the North of Oltenia, not far from Polovragi Monastery, the valley of Olteţ River develop in the Jurassic limestone from the South of Parâng Mountains and of Căpăţânii Mountains a very abrupt relief about 200-300 m, which shelter the beautiful Olteţ Gorges. The gorges, with parallel walls, at 3-4 m distance in the lower part and 10-20 m in the upper part, let pass only a little light, but one can see many erosion levels, with many caves, most of them inaccessible.

The biggest and the most interesting of the caves from Olteţ river is The cave of Pahomie from Polovragi, cut in the left side of the gorges at 200 m from the entrance. The name Polovragi comes from an ancient plant, called Polovraga, in the Carpathian Mountains, used by the ancient Dacians as a panacea in their medicine. Pahomie, a monk from the nearby monastery, lived here in the XVIIth century and made a few drawings on the walls.

A wall painting known as "The Death", or "The Grim Reaper".

Cornel Bălosu, a specialist from the Oltenia Museum, says that from the 5th century to the 17th century, the left side of the body was considered the devil's side, (this survives in English in the word "sinister" which derives from the latin for "left") so the image above keeps the scythe in the left hand. This image made in white on black is painted in simple colors, because in all paintings from the middle ages in churches, the colors used were white/yellow (for the bones) on a black background, the fearsome color of death. Also, the painting of Pahomie's Death keeps its head to the right, because the tradition is that if the left part of the body was evil, the right part was for the forces of good. So when someone died, the head was turned to the right, with force if necessary, when the body was placed in the coffin.

Photo by Sorin (Panoramio)

It is a long cave, over 27000 m (900m electrified), having the main gallery mostly horizontal from which starts some lateral galleries most of all clogged by alluvia. Along the gallery three sectors are distinct. First till the Gallery of the Pillar, and starts with two little side galleries the important one being the right one named Bats Gallery. The electrified gallery continues with 2-8 m height and around 10 m width. There are frequent falls, flows from the ceiling, chimneys; here are opening little secondary galleries adorned with lime.

The ogiva sector, bordered by the Pillar Gallery and the Suffocated Gallery, starts at approximately 400 m from the entrance. Have the same width, but its height vary from 0.5 to 2 m. Concretion rate is reducing. The last sector, the Suffocated Gallery at the Northern end of the gallery continues the cave till a clogged whirlpool. Here the height and the width are reduced, and the stalagmite formations are more frequent at the end of the sector. The cave is relatively warm, wet and without air currents. The biospeleology of the cave is not very interesting, having a poor fauna and single troglobiont specie: Trachysphera spelaea. The cave is interesting especially from geomorphologic and landscape point of view.


Anonymous said...

Pozele sunt dragute, dar n-ar trebui sa mentionati si sursa daca nu le-ati facut voi? Asa este politicos. Sorin (autorul pozei numarul 3 -luata de pe Google Earth - Panoramio)

Adrian said...

Bineinteles ca da, ai perfecta dreptate. In marea majoritate a cazurilor mentionez sursa, dar mai posteaza si elevii, uita sa o mentioneze, dupa aia uita unde le-au gasit... asa ca le las asa si sper sa nu se supere nimeni, mai ales ca nu o facem pentru profit. O sa te mentionez ca autor al fotografiei indicate si mii de scuze.