The great Cave of the Bear, a masterpiece of nature, is unique in Romania and Europe. People allover the world come to Romania to see it because of its uniqueness and beauty. The great Cave of the Bear, located in the North-Western part of Romania, was discovered only recently, in 1975, by a miner named Traian Curta.
He was minding his day-to-day business when a controlled explosion used in mining works disclosed a small crack in the rock, about 30 centimeters wide. Curious as he was, he switched off the Straddle Packer he was working with, climbed down, on a rope, into the hole, to see what it was down there. He was really amazed to discover a huge skull with big sharp teeth. He had never seen such an animal. Later, he would find that it was the skull of an extinct type of bear, the Caverna Bear (Ursus spelaeus). It had disappeared 17.000 years ago.
The cave got its name after the speologists found a huge amount of bones of this Caverna Bear. It is thought that, at one point in time, a large group of bears were living inside this cave and an earthquake closed the only exit. All the bears died trapped inside.
The temperature in this cave is about 10 degrees Celsius and the humidity is 97%. The part of the cave opened to the public is divided into three galleries.
The Bone Gallery of the great Cave of the Bear
This is located right at the entrance of the cave. Here, the tourists can see many bones that belonged to the extinct bears. This is the most narrow corridor of the cave’s touristic part. If you look up you can even see the crack that led to the discovery of this cave. Here, the ceiling is thinner than anywhere else in the cave.
The Emil Racovita Gallery of the great Cave of the Bear
This gallery is the most impressive. The stalagmites and stalactites formed over thousands of years offer a great show for the tourists. Their shapes are really interesting and the view is amazing.
The candle gallery of the great Cave of the Bear
This part of the cave is at the exit and it’s called the Candle Gallery because of the hundreds of stalagmites that look like candles. With the lighting in the cave, it almost looks like a huge shrine.
Available to the tourists are about 800 meters. All tourists enter accompanied by a guide and they are forbidden to touch anything. The cave formations are very sensitive to all external factors like the grease on the fingers or a inappropriate temperature.
The great Cave of the Bear can be visited all year round, excepting Mondays. In the rest of the days, the cave is open to the public from 10.00 to 17.00.
When, where, how much?
The price of an access ticket is 20 lei for adults (about 4 euros), and 10 lei for children (about 2 euros). If you want to take pictures inside, that will cost you another 15 lei (about 3 euros). And if you want to film the experience, you’ll have to pay an extra 25 lei (about 5 euros).
It is fairly difficult to get to the cave without a GPS on your car. And if you don’t have a car it’s even harder as there aren’t many signs on the street showing the way.
So, if you don’t have a GPS, you’ll have to get first in Oradea City or Deva city. You will find these two in the Western part of Romania. Both are fairly at the same distance from the cave.
Regarding public transportation, it is difficult to get to the cave. If you must, and only if you have no other choice, you can take a bus from Oradea city to Beius town. And then another bus from Beius town to Chiscau, the village where the cave is.
There is only one guesthouse/hotel available really close to the cave. I was accommodated there once and I almost got killed. In the middle of the night, the TV, along with the suspended shelf it was set on, fell straight on my bed. Luckily, the big TV fell on my legs and I didn’t get injured. I was really lucky it wasn’t my head instead. So, for obvious reasons I wouldn’t recommend accommodation there. There are also some other guesthouses in the area, but at a distance of some kilometers. Look on Booking.com for “Chiscani, Bihor, Romania”. You will find there what you need and decide which one suits you.