Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A short trip in the "underworld"..... :-)

The "Kubacher Kristallhöhle"  
("Crystal Cave of Kubach")......Geopark.

view from the cave entrance........it was a beautiful & sunny sunday afternoon :-))


Last weekend i was once again in the mood for some adventure. The weather on sunday was just perfect for some outdoor adventure and this time around i will be taking you on a short trip down under.......yes, deep down below, ....into the belly of the earth :-)).
I was at a Geopark with a special crystal cave. Geoparks are areas where tourists and visitors can experience the cultural heritage of a region without polluting the environment or damaging nature. The Geopark Westerwald-Lahn-Taunus is located in Limburg-Weilburg. This is approximately 65 kilometers away from Frankfurt city. One spectacular tourist attraction here is the crystal cave in Kubach.

chillaxing and waiting for the tour to begin :-))

The Kubacher Kristallhöhle like it is known in german(Crystal Cave of Kubach) is apparently the only one of its kind in Germany. It was discovered in the 19th century and there is an interesting story to its discovery.


The story goes.......
"In 1881 miners looking for phosphorite stumbled by chance on an underground cave full of stalagtites and stalagmites that was so big, apparently the local church was said to have fitted in it.  But as this was not the mineral that they were looking for, the entrance was filled in and the cave’s location forgotten. Except that not only did the miners tell other local people and even the press about the cave, they allegedly brought some of the stalagtites back to the surface that are now in a local museum. Over the years the story was passed on about the cave, until in 1973 holes were bored in the area that it was believed to be located in. Whilst those boreholes did not find the cave being sought after, it did find one with rare crystals on the wall. In the years that followed a pathway down to the cave was excavated and since 1981 visitors have been able to take tours around it" (source: allthingsgerman.net).
But the search for the big underground cave full of stalagtites and stalagmites still goes on til today.

entrance to geological open air museum

During the spring/summer season there are guided tours of about 45 minutes, allowing the visitors a thrilling experience. In front of the entrance building are numerous interesting huge rocks which form a geological open air museum, with many of the stones coming from the local area. There are basalt pillars, sandstones, etc. This exhibition has no direct connection with the cave but it is definitely interesting for everyone interested in geology.

geological museum with its basalt pillars, sandstones, etc.

To kill time before taking the tour which is done in groups, i made a quick visit to the cave museum, which is in the upper level of the entrance building. Here one can see more about how the cave was discovered but also about the mining that used to take place in the area.

in the cave museum

crystals on display in museum

mining equipments

Going down into the cave is quite an exciting and thrilling experience but hey one more thing before the tour. If you are faint-hearted or afraid of the dark then you better wait outside :-)) You can get a cup of coffee from the restaurant or hang around the museum upstairs until the tour is over :-))

in the helmet room to pick up my head gear :-)))

now i am ready to face the "underworld" :-)))

 Also there is a warning sign from the management which says this tour is not an experience for everyone. If you have a medical condition which doesn´t favour physical stress like say, you have once suffered a heart attack or you are on nitrus-based medication.....then this tour is definately not for you. This cave goes down 70 meters and there are 456 steps to face going down and obviously it is necessary to climb them on the way back. So with that said,  are you ready???  My brave hearts :-)) Let´s go....here comes the stairway into the "underworld" :-)

the entrance tunnel.....stairway into the "underworld" :-)........can you see the crystals on the walls??

379 steps to go til the first chamber :-))

the first chamber

The cave has two main chambers. The temperature in the cave is about 9°C and there is an air moisture of about 85%.  The cave has extraordinary and strange formations on its walls. The walls are covered by cave coral, sometimes spottet with other minerals. In one of the chambers is the 50cm borehole and the small group of stalagmites which was discovered first and is actually the only dripstone formation in the cave. In the other chamber is a narrow passage in the middle of the cave, with even more beautiful cave coral. Also there is a cave lake in one of the chambers and above the lake is a fascinating peep-hole/window formation. This window is called "the africa window" due to it´s similarity to the shape of the african continent. I found this quite interesting......africa in the "underworld" :-))))

arrival in the first chamber with the cave lake behind me.......

"the africa window".....above the lake is this fascinating peep-hole/window formation

a bore hole with a diameter of 60cm was used to lower the cavers into the discovered cave chambers

small stalagmites

The walls are covered by cave coral, somtimes spottet with other minerals

cave coral illuminated by special light effects

descending into the second and last chamber.

a very narrow passage in the middle of the cave, with even more beautiful cave coral

The deepest point of the tour is about 70m below the surface and the cave is almost 30m high at this point. This makes this chamber the highest chamber of any show cave in Germany. The tour was quite an experience. It was both exciting and thrilling especially the light effects used to highlight the tour. It felt like i was in one of the hollywood underworld movies :-)) It was a great feeling sharing this underground experience with my hubby and son. I was a little worried if my 4 year old son would feel comfortable going that far down into the earth.....to my pleasant surprise he was so tough, he even tackled the 456 steps going down and up without breaking a sweat or asking to be carried. Surprise surprise, i was the one instead who needed a short break when climbing back to the surface......and my boy was really amused he made it to the top before his mama....Lol. It was a real fun day.

amazing to see plant life that deep below.....this plant uses the artificial light to grow......amazing

yes it does get quite narrow at the end......:-))

the way out......

climbing back to the surface.....what a beautiful sight behind me...:-))

the "africa window" from the other side on my way up

a short break to catch my breathe........lol

my boys on their way out...yes they made it back before me :-))

I hope you all did enjoy our journey into the "underworld".  If you feel like asking questions dont hesistate to leave a comment.

For our female readers and friends, we have created a ladies corner "Meet and Chat" on facebook. Click here to read more about this. Stay cool as always until we meet again.

From "Deutschland" with luv


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