Peştera Topolniţa (the Topolniţa Cave), not far from the hermitage with the same name, is situated in the central part of the Mehedinţi Plateau, in the Sohodol Valley, between the villages Marga and Păuneăti, clustered beneath the earth, have carved this picturesque cave, the 2nd longest in the country and the 17th in the world.
The Topolniţa Cave is actually a system of caves, loosing streams, and resurgences, so the plural is actually correct. The whole system is called sistemul carstic Topolniţa (Topolniţa hydrokarstic system). The main structure is a river which enters a cave, flows underground for some 600m and reappears in a spring called Gaura lui Ciocârdie (Ciocârdie's Hole), which is actually a narrow gorge or roofless cave. There are other streams entering the system and various caves.
The Topolniţa Cave was declared a natural protected monument. From the point of view of its galleries’ length (25km) this cave is the second after the Vântului Cave (the Wind’s Cave). The galleries of the cave are situated on four levels. The cave displays rich concretions (stalactites, stalagmites, curtains, stone pearls), halls, waterfalls, lakes, guano deposits. Inside the cave skeletons of cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) were found. The galleries have 12,000 m, on 5 floors, among which the gallery “Emil Racoviţă” is 1,570 m long. Inside the galleries there are spectacular shapes, called accordingly, as The Great Candle, and hosts species specific to the Southern climate. In the vicinity of Păuneăti village there is the Borovăţ Forest (56 hectares) with black pine mixed with beech and shrubs specific to the area.
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