Caves & pits
The Velebit mountain of Croatia is believed to have several caves with some of the world's greatest subterranean vertical drops. Lukina jama cave is 1392 m deep (1996), the deepest pit of Croatia and the deepest in southeast Europe. At its foot, there are ponds and streams including one of the largest known colonies of subterranean leeches (Croatobranchus mestrovi), which has been ascertained to represent a new species, genus and also family.Like Lukina jama, Slovacka jama, Velebita and Meduza are also located at the Hajdučki i Rožanski kukovi special reserve, a dedicated part of the Sjeverni Velebit national park.
Other notable caves include the Slovacka jama (Slovak pit), (1,320 m deep), Velebita (1026 m deep with underground free fall vertical drop of 513 metres ) and Meduza (679 m deep). The cave Patkov Gušt is 553 meters deep and the second deepest pitch in the world as of 2007.
Cerovac caves (Cerovačke špilje) Among the most renowned and significant speleological structures are the Cerovac Caves , located in the southern part of Velebit Nature Park . This 3-tier complex (Lower Cave, Middle Cave and Upper Cave) features a total of 4 km of explored channels. The first 700 m of the Lower and Upper Caves have been prepared for tourist visits. These caves abound in traces from the distant past.
In addition to large quantities of archaeological findings, they are also among the largest discovery sites of the cave bear in Croatia . One may easily spot claw marks gorged into the cave walls as the bears moved against them. Water has worked for thousands of years to create dripstones. It is therefore vital to treat these cave ornaments with care and not touch them, as just a single careless move may put an end to a process that has been going on for decades. The temperature in the caves is between 5 C and 11 C - warmer clothing, a head cover, and comfortable shoes are recommended.
List of potholes on Velebit, deeper than 500m:
- Lukina Jama, 1392m, Hajducki Kukovi - North Velebit
- Slovacka Jama, 1320m, Rozanski Kukovi - North Velebit
- Velebita, 941m, Rozanski Kukovi - North Velebit
- Meduza, 679m, Rozanski Kukovi - North Velebit
- Patkov Gust, 553m, Hajducki Kukovi - North Velebit
- Ledena Jama, 536m, Lomska Duliba - North Velebit
- Ponor na Bunovcu, 534m, Bunovac - South Velebit
- Jama Olimp, 531m, Hajducki Kukovi - North Velebit
- Lubuska Jama, 521m, Hajducki Kukovi - North Velebit