The secrets of Brgevčeva cave

Finding new caves in Slovenia is not exactly an exotic event that one should wait for months or years. As a rule, the entrances to new caves are detected weekly, which are just the beginnings to the fact that these entrances become real caves. For a long time, the rule has been, that the registration of a cave requires at least 10 meters of an underground passage. There are a lot of discovered entrances to potential caves, but most of them are left alone for many years before the cavers start exploring them again. Among the discovered entrances are also more interesting, either with strong drafts or found in promising locations, where the possibilities for larger caves are considerable.

The terrain in the surroundings of Sežana is certainly among the most interesting in Slovenia. There are the most beautiful caves, a lot has been discovered already, but among all these caves there is still a lot left unexplored.The easy, widely accessible cave entrances are usually already found out and new entrances need to be excavated. One of such well-known entrances, which has been left alone for many years, is also the entrance to the Brgevčeva cave. Cavers from JD Sežana have known it for many years, but somehow they did not find the time or the will to find a tangible continuation. Until Claudio Bratos (JOSPD Trst) started to explore it, he was assisted by Stojan Sancin and Ludvik Husu (JD Sežana) at the first meters, and later the help was also offered by the other Sežana cavers.

The entrance was soon transient, the first expansion showed itself, and soon the entrance became a real cave. A new narrow passage followed, which, after some action, finally gave way and the team could enter the beautifully decorated passage. Through a couple of narrow passages, this turns into a large main hall, baroquely decorated with speleothems of various shapes.

The view of pristine beauty recalls the original appearance of the caves as they were before numerous visits and, above all, vandalism of all kinds, the appearance that has long since been lost. Hoping that the attitude of the cavers to keep the cave inventory preserved until today has changed for the better and that the cave can remain further intact.

In the main hall, the cave is divided into the lower and upper part, while at the entrance to the hall there are 25 meters of the abyss. The lower part ends with a short slide and a sinter barrier ends in the collapse; in the upper part, the researchers were attracted by the weak drafts, which they followed up to the new collapse.

Here, to their surprise, they saw stuck bones. Later, the bones turned out to be about 15,000 years old, which probably belonged to the bison, wild horse, and aurochs, the ancestor of today’s cattle. However, the surprises did not end, as at the end of the dugout collapse they discovered the hall, which was already known to Claudio.

The Brgevčeva cave is located near the Bjekovnik collapse, in which Claudio tried to find a continuation in the southern part of this collapse years ago. There, a few meters above the ground there is an entrance to a small chamber, followed by extremely narrow passages. In some places, Claudio had to expand the passages so that he could come through and found an interesting find in a chamber in the middle of the passage. There were three signatures on the ceiling of a well-planned space, two of which are still very readable.There can be seen signatures of the first people to enter this space, Otello Zirnich and L. Tavcer, and the year 28.XI.19 was attributed.

The researchers arrived at the last hall, after almost 100 years, but by a completely different path. Claudio, as an excellent expert in this field, as well as the history of the explorations, does not know these first explorers. They can not be found even in literature or in records. They seem to have worked independently and were not members of any kind of caving club at that time. In any case, they had to be extremely slender so that they could pass through narrow passages.

Because the cave is very photogenic and full of details and motifs, it did not let us leave its short passages until the late hours. Despite the fact that the cave is only 200 meters long, many visits can be spent for photographic exhilaration, but extra careful vigilance is required for such acrobatics. Moving through such a space requires a carefully selected step and a prudent handhold. You should step into the place where someone has already stepped in and grasp the points where someone has already held on. Only in this way will the cave remain preserved for a long time.

Precious members of the team: Vid, Ana, Luka, Matej, Tadeja, Boštjan, Mojca, Ludvik and Rosana. Thank you all…

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