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  • Jerome Kocher

50. Natural Wonders of Kosovo

Spelunking is the last thing I would do. But in Kosovo there are two well known caves with stalagmites (upward growing mounds) and stalactites (hanging from above). The caves have a groomed path, sometimes via metal stairs for changes in elevation, but still wet and precarious.

The first series of caves is the source of the White Drin River in the north near Peja. The waters literally come out of the mountain, not down the mountain. These caves were carved out millions of years ago while the current water streams out further below.

The source of the river first becomes a waterfall before cascading down a narrow canyon.

Further above Peja going into the Albanian Alps is a narrow gorge called the Rugova Valley. If you buy drinking water anywhere, even in the south, it most likely will be branded with the Rugova trademark. The mountain gorge itself is laced with long, steep and slender waterfalls. In Rugova itself the water is refreshing to the taste but ice cold to the touch.

Further south near Prishtina a different type of cave was discovered. Still obviously wet with erosion but not the source of a river, they call it the Marble Cave. Before I entered I shook the hand of one of the attendants and was shocked by how cold it was. Now this is obviously a great summer attraction to beat the heat. School children as well as adults come. It has some areas spacious enough to have intimate musical events. This cave was friendlier to walk through. Although less dramatic in its history as the Peja cave, the Marble Cave‘s features were more accessible, even given nicknames. One set of hanging stalactites was called the “keyboard” because if you tapped the individual forms they gave off a ringing tone, I assume because they were hollow. You could even play a tune. It was perfect for me, because no one could accuse me of being ‘out of tune.’

Some of these features were the last thing I expected to see or even do in Kosovo. In a country that most people don’t even know where it is, it has hidden gems even more unknown.

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