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Caves in Ojców, Ojcowski National Park and the surrounding area

Dark Cave

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  • Dark Cave

    Jaskinia Ciemna


Description of the object

Ciemna Cave (Ojcowska) is one of the most valuable archaeological sites in Poland. It is a fragment of the former system of underground corridors and chambers, with a total length of 230 m, which consists of: today's proper cave, closed with an iron lattice (150 m), right to her Tunnel, and behind it the so-called Ogrojec - a kind of rock courtyard surrounded on three sides by rocks, which to the south. goes into a tunnel called the Great Oborze. From him to the left is a narrow corridor of the Leszczynowa cave (in Leszczyna). Both the courtyard in front of the cave and Ogrojec were created as a result of the collapse of the cave ceiling, probably even before the ice age.

The Dark Cave consists of a spacious chamber, passing further into a narrowing corridor. The pre-chamber is the largest of all known in the Krakow-Częstochowa Upland. Its length is almost 90 m, width is about 20 m, and the height reaches up to a dozen or so meters. The bottom of the cave is lined with a thick layer of sediments, in places as shown by research, the thickness of over 8 m.

At a distance of about 30 m from the entrance, under the left wall of the cave, you can see massive stalagmites, one of which resembles a lion in its shape. The further section of the chamber decreases slightly. There are circular depressions in the roof here, so-called vortex boilers, created in the conditions of complete filling of the karst channel by water.

In the place where the chamber turns to the right, we come across a massive rock column (pillar), constituting a fragment of the wall dividing this part of the cave into two smaller ones. The cave ceiling to the left of the pole is covered with a large number of small infiltrations, namely tubular stalactites, so-called pastas.

After passing about 20 m, the chamber goes into a narrow corridor turning left, which is difficult due to its small cross-section. This corridor arose along a crack visible in the ceiling, and at its end in a tiny room was until recently a beautifully shaped, small stalactite stoup, in 1974 destroyed by vandals.

The interior of the cave is moist, the temperature is about + 7 ° C throughout the year. From the fauna, besides wingless insects, you can also find moths and white snakes, and bats in winter (usually big nests and small horseshoe bats), about 20 specimens.

The stalactite robe of Ciemna Cave is poor, because it was mostly destroyed in the 19th century and later when the cave was open to the public.

In the early twenties of our century (although it is not excluded that also at the beginning of the century) the cave had electric lighting for some time, which was then liquidated. The electricity was supplied from a power plant located at Krakowska Gate. Small stalactites have already formed on the insulators and cords already preserved. The interior of the cave is buried by torches, with which it was previously visited or has a coloring caused by the content of iron and manganese compounds in the infiltrations. There are also infiltrations with a natural white color.

The cave was mentioned by Sebastian Piskorski already in 1691. In the 80s of the 18th century, Hugo Kołłątaj visited it; twice (1798 and 1805) Stanisław Staszic was also in it.

In 1787, King Stanisław August Poniatowski visited Jaskinia Ciemna while staying in Krakow, Pieskowa Skala and Ojców. Bishop Adam Naruszewicz in Diariusz's journey of Stanisław August ... describes the king's stay in a cave:

Welcome The brightest Lord around the castle, beating with cannons, went forward to this famous cave about 1/4 mile from Ojców lying, watching it. A large cave has been hollowed out in the middle of a rocky mountain, where you enter among the crowbars of stones and thickets of brushwood, through a small hole barely one and a half cubits. At the very beginning, you can see a dungeon in the form of a large vaulted hall, a hundred tens of elbows, 35 heaps, and up to 10 or more heights. In this narrow dungeon, the other cavern extends slightly from the side, the shape of a church-worker with a lower vault, which is not known as far as the rock does. His King. Having come to the top on horseback, he found all the difficulties for a more comfortable viewing cave easier for himself. They ordered the heirs to clean up the bushes and stones: to dig the land with the shape of the east and all paths to fortify with the handrails. When the Brightest Lord entered the dungeon, he found all this underground apartment with a thousand lamps enlightened. In the middle there was a constant gate with lamps, also illuminated with a royal number, for which the music on the woodwind instruments spoke. He watched. The pan with the contentment of the whole place, walking everywhere on the lumber for lowered from the slip of the sliding place to constantly dripping drops from the water vault.

The first excavation works in the cave (more precisely in Oborzysko Wielkie) were conducted in the years 1898-1912 by S. J. Czarnowski, and in the years 1918-19 by S. Krukowski, including also the entrance to the main chamber. Among the flint inventories from S. Krukowski's research, there are finds among the oldest in the Ojców region and one of the oldest in Poland, dated to the end of the Middle Polish glaciation (about 120-115 thousand years BC). The small number of monuments, however, did not allow to establish their cultural affiliation.

Recent studies of Stanisław Kowalski from 1963-68 brought many interesting monuments of the Mikocko-Genernik culture, dated to the early phase of the last glaciation (70-54 thousand years BC). These are numerous dynamite knives and scrapers used at the time to process wood, skins, cut carcasses of hunted animals, etc. Some of them are exhibited in the Museum. At Szafer in Ojców. In the muddle of the cave are found bone remains of a cave bear and wolverine.

Traces of settlement found during the excavations focused mainly on the space of several dozen square meters in Oborzysko and Ogrojce, and to a lesser extent near the current entrance to the cave. The natural defensive qualities of the Ogrojca rocks at Ciemna Jaskinia were most probably also used in the early Middle Ages to build the most original defensive assumptions.

To Ogórekc and Oborzyska Wielkiego there is a quaint rock called the Glove, the Palm or the Five Peninsula (visible from the Krakowska Gate), and to the left (on the left) the double Skalka Sowia protrudes from it. The legend says that when the local population hid in the Dark Cave during the invasion of the Tartars, the Creator with his hand covered the entrance to the cave and fooled the trail of pursuit, and the visible sign of the miracle was a large five-handed stone palm, which was later called the Glove.

- Józef Partyka, guide OJCOWSKI NATIONAL PARK - Warsaw 1979

Additional information:
  • Dark Caves is open to tourists, however, it can only be visited in groups with the Father's National Park Guide on duty which is constantly at the ticket office during its opening.
  • The cave is not electrically illuminated. Guided tours are carried out with candles.
  • Tickets available only at the cave ticket office, the duty guide does not sell tickets (the ticket office is located on the green trail in the Prądnik Valley at the foot of the Crown Mountain, 400 meters in front of the cave.
  • The cave is easy to explore.


Price list Price list

It will be open every day from April 20, 2024 (Saturday) to September 14, 2024 (Thursday) from: 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.

Organized/group trips: +48 12 6813692 (

ATTENTION! The given closing time is also the last entry time. Entries on the hour - in the event of a pandemic, in accordance with separate regulations adapted to the sanitary and epidemiological regime.

The reduced fee is payable:

  • children > 3 years old, children and school youth, students up to 26 years of age
  • group supervisors (1 out of 10 participants)
  • retirees, pensioners, disabled people (upon presenting an appropriate ID card entitling them to a discount)
  • families of national park employees and employees of Landscape Parks and PGL LP upon presentation of an appropriate official ID
  • people with the Large Family Card

Price list in 2024

ticket for adult 20 PLN
ticket for children 10 PLN