Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst
Inscribed on the World Heritage List: 1995
What makes the caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst so exquisite is their extraordinary variety of formations, complexity and the fact that they are relatively intact and concentrated within a small area.
One of the most significant caves of the World Heritage site is the Baradla- Domica cave system; with a total length of 26 km, it is the longest cave within the moderate climate zone, adorned with dripstones and containing an active stream, first mentioned in a written source in 1549, published in Basle by Georg Wernher. Further notable caves of the karst region include: the Földvári Aladár Cave and Rákóczi 1 Cave within the Esztramos massif, the Béke Cave, suitable for the treatment of respiratory diseases, the second-deepest cave within Hungary, the Vecsem-Bükk Zsomboly, and the Vass Imre Cave with its extraordinary hydrological significance. The Silica Ice Cave, the southernmost ice cave of the moderate climate zone is situated on the Slovak side. Dobsiná Ice Cave and its surroundings - first mentioned in 1863 by János Hunfalvy, the founder of scientific geography in Hungary - became part of the World Heritage site in 2000.
The uniform karst region stretching along the north-eastern border of Hungary and the south-eastern border of Slovakia, comprising more than 1000 caves, is one of the most remarkable and most complex examples of limestone formations in mediumhigh mountains in the moderate climate zone, extremely rich in biological, geological and paleontological values as well. Surface formations and sediments created under subtropical climatic conditions can also be found in the area, just as the traces of periglacial processes taking place within the period of Pleistocene glaciation, enabling the monitoring of geological history tens of millions of years back. A vast number of archaeological findings prove that some of the caves had been inhabited, or at least visited by prehistoric man.
In addition to dripstones, flags, drippings and other formations of various shapes, sizes and colours, the caves are adorned by cave pearls, pea-stones and calcite plaques, depending on whether the limestone material came from dripping, leaking, flowing or still water.
The unique underground ecosystem is the habitat of more than five hundred cave animals, including some endemic species. Out of the 28 European bat species twenty-one have been registered here, including two, listed as endangered species. The humid environment is an ideal habitat for amphibians, such as fire salamander.
Most of the World Heritage site is an outstanding natural protection area in both countries. In addition to caves with active streams, the area is also rich in perpendicular shaft caves (called “zsomboly”) formed through the solvent effect of water leaking in, and there are also caves marked by thermal characteristics, created by thermal water streaming upwards. The above-ground treasure of characteristic shapes, connected with the underground realm gives an excellent opportunity to study the interactions of karst development on the surface and under the ground. Considering the vast variety of cave types, cave shapes, cave formations and related karst shapes, as well as the biological, archaeological and geological significance of the caves, the site is an important underground museum and field laboratory of natural sciences.
World Heritage Management Body: Aggtelek National Park Directorate-State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic
Aggtelek National Park Directorate
State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic
Site manager: Mr. Gaal Ludovit RNDr.
Slovak Caves Administration
Site manager: Liptovsky Mikulas
Address: Hodzova 11, 031 01