In Ecrins massif, between Gap and Briancon, within two hours from Grenoble and five minutes from the station of Argentiere-la-Bessée, a beautiful spot in the small village of Les Vigneaux is identified as the next challenge to seize. Getting through the tight spaces in a cave is part of spelunking that many people find quite scary as activitiy.
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Caving / Spelunking in Kapova (Shulgan-Tash) Cave, Belaya River, Republic of Bashkortostan Russia
The Kapova Cave is a paleolithic cave, very popular among caving enthusiasts. Shulgan-Tash Cave, as it is also known, is situated in the Republic of Bashkortostan in the southern Ural Mountains. It was first recorded in 1760 by P.I. Rychkov.
The Russian archaeologist A.V. Ryumin decided to examine the cave in the late 1950’s and he discovered a gallery of 1 mi/1.6 km long of cave paintings. Mammoths, rhinos, bison and horses, combined human and animal drawings and trapezoids are all over the walls.
The paintings were dated by a specialist to be from the end of the Upper Paleolithic. The cave has a couple of levels with the paintings mainly in the upper level at some distance from the beautiful entrance.
The later excavations revealed a layer containing human remains, charcoal, debris form the wall paintings and animal bones. In the reality Kapova cave is a complex natural monument, which has multiple grottoes and halls that are connected with passages on various levels.
On the cave walls you find calcite deposits of all kinds of sizes and forms. An underground river that is flowing out of the cave forms the notorious Blue Lake at its entrance.
The lake got its name by the blue color of the water, caused by the large amount of limestone in the water. On sunny days around mid day, when sunlight shines on the lake and into the cave is the best time to observe this magnificent event of nature.
If you like prehistoric caves, you will love the adventure of caving in Kapova Cave.
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