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Ponor Cave

Known as the most imposing and splendid lime formations in Romania, Cetatile Ponorului (Fortress of Ponor) lie in the Apuseni Mountains, more specific, in the Northern part of the Bihor Mountains, almost 10-15 km away from Pietroasa commune, Padis area.

CavePonor Cave

Known as the most imposing and splendid lime formations in Romania, Cetatile Ponorului (Fortress of Ponor) lie in the Apuseni Mountains, more specific, in the Northern part of the Bihor Mountains, almost 10-15 km away from Pietroasa commune, Padis area.
The touristic area of Padis consists of Cetatile Ponorului basin that has an area of 36 square kilometers (including Galbenei Gorge and The Flowers’ Glade) in the South-Western part and of Somes Gorges, Varasoaia Glade and Caciulata Glade in the Northern part.

Of all these cavities found in Europe, the ones which fall in this category of underground glaciers and the ones which deserve to be mentioned are the Eisriesenwelt Cave in the Austrian Alps (ice formations which occupy an area of 30000 m2) and the Dobsina Cave in Slovakia (the volume of the ice is roughly 145000 m3).

The discovery of the Scarisoara Ice Cave could not be dated. The inhabitants of the land have known about the glacier for a long time.

Cetatile Ponorului were declared a natural reservation in 1952 and soon after that they became a natural monument, belonging to the Romanian Academy. These fortresses are built of three large circles of stone (dolines), assembled in an afforested depression. The circles of stone are 300 meters deep and more than 1 km in diameter.

The name of Cetatile Ponorului (Ponor Fortesses), as a matter of fact, comes from what it may be called the surface sector of this karst phenomenon.
The access way starts with a forest road which leads to the first circle (Doline 1) by passing a bump field which is parallel to Cetatilor Valley. The lateral Western wall (more than 150 meters high) presents a portal whose altitude is higher than 70 meters.