Description of the object
The Łokietek Cave, located about 125 m above the bottom of Sąspowska Valley, is the largest of all caves known in the Park. Its length is 320 m, and the denivelation is -7 m. It consists of several corridors and two large halls: Knight's and Bedroom and two smaller ones, one of which is located right at the beginning of the Main Corridor (to the left after descending by concrete stairs), and the other , called Kitchen, lies between the Knight's Room and the Bedroom. The location at a significant height above the bottom of the Prądnik Valley is proof that the cave was carved by groundwater much earlier than the caves located lower, when the bottom of the valley (Prądnik and Sąspowska) was at the level of today's entrance to the cave. There is a ticket office in front of the entrance, and there are waiting guides for visitors. The cave is open during the V-X in the chair. 9-18 (in autumn shorter); sightseeing only with a guide. In 1987, the cave was electrically illuminated, it was previously visited with candles.
The cave is carved by water in the upper Jurassic limestones. The preliminary section of the cave is devoid of roof, because it collapsed probably before the ice age. The rest of the corridor decreases (note the stairs), turns in the direction of the south-west. and expands significantly, then entering the Main Corridor. In its ceiling there are so-called vortex boilers, created when the whole section of the cave was filled with water. On the walls of the corridor you can see toppings and other drip works, often contrasting with their bright color with the buried interior. From the Main Corridor we enter the Knight's Hall, from which the left corridor ends blindly to the left, while to the right the stairs lead up to the upper level of the cave, from where a small passage called the Kitchen. It is the oldest part of the cave, lying close to the surface. Here in a few places tree roots get inside. In the Kitchen on the left, before the stairs to the next room, a small recess is visible, it is called Fireplace Łokietka. On the walls of the isthmus and the Kitchen there are rock shelves and flats that are traces of modeling the cave by a stream flowing freely on its then bottom.
From the kitchen, the stairs lead to the bedroom, and thus to the lower level of the cave corresponding to the Knight's Room. The bedroom floor is largely lined with rubble and blocks of limestone, which have been detached from the walls and ceiling. Towards west there is a small side corridor, varied with many sweeps, which are also found in the walls of the room near the stairs. To improve the tourist movement, the bedroom was joined in 1974 with the Knight's Hall with a corridor of approx. 8 m in length.
The stalactite form of the Łokietek Cave is poor. There are generally small tubular stalactites (so-called pasta), especially on the ceilings of both rooms (mainly Bedroom) and other harder to reach places. The walls are covered with coatings, and their overhanging sections are decorated with drip ribs or small, thin, wavy draperies.
In the last room, the large stalactite column ("Eagle") deserves attention, beautifully educated on the north. wall. To the left of the Eagle in a small recess above the ceiling, stalagmites have been preserved.
The temperature inside the cave is maintained at one level throughout the year and is about 7-8 ° C. In the winter period just before the entrance, sometimes "ice stalagmites" are formed, so-called peasants, often with very beautiful forms.
The stalactite formations of the Łokietek Cave were largely destroyed in the 19th century, when it was unprotected and available without restrictions. Already Ambroży Grabowski in 1836 gave the first information about the devastation of the cave, writing: every souvenir of his stay hence likes, therefore, these infiltrations are too slowly formed by action that nature in its secrets with its means is known for its size, thrown away from the vault, rarer become. The interior of the cave is very zakopcone, because it was visited once with torches and arcs.
The cave cavity was dug up in fragmentary ways by J. Zawisza (1871) and S. J. Czarnowski (1886 and 1899), who found here (mainly in the Bedroom) numerous cave bear bones. The remaining part of the cave sediments is intact. It is supposed that it was not a comfortable place for a man in previous ages. However, traces of his stay were discovered here, including the so-called. jerzmanowice blades.
The cave has been frequently visited for a long time, and probably regularly from the 18th century. Already in 1691, it was mentioned by Sebastian Piskorski. In her accounts, Klementyna Tańska-Hoffmanowa, Jadwiga Łuszczewska (Deotyma) and Ambroży Grabowski write about her. The cave was visited twice by Stanisław Staszic (in 1798 and 1805), who in his Journey Journal mentions the hiding of the king Bolesław Śmiały after the murder of Bishop Stanisław Szczepanowski. Staszic called the cave - Królewska. The information is also given that Stanisław August Poniatowski also viewed it in 1787, but the stay of the king is rather connected with the Dark Cave.
During the First World War, the cave served as a temporary shelter for the local population, mainly from nearby Czajowice.
An inseparable complement to the description of the cave is the hiding of Władysław the Elbow-high in front of the Czech king Wacław II at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. The future Polish king supposedly stayed for about six weeks. Łokietek rested on a stone bed in the last room (Bedroom), and in a small kitchen or "fireplace" room prepared meals brought to him by the peasant open up the entrance corridor, while the entrance to the cave was covered with spiderweb, which was covered with drops of morning dew fooled trail pursuit. The lattice closing the entrance, made about 30 years ago, repeats the cobweb motif.
The Łokietek Cave is still the main tourist attraction of the Ojcowski National Park. Annually, it is visited by approximately 120,000 people, of whom about 80% are primary school youth.
Source: Józef Partyka, guide OJCOWSKI NATIONAL PARK - Warsaw 1979
- Łokietek's cave is open to tourists, however, it can only be visited in groups with the guide of the Ojców National Park being constantly at the ticket office during its opening.
- The cave is electrically illuminated.
- The cave is easy to explore.
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