inforegio uniunea europeana guverul romaniei ministerul dezvoltarii regionale si administratiei publice primaria mangalia fonduri UE
National Center for Tourism Information and Promotion - Saturn
Movile Cave

     Dobrogea (Dobruja) doesn’t have many caves. From 12000 registered caves in Romania, Dobrogea has less than 1%, the reason being the geological conditions. Near Mangalia is the most famous cave in the world: Movile. The cave was discovered in 1986, in a mine shaft and the cave didn’t show any sign of distinctive characteristics. It only had one gallery, 200 m long, narrow and unspectacular. The first explorers found a small lake with sulphurous thermal water at the end of the path. By exploring the lake with autonomous diver, the members of GESS team found several small rooms, partially flooded, with numerous invertebrate: worms, snails, bugs, scorpions, isopods, leeches, millipedes. All are translucent and have no eyes but equipped with long antennas and other cave-dwelling characteristics. After a close research, zoologists could find 35 new species, unknown until then. Only in Mammoth Cave in America were found so many species! But that cave is 550 km long, not only 200 m. The fauna in Movile cave is unlike any other in Romania’s caves. Some relatives of troglobiont insects live today in the sulphurous lakes in Mangalia. The fauna is meridional, for a warm climate. When and how did the creatures adapt to the relatively hostile environment in the cave remains unknown. Another mystery was the food source for the large underground biologic community since water doesn’t come from above in order to bring leaves and rotted wood or other organic substances for the modest underground creatures. The sulphurous and thermal water in the cave (21 degrees Celsius) flows through closed karst channels, coming from the center of the earth, on a deep fault. It contains small amounts of sulphide and methane. On top of the sulphurous water, the presence of strange frothy foam was observed. The conclusion was that it is a nutritive organic substance and contains numerous organisms, especially small snails and worms. Movile cave hosts an entire underground eco system which doesn’t need solar energy, the only one on Earth. Coming to comprehend the scientific importance of the cave, Mangalia Municipality declared the cave speological reserve. The entrance was sealed with a massive concrete steel door in order to isolate the interior environment by the climatic and biological elements on the surface. The cave can be visited only by specialist, in teams of 2-3 people and only for maximum two hours. The easiest and educative way of “visiting” is watching the documentaries that exist at GESS Mangalia headquarters.