The Obir Dripstone Caves

WHAT DOES THE HOCHOBIR HAVE IN COMMON WITH SWISS CHEESE?

Up 1,000 metres above sea level, into the belly of the mountain. Be it winter or summer: the temperature in the cave is a constant: 8° Celsius.

The tunnels: Since the Middle Ages there had been a flourishing mining industry in the Obir mountain range with tunnels laboriously dug by hand. Then 150 years ago, miners extracting lead and zinc discovered and opened up the entrance to the amazing dripstone caves.

I feel like a dwarf in here. Like a little goblin in a bizarre cave that is over 200 million years old; a cathedral that has been formed and reshaped countless times down the ages.

Sinter, or stalagmites and stalactites are what we call the cave formations. Nature shapes them with a unique chemical interaction of precipitation, outdoor temperature, ground conditions, vegetation and the temperature inside the cave. And they look like extra-terrestrial organ pipes and flowing textiles.

Hard to imagine that one of these mighty stalactites grows by just half of mm per year. Equally hard to imagine that there are probably hundreds more of these caves and underground lakes in the Karawanken Mountains. Hidden and sealed. And most likely never seen by a human eye.

Geopark Karawanken/Karavanke – an amazing cross-border discovery

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