Akhshtyrskaya Cave, Sochi – review
Is it real to have time for half a day to test the terrible suspension bridge, to see relict forest and daredevils in the Skypark, to visit Akhshtyrsk cave and the Grotto of the icon of Our Lady of Akhtyr, to descend from a 200-meter rock and go to the trout farm? Yes!
Good time to you all!
Here is a story about our recent mini-vacation, during which we saw a lot of interesting things and received an unforgettable experience.
The story is relevant to those who are resting (or living) in the resort town of Sochi, and who are interested in the beauty of nature, historical sites, and are not alien to the thrill of the experience. Anyone who starts from Adler or Hostin Sochi, will have time to fit into the whole route from 11-12 hours of the day to 17.00. Who is in the center of Sochi or Lazarevsky area – will spend more time.
Well, let me begin, perhaps, with how to get to the cave. There are three variants:
1) You have to go by bus 131 that goes from Adler railway station to the village of Galitsyno, you have to go out after the stop in the village of Kazachy Brod, the stop for trout, and after it – stop on demand (the drivers know it, you should only say in Kazachy Brod, that you have to stop at the turn to the cave). By the way, the next stop after it is the famous Skypark.
2) to take a cab to the same turn from Adler’s side which is closer to the center of Sochi, the price will be not more than 500 rubles in the low season (we took this variant, but here you have to be very careful choosing a cab, and we had to wait for about half an hour – not many drivers want to get into the middle of nowhere).
3) Try to get by any bus going to Krasnaya Polyana (105, 105c, 135) to “Trout Farm” and take our route, but in the opposite direction – but it will mean climbing a rock (uphill) and not many people will like it. Although many are doing so. Let our scheme is drawn in PoverPointe sloppily – but who is interested, he will understand.
So, after taking a cab to the turn into the forest (on the route of the 131 bus) we followed the sign – it’s impossible to miss it from the road. These 500 meters of relict forest were wonderful, my imagination pictured how tens of thousands of years ago primitive people wandered here in search of food. The beauty was extraordinary!
It takes about 5-6 minutes of leisurely hiking downhill and we’re at our destination! We see a fairly large flat area with a house, which is the ticket office for the entrance to the cave. There are also several stands telling about the history of this cave and just about nature.
The stern man at the cashier reminds visitors to buy tickets to enter the cave. At the end of 2020 the price of the question is 200 rubles for an adult and 100 rubles for a child from 5 to 14 years old. Often there is an opinion on the Internet that the price is overestimated, but it did not seem so to me. Still “historical museum”. The age of children is not strictly checked, 6-7 year olds may well skip for free. Tickets, such as strict forms, the cashier gives out. So everything is more or less official.
The platform at the ticket office is also viewing platform, with a wonderful view of the Akhshtyrsky gorge. But don’t hurry to spend all frames of your films on this site, because the next site (near the entrance to the cave) will be even more interesting!
From both viewing platforms you have a great view on the world famous Skypark – you can perfectly see the bridge and the daredevils jumping from it, and other attractions. And also beautiful Akhshtyrskoye gorge, Mzymta river, old and new roads to the Glade.
Well, we are going back to the Cave. I will not bore you with well-known facts, there are lots of descriptions of the cave on the Internet, and before you enter it there are information boards and a stand with the dates of the cultural layers excavated in it. I will only say that the study of it began back in 1937. And they found a lot of interesting things.
The main thing to remember before visiting the cave – it is cool, damp, dark and slippery there! So don’t forget to take off your high heels, put on sneakers, a sweater, a flashlight (if you don’t have a cell phone), and be careful when exploring the Cave.
If you are not curious, if you are cold and have nothing to discuss with your companions about the life of Neanderthals – then the inspection of the cave will take 7 minutes at most. If you are mentally and physically prepared, then in the off-season (when you are alone in the cave, without other tourists) you can easily spend 20-30 minutes exploring the crevices, finding petroglyphs of ancient people and trying to drive a fist into the wall “a coin for memory”.
In general, having received a lot of impressions, we went down – to a terrible suspension bridge across Mzymta river, which was almost invisible from a height of almost 200 meters (from the cave to the river). The way turned out to be very fascinating, but slippery and difficult. And eerily beautiful.
After about 5-7 minutes downhill try not to miss the turn to the Grotto of the Icon of Akhtyrsk Mother of God. Please note – not Akhshtyrskaya (as the cave), but Akhtyrsky (from the name of the small town Akhtyrka, in Kharkov province, where in due time and was found the icon). If you brought candles with you, this is the place to light them by the icon.
After praying to the Mother of God and admiring the beauty, we continue our way down. Before the bridge is another 10 minutes of climbing, which is not difficult if your sneakers do not slip and you carefully step over the rocky areas.
