Pecina nad Vrazjim Firovima
(Cave Over Devil's Whirlpools)


10550 m
11750 m
120 m
Bistrica canyon, Pester
(Bijelo Polje, Montenegro)

Low resolution survey (2 k). Click for detailed survey (15 k)
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On the western rim of the Pester plateau, the gorge Djalovica klisura is entrenched in limestones. It begins where streams Grebska reka and Grasevacka reka join to make the Bistrica river. Furher on, the gorge extends southwards for about 4 km, where the village of Djalovici is situated on the plain above. Downstream, the gorge sharply changes its direction westwards, to the village of Bistrica, where it ends. The Bistrica river is periodic between the junction of Grebska reka and Grasevacka reka, and the spring Glava Bistrice downstream. Further on, it has a permanent flow and feeds into the river Lim.

Speleologic explorations of Djalovica klisura and its vicinity started in June 1987, organized by Speleologic Club of the Mountaineering Association of Belgrade together with Geozavod from Belgrade. Ten other caves were explored on that occasion, but for Pecina nad Vrazjim firovima, it was just the beginning of explorations. Later, that cave turned out to be one of the most significant caves in Yugoslavia. During the first exploration, as well as two following - in November 1987 and August 1988 - 10550 m of cave galleries were explored and surveyed. Up to now, more than 1000 m of new galleries are explored, but that part of the cave is still to be surveyed.

Going upstream from the spring Glava Bistrice through Djalovica klisura, after 800 m, on the left side of the valley there is the lowest of four lakes known as Vrazji firovi (Devil's Whirlpools). It is the place where an adjacent valley joins the gorge. In the upper part of that valley there is the biggest of three entrances to Pecina nad Vrazjim firovima.

The explored part of Pecina nad Vrazjim firovima consists of large number of galleries, passages and chambers which can be divided in four parts according to the position, direcion and general morphological characteristics. Those parts are Lakes Gallery (Kanal sa jezerima), Big Labyrinth (Veliki lavirint), Big Gallery (Dugi kanal) and the passages that connect upper and lower galleries.

As its name says, the outstanding characteristic of Lakes Gallery is a great number of lakes, both permanent (about 15 of them) and periodic (20 - 30). Permanent lakes are mostly in rimstone dams (gours), while periodic lakes occur where potholes are filled with water. The general direction of galleries is about 120o, general inclination is ascending and the dimensions do not change much. Erosional forms are prominent, which cannot be said for deposits. Among the latter, there is much boulder, as well as sand and pebbles. Chemical deposits are present in forms of flowstone, stalagmites and stalactites, but of small dimensions. Distinctive feature of this gallery are about 14 siphons.

Big Labyrinth is a maze of about 15 galleries of various dimensions. It is hard to speak of the average dimensions because they vary a lot. It is also hard, even impossible to speak of the general direction of this part of the cave, but it is obvious that the directions of the galleries or their parts can be grouped in two intervals: 40o - 50o and 110o - 140o. The galleries are not at the same level, but in four distinctly separate levels descending in NNE - SSW direction. Pools of water are almost insignificant, while clastic deposits are present as great quantities of boulder (covered with calcite) and sporadical clay accumulations. It is here that the concentration of chemical deposits - speleothem is the most abundant and the most various in colours and shapes compared to the other parts of the cave.

Big Gallery overcomes other parts of the cave by its stunning dimensions and its length in general direction of about 80o. The general inclination is ascending. The average width of the gallery is about 8 m, although it can reach 20 m, and the average height is about 20 m, sporadically 50 m. Apart from the chamber named Cathedral, with a big stalagmite Monolith, there are other interesting features, such as two periodic siphons 30  m and 25 m deep, as well as two permanent siphons. Big Gallery belongs to the upper part of the cave, as Big Labyrinth does, but it has much more water - lakes, siphons, even a stream.There is much boulder covered with calcite and much fine sand deposits. Calcite deposits are often of huge dimensions, but due to big dimensions of the gallery they are not so prominent as in Big Labyrinth.

The fourth morphological part are the passages that connect upper (Big Labyrinth and Big Gallery) and lower level (Lakes Gallery). Morphologically, the characteristics of these passages are somehow in between two levels - some parts are more similar to the upper and some to the lower level.

Although Big Labyrinth and Big Gallery differ in morphology, they can be considered an entity compared to Lakes Gallery which is morphologically and genetically diverse.

text by Dragan Maksimovic

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