The cave under ‘Babji zob’ – that translates into English as ‘Hag’s Tooth’ – is one of the many karst caves discovered in Slovenia. However, this cave is special for unique mineral formations and its location.
When in the cave, you will see millions of years old calcite crystals along with other cave formations.
But before getting inside, you will need to hike for about one hour as this ‘hidden cave’ lies at 1008 m (3300 ft) above sea level. ― Do not forget to take your hiking shoes with you!
The cave under 'The Tooth'
There are not many who would not hear of the rock formation that looks like a tooth and is part of a massive plateau called Jelovica.
Yet not all of them know that under ‘Hag’s Tooth’ (or Babji zob in Slovenian) as we call that rock in the shape of a cone on Jelovica, there is a cave.
Hag’s Tooth and the cave are located near the village of Kupljenik near Bled. That little village with around 30 inhabitants lies above the gorge of Sava Bohinjka River and the road Bled-Bohinj.
The cave that is known for calcite crystals ‘opens its doors’ in summer. You can visit it on Sundays (in July and August) accompanied by local cavers who will open the door for you at 10 am, as well as take care of the lighting in the cave.
They will make sure that you explore the cave safely and learn something new about the underground world.
Visits to the cave are limited in order to preserve the cave’s system. ― And you are asked to stick to the motto of the cavers: ‘Do not bring/take anything in/from the cave, except for the mud on your shoes’.
The cave with some of the oldest calcite crystals in Europe
Like other karst caves, including Postojna Cave that is the most known cave in Slovenia, The cave under Babji zob features beautiful cave formations.
There are thousands of years old cone-shaped stalagmites growing from the ground and stalactites hanging from the cave’s ceiling. Those cave formations continue to expand ― but only for a few centimetres per 1000 years!
Nevertheless, the oldest formations in the cave – that are older than the cave itself are called calcite crystals. Calcite is the most common mineral that can be found in Slovenia. It is interesting that skeletons of some sea animals, such as corals, also include calcite.
The oldest calcite crystals in the cave are around 10 million years old. Unfortunately, many of them are severely damaged (they were broken off) due to human ignorance. Calcite crystals occurred even before the glacial water slowly carved the cave that you can visit today.
History of the cave that is home to millipede
The cave below Babji zob attracted tourists already at the beginning of the 20th century and was one of the most visited caves in Central Europe.
Local men who lived in the village of Kupljenik guided curious visitors through the cave. Kupljenik is a charming alpine village with a pilgrimage church.
Today the cave is being taken care of by local cavers united under ‘Society for Research of Caves Bled’ (‘Društvo za raziskovanje jam Bled’). They also offer guided tours which is the only way to enter the cave.
On the 1st of May each year when Slovenians like many other nations observe Workers’ Day the members of this association organise free guided tours of the cave (usually from 10 am until 2 pm; a single tour lasts around one hour).
Nevertheless, it can be quite crowded in the cave on the 1st of May and if you prefer to be in a smaller group, then you might want to visit it some other time.
The cave tour will take you through around 300 metres (around 0.3 miles) of cave passages and chambers. Have your eyes wide open and in some cave formations you might see shapes of animals or even human faces! The cave chamber that is ‘decorated’ with stalagmites and stalactites is probably the most appealing.
The cave is home to several animal species, including bats, cave spiders and a kind of millipede that is native to Bled area.
The route to the cave in pictures
To get to the cave entrance at 1008 m (3307 ft) above sea level, you will need to hike for about one hour. The starting point of the hike is in the forest near the village of Kupljenik.
- PRACTICAL INFORMATION -
LOCATION: The cave is situated near the village of Kupljenik that lies on the slopes of Jelovica Plateau and above Sava Bohinjka Gorge.
The cave under Babji zob
ENTERING THE CAVE: You can visit this cave on Sundays in July and August when local cavers open the cave and offer a guided tour.
The tour starts at 10 am and lasts one hour. They ask you to be at the cave entrance 15 minutes before the tour starts. There is a small fee to enter the cave.
Society for Research of Caves Bled also offers guided tours outside the opening hours. Please contact them for more information: email@example.com or +386 31457509, +386 41368965.
INSIDE THE CAVE: The terrain inside the cave is not challenging, it is mainly even, there are ropes and steps to make the passage easier. It is a bit muddy and slippery though, so make sure to wear appropriate shoes.
STARTING POINT (BY BUS): If you do not have a car, you can take a bus from the main bus station in Bled heading towards Bohinj and take off at the bus stop ’Bohinjska Bela’ that is situated by the road Bled-Bohinj.
From the bus stop, you will need to walk for about three kilometres (1.8 mile) to get to the starting point of the hike to the cave’s entrance.
RECOMMENDATIONS: The hiking trail to the cave entrance is steep and narrow in some places, so hiking shoes with good grip are highly recommended. Trekking poles will make your hike easier.
The temperature in the cave is low (8°C / 46°F), so make sure to take some warm clothes with you. For better illumination in the cave, I would suggest you to take either a torch or a headlamp with you.