Jaskinia Raj Paradise Cave is a natural underground system of caverns
situated in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodship of Poland. This
geological formation formed 350 million years ago during
Devonian Era. Archeological digs proved a presence of wooly
mammoth, woolly rhinoceros and cave bears. Neanderthals men used
to live here 60,000 years ago. Rock slide closed its main
entrance and it was re- discovered only in 1963 by Józef Kopeć and Feliks Wawrzeńczak. The cave is
not very big. It measures 240 m in length and depth of 9.5 m,
however its stalagmites and stalactites make it one of the most
beautiful in the region. There is a museum outside that shows
findings from the last Ice Age.
The Raj Cave is located inside a small Malik hill,
about 270 m above sea level. It is a small cave with horizontal
development, the total length of its corridors is 240 meters.
The length of the tourist route is 180 m; the tour takes about
45 minutes. Electric lighting is installed here. The tour takes
place under the guidance of a guide in groups of up to 15 people.
The cave can be visited from January 15 to November 15; On Mondays,
Easter, August 31 and November 1 the cave is closed.
entrance to Raj Cave leads through the entrance pavilion, which
houses ticket offices, a cafe and a small museum. The museum
exhibition presents the geology, history and archaeological and
paleontological finds excavated during the exploration of the cave
by teams of scientists.
The entrance to the cave leads
through an artificially dug sidewalk 21 meters long. Inside the cave
there is a constant temperature, which is about 9 ° C, and humidity
is about 95%. The route leads through the Initial Chamber, the
Złomisk Chamber, again through the artificially dug pavement to the
Column Hall. After crossing the bridge, the route leads through the
richest Stalactite Hall through the High Hall and the Entrance
Chamber to the museum pavilion and exit.
In the cave itself,
you can see rich and diverse stalactite forms, sometimes with
original shapes, such as stalactites, stalagmites, stalactite
columns, draperies, cave pearls, necroses, lakes and "rice fields".
A total of 47,518 infiltrative forms were counted, including 47,173
stalactites. The highest stalagmite measures 77 cm, while the
thickest has 6.27 m of base circumference. The highest stalactite
column (stalagnate) is 1.95 m high.
In the winter season, Raj
Cave is a place of hibernation for bats, mainly the big bat. In
total, 9 species of these flying mammals were counted here.
Next to the cave there is a red tourist trail - red tourist trail
from Chęciny to Kielce.
In 2014, Raj Cave was visited by
94,000 persons against 95,118 in 2013.
History The cave was formed in limestone rocks
that formed at the bottom of the shallow sea about 360 million years
ago (Middle Devonian). The formation of the cave took place in
several stages, mainly at the end of the Tertiary and in the
About 50,000 years ago the cave was inhabited by
a Neanderthal man. Flint tools found in different layers of cave
sediments indicate that the cave is inhabited by Neanderthals twice,
representing the Mustier culture. It is one of the northernmost
positions of this culture in Europe. No human remains were found in
the cave settlements, but the presence of teeth and bones of large
mammals, such as cave and brown bear, mammoth, cave hyena, woolly
rhinoceros, musk ox, bison, reindeer, horse, polar fox were found.
Numerous remains of small vertebrates, mainly rodents, were also
Over the last thousands of years, the entrance to the
cave has been completely filled up (which probably protected the
For modern people it was discovered in
1963 during the extraction of stone for construction purposes on the
slope of the Malik hill. Teenagers from nearby Sitówka got inside
through the crack, which caused a number of damage to the
formations. After that, the entrance to the cave was filled in to
avoid accidents. In 1964, during the summer field practice, four
students of the Geological Technical School from Kraków (Bohdan
Bałdun, Zbigniew Bochajewski, Włodzimierz Łucki and Wojciech Pucek)
entered the cave. A few days later they returned there with their
teacher Mirosław Boczarowa. Each time the entrance to the cave was
masked to prevent its devastation. The discoverers informed Ryszard
Gradziński of the Speleological Section of the Polish Society of
Naturalists about the discovery of the cave. Nicolaus Copernicus.
Because of the unusual natural values and in contrast with the
existing caves called Hell, it was named by the discoverers of
Paradise. In October 1964, the students, together with the teacher
and R. Gradziński, again explored the cave, and then the first
photographic documentation and plan of the cave were carried out.
After visiting the cave in January 1965 by members of the board
of the Speleological Section, it was notified to the State Council
for Nature Conservation and the Provincial Nature Conservator. In
issue 3 of "Przegląd Geologiczny" an article by Mirosława Boczarowa
appeared. The discovery of a new cave in the Świętokrzyskie
Mountains. After the information about the exact location of the
cave appeared in the Kielce press, uncontrolled sightseeing and
further damage occurred. At that time, the Świętokrzyski Institute
of the Geological Institute ordered closing the entrance slot with a
grate. In 1966, the decision was made to make the cave available for
organized tourist traffic. A lot of mining work was done to secure
and make the cave accessible to visitors. In the place of the former
entrance, an adit was built leading to the cave and protecting the
microclimate inside. Sidewalks and ventilation shaft were made. On
October 5, 1968, the cave was declared a nature reserve.
the years 1967–1972, during mining, construction and installation
works leading to the preparation of the object for visitors,
archaeological, paleontological and geological research was also
carried out (including dripstone).