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Macocha

07.08.2018
Macocha
If you are afraid of heights, certainly avoid looking down. However, if you curiosity is stronger than your fear, make sure to be standing firmly with your feet on the ground.

Because you will be looking into the abyss named Macocha
[say: matsokhah].

The abyss is located in a Protected Nature Reserve of Moravský Kras (Karst), almost 40 kilometers NE of Brno, the country’s second largest city.

How did the abyss get its name? According to a legend, its name is based on a true story, where a certain stepmother (in Czech “macecha”) threw her stepson into the abyss. Luckily, the boy was saved, but the abyss eventually became mortally fateful to the stepmother.

Macocha was formed when the ceiling of a large underground cave collapsed. It is part of a complex known as Amatérská Jeskyně (Amateurs Cave), which is the longest system of caves in the Czech Republic.

Thanks to the fact that sunlight hits the bottom of the abyss, the abyss belongs to a category of caves called “light hole”, in which Macocha with its depth of 138.7 meters is the deepest abyss in Central Europe.

The construction of an upper and lower bridge has made Macocha accessible to tourists.  On the bottom flows a river named Punkva [say: poonkvah] that supplies water to two small lakes:  while Horní (Upper) Jezírko brings water to the ravine, is about
13 meters deep and is visible from the top of the abyss, Dolní (Lower) Jezírko is situated on the outflux from the ravine, is over
49 meters deep and is hidden between the abyss’ rocky walls.  It is known that Dolní Jezírko conceals more underground caves, which are being explored by speleologists – so far, an area of about 190 meters of the extended abyss has been explored.

The bottom of the abyss has a specific microclimate, which is favorable to the rarest plant of the primrose variety in Moravský Kras:  Kruhatka Matthioli (Cortusa Matthioli). This herb is a survivor of the end of the last Ice Age.  It was discovered during an exploration tour at the beginning of the 20th century. The bottom of Macocha and the adjacent rock walls are the sole localities where this cold climate loving plant has survived millenniums. Hence, if you want to see Kruhatka in Macocha, look from the bottom of the abyss at the steep rock wall in the NW direction.

On your way to the upper bridge, you may use one of the environmentally friendliest means of transportation – the cable car. The trip upwards is breathtaking, as the height of the abyss is overwhelming.

Have you ever heard of a cosmic planet registered as 1998 YJ12? What could it possibly have in common with the abyss? The answers is – the name “Macocha”. This little planet which travels between Mars and Jupiter got its name after the abyss.

The steep rock walls and the wooded edges of the Macocha Abyss attract many adventure-seeking artists like writers, poets, and painters. Let yourself be inspired to visiting this unique and mysterious place in southern Moravia, too.