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On the way to the underworld

On the way to the underworld

ORF/Matthias Heiden

The entrance reminds us of a dungeon. An unadorned steel door prevents free access to the Devil’s Throat Cave. If it weren’t for the souvenir stalls and snack shop, it would be easy to miss the hidden gate. A guard finally opens the heavy door and lets the picnic group inside. First it goes through a long tunnel. Concrete walls falling from the ceiling. At the end of the shaft, you come to a staircase carved into the rocks that leads down into a dark passage.

The eerie hissing sound gets louder with each level. Underground waterfall generates noise. At the end of the stairs you stand in a huge hall washed by the waters inside the mountain. Handrail protects from falling into floods. The roar here is deafening. Lights on and impressively staged “Devil’s Throat”. Masses of water drop 42 meters before amazed visitors from Garloto, the throat, to the depths and gather in the Dröhnendes Saal. It is said to be the highest underground waterfall in the Balkan Peninsula.

Craggy Cave

The cave is located in the Rhodope Mountains, a truncated mountain range in southern Bulgaria. In the landscape with dense karst forests there are deep valleys and impressive rock formations such as impressive bridges and countless caves. Dyavolsko Garlo, Devil’s Throat, is a particularly rugged and branching cave. A few meters after flowing through the Dröhnende Saal, the water disappears back into the rock.

To this day, the paths that water seeks through the rocks have not been found, and many other cave mysteries remain unsolved. For this reason, legends have always been told about the Devil’s Throat. In ancient times, it was believed that the cave is a gateway to the underworld. Orpheus, for example, is said to have bravely descended to bring back Eurydice, who had been killed by a serpent, from the underworld. His singing and enchanting playing of the lyre seem to have persuaded the god of the underworld, Hades, to agree that, as an exception, the singer of Thrace win back his beloved. The only condition: on the way back to the upper world, he must not pay any attention to it.

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Memorial Fountain

Everyone went well into the Booming Hall, but when they passed through it, the poet could no longer hear his beloved’s footsteps because of the loud roar of the waterfall. Orpheus turned around and lost his muse of the underworld forever. The fountain, which is said to be located on that very spot, reminds visitors of the drama to this day before they tackle the 301 steps to daylight themselves.