Worth a visit of a King!
Jaskinia Ciemna is a very old show cave, as the first offical cave tour was made during a visit of the Polish King in the 17th century. For another royal visit in 1787 paths and stairs with railings were built to the cave entrance, the cave floor was planked, and the cave was brightly lit. This made this cave a show cave in the modern meaning of the word.
Going into the Cave
This popular cave lies 85 metres above the Pradnik Valley, meaning a slightly strenuous uphill ascent after you pass the ticket window. You will get into a dark, dank 150m passage through the non-electrified cave by candlelight.
Traces of one of the oldest prehistoric settlements in Poland – dating back to about 120,000BC - have been found here. You’ll encounter an installation of a Neanderthal family - nice spot to make some silly photos.
The highlight of Jaskinia Ciemna may not actually be the cave itself, but the scenic overlook in the midst of the passage which gives you great views of the surrounding landscape and particularly the Brama Krakowska (Krakow Gate) rock formation across the valley.
Today cave is inhabited by charming bats (lesser horseshoe bats with a strange snouts) and the most venomous spiders in Poland – orbweaving cave spiders.
Getting to Jaskinia Ciemna
To reach the cave take the green trail south from the Ojcow. This trail carries on from the cave along the top of the ridge, where you can admire remnants of a medieval hill-fort, before winding back down to the Pradnik stream.