Literature · Tourism · Travelling · Wildlife & Nature

The Devil´s Throat

So far I have just written about traditions and a bit history on this blog, so now I attend to introduce you to natural places that are interesting to visit, and I would like to start with a cave that are full of legends and rumors- The Devil´s Throat…

The Cave of The Devil

You will find the cave in the Rhodope mountain about 17 km from the town Devin. On the way there will pass some of the Bulgarian canyons made from marble rocks as well as deep forests which is the home of many bears and wolfs. This road was once used by the Romans as an important way through the Balkan peninsula. On the way up in the mountains there is a small parking lot, a small house where you buy the tickets and some souvenirs, and to the right there is a small rounded entrance with a a home made wooden sign that says Diavolsko Garlo (the Devil´s throat). What attracts people from all over Bulgaria as well as the rest of the world is the mystery around this cave.

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The entrance to The Devil´s Throat. Photo: http://www.ivaielena.eu/lanmarks-devils-throat.html

When you first enter there is a tunnel that leads you in to the cave. Its not very high, but they have lighten it up with lamps so there is no need for who ever that visit this cave to think about bringing a flashlight or a head lamp. In this tunnel the guide gives you the history as well as the myths of the cave (in Bulgarian language). After that the walk starts, some stairs down and a big hall is opening up. It´s so big that the biggest Cathedral of Bulgaria, Alexander Nevsky, can fit in this hall of the cave. This hall goes under the name of The Hall of Thunder. The cave has the highest underground waterfall that is 42 m high and starts as a river on top of the cave from the town of Trigrad.

The cave is about 400 meter from the entrance, the water disappear in a 150 meter deep funnel, and the funnel leads to a another cavern that is about 60 meters long. There is also a underground river. It is said that the water in this cave separate the living from the dead. As you visiting the cave there will be hundreds of bats flying above you. This cave is a home for many different spices of bats, which all are blind from the lack of sunlight. As you are climbing the stairs that includes 301 steps you will see the waterfall from different angles, and witness the dark cave turn into bright daylight with the sound of the waterfall echoing in the cave.

The Legend 

Orpheus, the ancient god of music and poetry was married to Euridice. Euridice died when she was trying to escape the satyr, and Orpheus later found her body. He was so sad that that he even made the other gods and nymphs cry when he played his mourning songs. The legend tells that Orpheus traveled to the underworld to get his beloved wife back from Hades. As he played his music to Hades and Persephone, their hearts softened and agreed that Euridice could return to earth with him on the one condition, that Orpheus would walk in front of her and not looking back until they both had reach the upper world. As they walked he felt anxieties and as soon as he was up he turned around to see that everything was ok and that his wife was still there, forgetting that they both needed to be up on the earth, and as he turned around he saw his wife vanish in front of him, never to return from the underworld.

It is believed that this took place in the cave of the Devil´s Throat, that this cave was the underworld that they had to climb up through. It is also said that the spring of water in the cave are the tears of Euridice.

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Orpheus relief in the cave. Photo: the author

There is another story, a Biblical story, that tells us that the angels that disobeyed the commands of God, and gave the forbidden knowledge to the humans became “unwanted angels”, so called Nephilim according to the book Genesis. And as a punishment they were banished to a mysterious underground prison. Some people belief that the Devil´s Throat is was the place where they were banished to.

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The stair up through the cave. Photo: http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/devil-s-throat-cave

How did the cave receive its name?

The reason for its name, Dyavolsko Garlo, refers to the rock formation. People say that they see the Devil´s face with a gaping throat around the waterfall. Other people say that the entrance to the cave look like a gaping mouth on the mountain wall.

The other reason for the name is the myth around the cave, but also the fact that whatever carries away on the river from Trigrad and ends up in the cave of the Devil´s throat will never been seen again. There was about 500 kg of wood that got carried away a spring some years ago when the river was flooded, never to show up again. Two scuba divers once decided to look up the mystery with the water in the cave, to see where it goes. One body of the scuba diver showed up days later, and the other scuba diver was never founded. Many researches has tried to figure out the cave and the water system, but its still an unsolved riddle.

 

TIP!

Here is a short documentary about the Orpheus Amulet from National Geographic with the Bulgarian author Ludmila Filipova. She wrote the novel The Parchmant Maze which has similarities to Dan Brown´s Da Vinci Code, this book is full of symbolism connected to history and myths.

 

 

Sources for this article:

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/europe/bulgaria-between-heaven-and-hell-8153281.html

http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/devil-s-throat-cave

http://www.visitbulgaria.travel/guide/the_devils_throat_cave.html

http://bulgariatravel.org/en/object/31/dyavolsko_gyrlo

http://www.ivaielena.eu/lanmarks-devils-throat.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil%27s_Throat_Cave

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orpheus

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