Mystery of the Devil’s Throat Cave

Devil's Throat
A carving of a devil's head in the Devil's Throat cave.

Hidden deep in the Trigrad Gorge in the Rhodope Mountains, is one of the most mysterious caves in Bulgaria – the Devil’s Throat.

It does not impress with exquisite rock formations since, geologically speaking, it is rather young, dating back only 175,000 years. But the secrets it hides are what is most compelling about this cave.

Since ancient times there have been tales of Orpheus descending into the underworld through this exact cave to search for his beloved Euredice. He convinced Hades to give her back with the one condition that on their way back to the surface Orpheus was forbidden to look at her. But a sudden rumble drowned out Euridice’s steps and Orpheus quickly forgot his vow and turned to make sure he hadn’t lost her again. He reached for her but her shadow slowly began to fade. Feeling nothing but despair, Orpheus wept for seven days, his tears creating a spring in the cave.

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It is believed that this happened in the “Booming Hall”, named after the deafening rumble from the waterfall inside the cave. It is the second largest cave hall in Bulgaria and an entire two-story building can fit inside. The spring, allegedly created from the tears of Orpheus also exists. According to the myth, its waters are healing and wishes come true here.

If you look closely above the spring, you can see the figure of Virgin Mary and tour guides will gladly show you two more interesting reliefs – a devil’s head, carved near the entrance, and a life-sized figure of a man. The natural entrance of the cave also resembles a devil’s head and it is used as an exit. The Devil’s Throat cave is also the home of the highest underground waterfall of the Balkan Peninsula. It is 42 meters (138 feet) high and is the main reason for the formation of the cave.

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The most impressive fact about the Devil’s Throat cave is that anything that falls into its waters is lost in a 150-meter-long (492 feet) tunnel. There have been numerous attempts to figure out this mysterious water labyrinth, but none successful. In 1970, one such attempt led to the death of two scuba divers, whose bodies were never found.

Researchers are now artificially coloring the water to see if it is the same river flows from the cave’s exit. They were surprised to find out that the colored water did in fact come from the exit but more than an hour later. It is determined that there is a huge labyrinth under the cave where objects ended up in the waters get lost forever.

To exit the Devil’s Cave you must climb 301 steep steps almost touching the rumbling waterfall. At the exit you will feel as if you just climbed a 22-story building.