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The year 2021 has been declared the International Year of Caves and Karst. Therefore, the University of Wrocław has planned a number of actions. We are preparing a special website devoted to research on caves, scientists organize research teams and projects, and if the situation allows – also actions for schools and residents of Lower Silesia and the whole of Poland.

The University of Wrocław is one of the most important centers in Central Europe dealing with cave research.

– Caves in the Sudetes and in Kraków- Częstochowa Jura were still explored by scientists from Koeniglische Universitaet zu Breslau in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. – says professor Krzysztof Stefaniak, paleozoologist from the University of Wrocław. Our Polish researchers from our university also joined this research topic after 1945. It’s not only about geological research. Interdisciplinary teams of combined forces of geologists, geographers, palaeontologists, but also biologists and archaeologists are involved in the project.

In 1966, the spectacular discovery of the Bear Cave in Kletno started a new stage of cave exploration in Lower Silesia. From the very beginning, the research was conducted under the aegis of the University of Wrocław, in cooperation with universities in Wrocław and other centers in the country and abroad. Next year we will celebrate the 55th anniversary of the discovery of the Bear Cave.

– And there is still a lot to discover and show – together with the cave owners, we plan to launch new attractions for visitors next year. We want to explain why, thanks to the specific microclimate of the caves, these are unique places, e.g. for archaeological or palaeontological discoveries. – says prof. Stefaniak.

The University of Wrocław managed to convince the caretakers of Lower Silesian caves that are available to tourists: the Bear Cave and the Radochowska Cave to work together in the next year’s program. Scientists will involve speleologists and other organizations involved in the protection and study of karst in the joint work. These works will be conducted on a large scale – international teams of scientists from Poland, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and other countries will be established.

– The pandemic continues but we will use this time to the fullest. We will devote the first months of 2021 to wide-ranging educational and popularizing campaigns online. We will tell Poles what we know about caves, we will introduce them to the mysterious and dark world known mainly to bats. We will try to increase their appetite for knowledge, says professor Stefaniak. When we deal with the coronavirus – in the second part of the year – we will be able to show these miracles to children and adults and reveal all our cards – describes the scientist from Wrocław.

When the pandemic situation allows, scientists will invite cave enthusiasts to the Sudetes or to the Kraków-Wieluń Jura to meetings with sightseeing, field conferences, and research and didactic camps. All of this is not only for adults and researchers, but also for children and schools.

– We will invite you to the caves – first virtually and then in real life from the beginning of 2021 – scientists from the University of Wrocław announce.

Published by: Agata Sałamaj

4 Jan 2021

last modification: 4 Jan 2021