At the end of the descent, right near the five-story building, you step onto the bridge. Cross raging Mzymta, get your portion of adrenaline, and as a reward – wonderful views from the other side of the river. If you look closely, from there you can also see the Cave, and even the Skypark jumpers.
I know from articles in the Internet, that many people combine our route with visit to the Trout Farm, and I think that is very correct. It turns out a little rest (both mentally and physically) after hiking. We were in Trout farm a couple of years before the Olympics, so we did not repeat. And we limited ourselves to look on sale of live fish in stores, which are near an entrance in a farm.
Akhshtyrskaya Cave is located on the territory of Sochi resort and is recognized as one of the most significant natural attractions in Russia. It is attractive for tourists as an object rich in historical heritage. For several eras it was a natural place of residence of ancient people. Cave paintings and many other evidences of archaeological value have been preserved
On the way to the cave, picturesque views of the Mzymta River, mountains, canyon and cliffs open up from various viewing platforms.
To get inside the cave, where there are halls, which are about 10 meters high, you need to walk down a narrow corridor.
There are special lighting for interesting places, the passages are equipped with steps.
Only 10% of all the caves found were the real dwelling of the ancient people. Even fewer caves where artifacts related to the culture of life of Neanderthals were found. This is a truly unique and very rare place. That is why the Akhshtyr cave has such value both for scientists and tourists.
The cave got its name, just like the Akhshtyr Gorge and the whole massif around it, after the name of the village, which is situated nearby – the village Akhshtyr. The cave was discovered in 1903, but only in 1936 it was opened by archaeologists for research. Many different scientists and archaeologists, until 1978, conducted excavations in the place.
Several layers up to five meters thick were discovered, all of which belonged to different eras. From the Middle Paleolithic period, about 70 thousand years ago, to the Middle Ages A.D. Scientists note the fact that a break of about 20 thousand years was found in the strata, when people left the cave. Then signs of ancient people who belonged already to the Stone Age were found here.
When the excavations were conducted, tourists had no opportunity to get inside. Nowadays Akhshtyrka cave is an interesting and informative historical site. It is a unique natural site and an object of primitive architecture.
Several rock drawings and tools of primitive people found here – stone tools, spear-heads, cutting and chopping instruments, chipping and other materials telling about the life of ancient people attract attention.
Over the years of excavation, scientists have found a total of about 6,000 bones. Most of them belong to animals, particularly the cave bear. Many discoveries proving changes in the flora and fauna around the Akhshtyrskaya cave were made.
This place is now known all over the world and is ideal for a tourist route. Nearby there are many picturesque places. Nearby there is another depression in the rock, similar to a grotto. Inside it is installed Akhtyrsk icon of the Mother of God. You can go in, light candles and put them next to the icon.
To Akhshtyrskaya cave there is a path that begins from the village of Kazachy Brod and goes over a small old wooden suspension bridge over the river Mzymta. Then along a hiking trail uphill. The path may seem extreme to some, but the opening scenic views and interesting places cannot be compared with anything else.
Working hours and entrance price Akhshtyrska Cave in 2022
Akhshtyr cave is open for tours all year round. Mode of operation: from 10:00 to 18:00.
Excursion from Sochi with a guide has several advantages. It is possible to lay an interesting route and in one day to visit several sites of historical value.
The price should be checked with travel agencies/private guides. It will be a little more expensive, but the amount of lively and useful information, which owns the guides or tour guides, will give a lot of unforgettable emotions.
How to get to Akhshtyrska Cave
Akhshtyrska Cave is located on the road between Adler and Krasnaya Polyana, near the Skypark and the Trout Farm.
By public transport
By bus go to the bus stop “Trout Farm”:
- № 105 bus on the route Bus Station (Sochi) – Rosa Khutor (Krasnaya Polyana);
- № 105с bus, similar to the route 105, but on the way does not stop in Khosta and Kudepsta. This route is shorter and faster. The stop is the same;
- No. 135 bus on the route Train Station “Olympic Park” – Rosa Khutor (Krasnaya Polyana). The same stop – “Trout Farm.
You can easily order a cab in Sochi and Adler. From the center of Sochi to the village of Kazachy Brod the cost will be approximately 800-1300 rubles. From Adler – 250-500 rubles. Prices are better to clarify with the operator, as the price depends on the exact address of the beginning of the route.
With guides from Sochi, ordering a tour by sightseeing bus.
By own car or using carsharing.
The route from Sochi goes through Adler along the highway that leads to Krasnaya Polyana. You have to drive until the turn to the village of Cossack’s ford. Take the road to the village and go all the way through the village. In a few meters behind the village you will see a big banner and a sign for the Akhshtyrskaya Cave. You should drive about 500 meters on an unpaved road.