Video source: AMD Bihor
Bear Cave is one of the main tourist attractions in the Apuseni Mountains, located in Bihor county, near Chișcău village, commune of Pietroasa, at an altitude of 482 m.
The Bear Cave was discovered in 1975 during a blasting operation at a marble quarry in the area.
The interior is distinguished by the diversity of stalactite and stalagmite formations, as well as by the impressive amount of traces and fossils of the cave bear – Ursus spelaeus – which disappeared 15,000 years ago. Fossils of black goat, ibex, lion and cave hyena have also been discovered. At the entrance to the cave is a pavilion, consisting of a waiting room, ticket office and souvenirs stand with handicrafts specific to the area.
Over 1,500 m long, this cave has two galleries on two levels: The first gallery can be visited by tourists and is 488 m long; The second gallery is reserved for research purposes and is 521 m long.
A brief illustration of the cave
The upper gallery, available for visiting, is composed of 3 galleries and different rooms:
The “Bears” Gallery (or the Bones Gallery),
Gallery “Emil Racovița”,
Hall of Candles,
Hall of Bones.
Among the formations of stalactites and stalagmites, the Enchanted Palaces, the Water Lily Lake, the Mastodon and the House of the Dwarves, the Draperies in the Bear Gallery, the Portal, the Pagodas and the last hall, the Council of the Elders, lit with candles, stand out. The temperature in the cave is constant throughout the year (10 °C) and the humidity is maintained at 97%.
The cave was closed until 1975 when the underground void was artificially opened by dynamiting the entrance during limestone (marble) quarrying works. Traian Curta, a miner from Chișcău, went down the shaft for the first time and went through the access gallery to reach Great Hall. He said it looked like a palace made of marble and gold, with crystal columns and walls that sparkled like diamonds.
A first exploration of the cave took place on 20 September 1975 by group of amateur cavers “Speodava” from town Dr. Petru Groza (now town Ștei). On basis complex studies carried out by Institute of Speleology “Emil Racoviță” in collaboration with Cris Country Museum in Oradea solutions for layout and specific protection measures were established. After 5 years development world standards cave was opened to visitors 14 July 1980 every year visited 200000 tourists