A Final Frontier
Aggtelek in the far north of Hungary is more than just a quaint village surrounded by stunning natural beauty, it is also a cave system that transcends borders. It is a final frontier awaiting discovery and exploration by the intrepid traveler. Aggtelek takes visitors on a journey of discovery. And when basic embarking on any journey of discovery there are three questions looking to be answered. These are Where, Why and What.
Where will your discovery take you? The relatively unknown Aggtelek Caves.
Very few tourists venture to this remote area. Don’t be surprised if you have the caves to yourself (along with your guide of course). The remoteness and lack of tourist traffic will allow you to have an intimate experience with the caves. Perhaps you have visited other famous cave systems such as Carlsbad Caverns or.
If so then you were almost certainly part of a large group that took a short guided tour of less than 1/2 km (3/10ths of a mile). By contrast, in Aggtelek there are multiple tour routes in several caves that can satisfy almost any types of explorer. At Baradla Cave, the longest in the Aggtelek system at 22km, you can take an hour long trek in one part of the cave and then take a second journey in about the same time through another part of the cave.
Or you can opt for the 4.5km (3 mile) long tour that takes about four hours and takes you much deeper into Baradla Cave, including extended periods areas without any light whatsoever. Depending on the tour you might just pass from Hungary to Slovakia and back again!
Why journey to the Aggtelek Caves? Suffice to say it is part of one of the largest karst areas in the whole of Europe. Thus far, 712 caves have been found in this limestone.
The Aggtelek Cave system is not just of national significance to Hungary, but also world significance. This is reflected in its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the true gold standard for natural resource protection. This is mainly due to the incredible diversity of the dripstone formations found throughout its chambers.
The Aggtelek Caves contain the world’s highest stalagmite, aragonite and sinter formations. If that is not enough, there is even an ice filled abyss.
What will you discover on this journey into the underworld of Aggtelek? A subterranean world beyond the scope of even the most fevered imagination.
Dazzling formations hang from the ceiling or sprout from the limestone floor defying gravity. Vibrant dripstone adds new colors to the visual spectrum. Illuminated chambers showcase some of the most fantastical creations nature has ever conceived. Classical music enchants the halls of one chamber, while in another you travel by boat, floating through a fantastical wonderland.
Perhaps, the most valuable discovery to be made at Aggtelek is that even in a world where GPS, Google maps and high-tech satellites penetrate every corner of the globe, there are still places yearning for exploitation. Aggetelek allows you to discover another world, a final frontier, expanding the world and also your mind.
written by CHRIS WILKINSON
edited by CHRIS KOVACS
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