Magura cave is located in the Northwestern part of Bulgaria,on about 180 kmfrom Sofia, on 17 km from tow of Belogradhik, 1.5 km from village of Rabisha and on 35 km southwest from town of Vidin. The cave is well provided for visitorsand is declared a tourist site in 1960; it is with total area of 83 hectares and is located in Rabisha village, Belogradchik municipality, Vidin region.
The cave is carved in the limestone Rabisha hill (461 m altitude). It is one of the largest caves in Bulgaria - total length of the existing galleries is around 2,500 meters. It consists of a main gallery, pointing southeast - northwest and three lateral branches. The halls are enormous in size - length of 200 meters, a width of more than 50 meters and a height over 20 m.
In the longitudinal section of the cave are revealed two levels, on which in many places are preserved river gravel cemented with carbonate material. Soils are located on two floors and marked the stages of the carving of the underground river that created the cave. The gravel derived from rocks that make up the core of Belogradchik fold and differ radically from limestone in which the cave was created.
Rabisha hill, in which the cave is formed, represents a small trap - remnant of the Mesozoic mantle of Belogradchik fold. It is tilted on north-northwest and is spread over 95-115 °. In this trap the widest distributed highly deforested urgon limestone that make up the middle and upper part of the south slope and fully the north slope of Rabisha hill. Three systems of major cracks served as chief water conduit approaches to the development of the Karst process in the limestone.
The three stages in the development of Magura cave are confirmed by its asymmetrical plan. Its side rooms and corridors are developed in southwestern part of Rabisha hill, where the water that created the cave had penetrated.
We assume that the formation of Magura cave started about 15 million years ago. Magura is a typical example of a cave in an alogenic type of Karst.
The cave has several entrances; the largest is 2.80 m high and 6 m wide and is in the southern slope of the hill. The exit of the cave leads to Rabisha Lake – the only tectonic lake in the country with depth up to 40 meters.
It consists of a main gallery, pointing southeast - northwest side and three branches located leftwards. The main halls are: the gallery with paintings, the Triumph Hall, the Bat Gallery, and the Hall of stalactites, the fallen pine, Ceremonial Hall, the Throne Hall, and the Hall of Poplar.
Some of the rooms are of colossal size, as the largest of them is the Triumph Hall, 128 meters long, 58 meters wide, 28 meters high and of total area of 5, 720 sq.m.
The Fantastic underworld with figures of stalactites, stalagmites and stalaktons overwhelm even the biggest human imagination. In Magura cave is found the largest stalagmite in Bulgaria – the Fallen pine, with height over 11 m and wide in its base 6 m. Another natural decorations are sinter ponds and pockets, cave pearls and cave milk (soft chalky colloidal mass, which later hardens).
Archaeological excavations began in 1927 by the scientists Lazar Filkov and Bernie Bonchev continued until 1996. The first traces of human life in the cave dated 12 thousand years ago, but not all the cultural layers have been yet explored. The investigated layers we distinguish several layered settlements with remains of homes, fireplaces, furnaces, tools of stone and bone, pottery. We found 40 skulls of cave bears.
In 1st - 4th century, when the area was part of the Roman Empire, the cave was probably used for overnight of slaves and it is assumeable that they have done sacrifices. This is confirmed by found in a niche in one of the halls a female headless skeleton, on whose hands were gold bracelets in the shape of two serpents, each biting its own tail.
Pearls of the cave are the unique rock paintings filled with bat guano (droppings). They are multi-layered and from different eras - Epipaleolith, neolith, eneolith, the beginning of the Bronze Age.
The Gallery with the unique prehistoric rock paintings is in the left branch of the cave, on 200 meters from the entrance. In this part the constant temperature is higher with 1 degree than the temperature at the rest of galleries, where it is 13 degrees. Here are the colonies of bats and the floor is covered with bat guano (droppings).
The primitive people that inhabited the cave, had made the walls 700 paintings with religious and hunting scenes on the walls, the oldest of which are 7,000 years old. The drawings were made at various times and the ancient have added new images among the earlier scenes, on the places where there was no room. Much of the paintings are from the matriarchy and women are visibly larger and men were painted schematically with bars. In the Sunny room with great accuracy is painted a solar calendar from the late Eneolithic with additives in the Early Bronze Age. Calendar records contain general specifications for 366 days (which is a year according to the Gregorian calendar). It notes the winter and summer solstice, vernal equinox and the summer one and others.
Drawings raise questions that have not yet received a definite answer. On the rocky hillside there are painted several bodies pear-shaped, with very long arms, long necks and diamond-shaped heads. In the top part there is a globular body, resembling a flying object or star. These drawings are from later stage because they are depicted on the hunting scene of a man with a bow chasing deer. The meaning of the image on the rocks can be deciphered; as it is known that primitive people have painted things actually existing. One of the most courageous, but also the most difficult to prove a hypothesis is that to the cave dwellers who painted extraordinary beings happened something and they did reflect this on the rock. They may have met with aliens from outer space, which are then deified. Proponents of this hypothesis explain that the drawing has a clear distinction between the earthly and the heavenly, between what is visible and unseen, and it is clear that these creatures are associated with heaven.
Among the paintings there is a very interesting group of several interrelated scenes. On the first scene a couple man and woman are dancing in typical poses - the woman is larger and raised his hands above his head and the man is a schematic and smaller. It is interesting that between this scene and the next, at the level of heads is painted a mushroom, and on the next scene, the man was already in erotic pose, and there is a halo over his head and his wife’s. The most plausible interpretation is that the primitive had used a mushroom with psychotropic effects which made then fallen into a trance.
Images have analogies with famous pre-historic cultural centers in Italy, the Iberian Peninsula and Asia. Undoubtedly they belong to the Mediterranean environment of prehistoric art. Some of the images are very complex compositions and hint of the diversity of ideas of a rich in forms and ideologies, mythologies and intelligence world. Murals in "Magura" cave determine the nature of a sanctuary during a long period of time - from the Neolithic to the Iron Age.
In one of the halls of the cave is producing the only Bulgarian naturally sparkling wine that is manufactured in the classic French method called Shampanoase and matures in natural conditions identical to those under which the French champagne matures. Each bottle is individually hand-made. The wine is maturing in the bottles for 3 years in Magura cave, in natural climatic conditions where the constant temperature is12 degrees.