The Bear Cave was discovered in 1975 due to a supervised explosion performed at the local marble quarry. The cave represents one of the main tourist attractions in Apuseni Mountains and it is located in Bihor District, in close proximity of Chiscau village.
The explosion created a well-like opening which provided access to the cave beneath. The first person to descend into the cave was Traian Curta, a miner from Chiscau, who took it upon himself to investigate the cave.
But the first official research conducted on the cave situated at 482 m altitude was performed on September the 20th, 1975, by a group of amateur speleologists called ‘Speodava’, original from Dr. Petru Groza town (which today bears the name Stei). Afterwards, the Speleological Institute ‘Emile Racovita’ in collaboration with the “Crisuri County” Museum from Oradea District, has performed various studies on the cave and has reached a conclusion concerning what needs to be done in order to properly arrange the cave and what protection measurements should be taken. The whole project took five years to be completed, but in the end the cave met global standards and on the 14th of July 1980, it was finally opened for visitations. At present, the cave receives more than 200.000 visitors per year.
And the reason for it is quite simple: the Bear Cave is worth visiting due to the impressive rock formations located within its walls. The cave is renowned for its variety of stalactites and stalagmites, but also due to the extensive number of bear fossils found here. In fact, this is the reason for which the cave was named this way. In ancient time, the cavern bears would retreat to the cave when they sensed that it was time for them to die. The fossils have remained undisturbed for more than 15.000 because the entrance to the cave had collapsed. Other fossils encountered by explorers belonged to lions, cave hyenas, ibexes, and black goats.
At the entrance, a special pavilion has been created which consists of a waiting room, a ticket booth, a bar, a small speleological museum and a souvenir stand where you can find items specific for this area.
The Bear Cave has 1.500 m in length and is made up of several galleries disposed on two levels: the first gallery, the superior one, which has a length of 488 m, can be visited by tourists, whereas the second one, which is 521 m long, is destined to scientific research. The superior gallery has 3 sub-galleries and 3 rooms: the Bear Gallery (or the Boone Gallery), ‘Emil Racovita’ Gallery, Candle Gallery, Candle Room, Spaghetti Room and Boone Room.
The Bear Gallery is named this way because 140 skulls but also several shelters used by these animals were discovered in this place. The walls of the gallery are covered with bear paw prints and the theory behind this is that the animals had been trapped within due to a collapsed rock which obstructed the entrance.
In the ‘Emile Racovita’ Gallery, fossils belonging to some animals which went extinct thousands of years ago are on display. The stalactite and stalagmite formations which are found in this area are mesmerizing. It seems that drapes made out of calcareous rocks decorate the place. In the last gallery, the Candle Gallery, tourists can contemplate white stalagmites which have never been touched by human hands. This gallery ends with a 16 m long tunnel which has been artificially created in order to provide access to the surface.
The stalagmite and stalactite formations, which vary in shape and size, are definitely something to gaze upon. There are some formations which stand out from the rest and which capture the tourist’s attention. These are: the Enchanted Palaces, the Lake with the Water Lilies, the Mastodon and the Dwarf House, the Drapes from the Bear Gallery, the Portal, the Pagoda and the last room, the Elderly Council, which is lit by candles. All of these are wonders of nature and it is definitely worth visiting the Bear Cave in order to admire them.
The temperature within the cave is constant throughout the year (10 °C) and the humidity level maintains itself at 97%.
How to reach the Bear Cave?
If you want to visit the Bear Cave, you have to drive along National Route 76 which connects Oradea and Deva Counties and then take the County Route 763 which will get you to Chiscau village – a 14 km drive.
This is one touristic objective you cannot miss. The cave is famous for the numerous fossils discovered here, as well as for the beauty of its architecture.
- Tuesday- Sunday: 10:00 – 17:00;
- Closed on Mondays.
- Adults: 15RON
- Children: 10 RON
Price for taking photographs: 15 RON
Price for filming: 25RON