Devil’s Throat Cave

The scary road to Devil’s Throat Cave, an entrance to the underworld

Located in the Smolyan Province of Bulgaria, Devil’s Throat Cave (Dyavolsko garlo Cave) is the name of a spectacular cave resembling a devil's head with a waterfall rushing down its throat. Oncoming traffic is a nightmare. The road is cut into the rocky side of the gorge.

Tucked away in the southern part of the country, near its border with Greece, the road to the cave (considered an entrance to the underworld) is totally paved. It’s 9.2km (5.71 miles) long starting at Road 197. The road creeps among the rocks and the sky remains bright as a stripe. The tiny road is climbing and weaving, entering the rocks through a tunnel at times with cliffs either side of the road. To drive this narrow, winding road requires considerable attention and tolerance, since cars traveling in opposite directions can’t pass each other.

Set high in the Rhodope Mountains, the road is very challenging due its curves and narrowness. It follows the Trigradska river through the Trigrad Gorge. Rocky shores rise like vertical walls, over a hundred meters high and their upper opening is no more than 20-30 m. The gorge is a phenomenal natural karst formation with 250- meters high walls on both sides of the road. According to legend, the route was used by Orpheus - the legendary Thracian musician and poet - to reach the Hades Underworld, where he sought to retrieve his beloved Eurydice.

To drive the road without stopping will take most people between 20 and 30 minutes. Devil’s Throat is famous with the 42 meters high underground waterfall inside it and one of the most amazing caves in the country. Located north of the village Trigrad, beneath towering marble cliffs cut over millions of years by the Trigrad River, the impressive gorge is a popular tourist destination. It’s never too hot here is summer because of the elevation – about 1200 meters above sea level. In winter sometimes there is heavy snow cover, but in general the area is accessible and visited all the year round, with peak tourist season in July and August.

 

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