Baradla Cave, aka Aggtelek Dripstone Cave is one of Hungary’s most famous natural formation, listed also on the World Heritage Sites list of UNESCO since 1996.
The cave system of more than 25 kilometres extend both beneath the surface of Hungary and Slovakia. Ordinary cave tours along walkways depart from three different cave entrances on the Hungarian side, while adventure lovers can explore more hidden gems of the cave on specially equipped tours, guided by expert cavers.
The cave was formed 230 million years ago in the Triassic Period, when this area was covered by water. Fossils of animals living in water were piled up forming limestone; in youngest rocks such fossils are still visible to the naked eye. After that, due to tectonic movements, limestone rocks were broken vertically, rose up to an extent to form mountains. Holes and caves under the surface were carved by water flowing through cracks, and at some places they even extended to wide corridors and large halls.
Dripstones varied both in form and colour are the most spectacular elements of caves, formed by a long and complex process. Rainwater, leaking through cracks in the rock, absorbs carbon dioxide from root zone. This carbonated fluid dissolves limestone, carving bigger and bigger holes out of it. Water drops transfer dissolved calcium carbonate, which deposits in caves and builds up to form various structures over time. Stalactites hang from the ceiling, while stalagmites grow up from the ground and when they meet, dripstone columns are created.
In the cave the average temperature is 10 °C, while relative humidity is 95-100%.