Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

South East Europe / Western Trans-Balkan Road

The Magura Cave

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The Magura Cave

About the site

Corridor: Western Trans-Balkan Road
Country: Bulgaria, Rabisha, Belogradchik
Type: Ancient Site
World Heritage:
Ancient Site

The Magura cave is situated in the limestone Rabisha mound (461m above sea level) in north-west Bulgaria. It is one of the biggest caves in Bulgaria – the total length of all galleries discovered up-to-now is 2500m. The various halls are with huge dimensions – length exceeding 200m, width over 50m and height over 20m. The inner spaces are full of various formations – stalactites, stalagmites, stalactones, cave pearls, “cave milk” – impressing not only with their beauty, but also with their dimensions.
Of exceptional value are the rock drawings in the cave, made with guano from bats and red clay during the various periods (epi-Paleolithic, Neolithic, Eneolithic, Early Bronze Age) piled up in layers. Cult scenes are depicted, dancing women and men figures, hunting men, people with masques, various animals, “chess-like” panels, suns, stars, tools, plants. The solar calendar from the late Eneolithic Age and expanded during the Early Bronze Age stands out with exceptional precision. Through the paintings was preserved information for the local calendar and the feast with the respective actors.
With its approximately 700 paintings, the Magura cave is unique for South Eastern Europe. These paintings are the only preserved pieces of art of the people inhabiting these lands 3 thousand years ago. Analogues of the images could be found famous pre-historical cultural centres in Italy, the Iberian peninsula and Asia. Undoubtedly, they belong to the Mediterranean area of pre-historical art.

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