One of the more mysterious caves in Bulgaria is undoubtedly the Devil’s Throat cave near Trigrad. According to scientists, the cave was formed about 175 thousand years ago, and today it attracts tourists from all over the world with its curious name, its mysterious, bizarre beauty, and with the dozens of legends related to the rock formation. Undoubtedly the most famous of them recounts the tale of the Thracian harp virtuoso Orpheus and his beloved Eurydice. According to the legend, the musician fell in love with the nymph Eurydice. They got married, but soon after the wedding the bride was bitten by a poisonous snake and died.
Orpheus’ grief was great, and all nature felt his sadness. The singer decided to look for his beloved in the underground kingdom of Hades, the Greek god. Orpheus reached the sacred river Styx by descending through the Devil’s Throat cave. When Orpheus met Hades, he enchanted him with his magical harp, so the god of the underworld allowed him to take Eurydice back to the world of the living.
However, as a final test of Orpheus’ love towards his bride, Hades designed a trap. The musician can take his wife back to the living world, but while they are still in the underworld, he mustn’t take a single look at Eurydice. Just as the two were nearing the exit, or the Devil’s Throat cave exit, concern that his beloved hadn’t followed washed over poor Orpheus, and he dared to take a look back, only to see his beloved standing there horrified at his actions. Because of his impatience and lack of faith in the gods, the nymph had to return again to the world of the dead – back to the depths of the Devil’s Throat.
The Thracians believed that the cave was a portal to the afterlife, and therefore threw the bodies of deceased rulers and prominent warriors into it to ensure their immortality.
Healing spring and the face of the Virgin Mary cure diseases
The cave itself, in addition to legends, also hides real secrets. So far no one has been able to find out where the waters of the underground river that flows through it actually go. A “syphon” swallows everything from the river and dozens of experiments and research attempts have ended in failure. One of those included throwing tons of marked lumber into the mouth of the cave that never came out anywhere near Devil’s Throat.
The cave itself is so big that it can fit the Alexander Nevsky temple-monument in Sofia. Unlike years ago, Devil’s Throat is now a socialised and safe place to explore, so don’t miss out on immersing yourself in the world of legends and darkness within. You can walk along the permitted 350 metres of its total 1.5 km length. During this time, you will see a bizarre natural image on the wall of the cave – a full-length figure of a man in an antique style, better known as the “devil’s head”. In the cave there is also a small spring with healing water, where the face of the Mother of God Virgin Mary can be recognized, and according to a legend, the water from the spring fulfils even the most intimate wishes. According to another legend, the spring was formed precisely from the tears of the inconsolable Orpheus, who lost his beloved Eurydice because of his impatience.
The Rumbling Hall, which you will pass through if you visit the Devil’s Throat, is the second largest cave hall in Bulgaria. It was formed by the collapse of the Trigradska River into the cave. There is a cascade of 18 waterfalls, the largest of which is 42 meters and is the highest underground waterfall in the Balkan peninsula. The cave is also famous for the fact that it is home to the largest colony of bats in the Balkans.