A wider area around Barać Caves, extending over 5.19 km², as well as the entire Municipality of Rakovica, abound in natural underground features. Numerous scientists and speleological associations have been conducting extensive research of the Rakovica underground area for many years.
The Centre of Subterranean heritage ‘Speleon’ is a unique project through and through. The concept is based on four scientific foundations – speleological, geological, archaeological and palaeontological. The architecture and artwork have been adapted to this scientific foundation.
The scientific foundation
of the Centre of Subterranean Heritage ‘Speleon’
The permanent exhibition starts with a combination of geology and geomorphology. This introductory part provides information on the conditions and processes of karst relief formation both on the surface and underground, with a focus on caves and pits, and an opportunity to learn about the formation of the relief and speleological sites based on the example of Barać Caves.
This unit focuses on the morphology, speleogenesis and related concepts in the context of Barać Caves. It provides a classification of rock types according to their geological age, presents geomorphological information about the site and an animated presentation of the formation of Barać Caves, as well as some common cave formations (speleothems - stalactites/stalagmites, pisolites - cave pearls, “the cathedral”, etc.).
The archaeological part of the exhibition will focus on the caves and mobile findings discovered around Rakovica. One such finding that stands out is a remainder of the only preserved wooden bow in Croatia, discovered in the Upper Barać Cave, dating from the Middle Ages or the early modern period.
In addition to the medieval findings that witness to the area’s tumultuous past, there have been other findings in the Upper Barać Cave, including some from the Iron Age, such as a bronze bracelet dating back to the 8th century BC.
As well as the exhibition space, the Centre will also include a depot, that will, unlike others of its kind, be open to all visitors, and it will house findings that will be excluded from the permanent exhibition.
The “Upper Barać Cave” interpretational unit focuses on the most interesting palaeontological finding discovered on the site – the bones of Pleistocene carnivorans found in the Upper Barać Cave. This part will contain the reconstructed skeletons of the cave bear and the cave lion, rhinoceros and red deer, followed by their story told using multimedia presentations and other innovative and interactive technology.
Numerous findings have been discovered in the Upper Barać Cave whose age surpasses 50 000 years, such as: remains of the cave bear (lat. Ursus spelaeus), the cave lion (lat. Panthera spelaea), the cave hyena (lat. Crocuta spelaea), the leopard (lat. Panthera pardus), the rhinoceros – wooly or merickhi, the steppe bison/auroch.
The speleology section will contain chart legends and multitouch screens with speleoarcheological information, a presentation on the use of caves throughout the human history and an overview of research conducted in the Upper Barać Cave. The centre will also house a sensory chamber, where visitors will be able to experience cave-like conditions while remaining above ground.
Introduction to the project
The visitors of the Centre of Subterranean Heritage ‘Speleon’ will have the opportunity to learn about the site’s natural characteristics. One of the project’s main objectives is to build awareness of the need to preserve the natural world and the importance of sustainable interaction between people and nature.
General project information
FUND: Competitiveness and Cohesion, code: KK.06.1.2.02
VALUE: HRK 19,908,960.00 + VAT
The website design was partly funded from the EU Competitiveness and Cohesion Fund. The website content is the exclusive responsibility of the Public Institution of Barać Caves.