Amazing caves are hidden in the forest between Lyptsi, Prohody and Ruska Lozova villages in Kharkiv region, only 20 kilometers to the north of Kharkiv.
Like the most group of caves in the region, this one was formed in the process of extracting rock, generally sandstone. Totally there are about 10 such stone quarries of different length and shape in the Kharkiv region. Lyptsi underground labyrinth being the biggest one.
Lyptsi used to be one of two largest areas of sandstone extraction in the region during the 18th–19th century. The old quarries are located at 3-4 meters from the surface and consist of four separate systems with branched structures. The passages create a complex labyrinth where wide halls about 2 meters high are connected by narrow crawlways.
All four caves are located near each other (you can walk from one entrance to another for 5–7 minutes), which serves today as a holiday site that speleologists, rare extreme fans, and bats love. Spending a night in a tent underground is described as an unusual way to experience an exciting adventure. The more so because the inside temperature is 11–13 degrees Celsius the year round making it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
The caves are numbered and got their names from the nearest village. Thus Lyptsi 1 cave has a total length of over 380 meters and Lyptsi 2 represents the largest underground cavity in the Kharkiv region with a total length of about 650 meters. To enter it you need to push yourself through the narrow manhole at the entrance, which is a risky thing.
There is also Lyptsi 3-4, a single cave with two entrances, with a tree-like labyrinth of underground cavities of 450 meters, and Lyptsi 5, the smallest of the whole group of caves. Its length is only 5 meters, and the scientists still differ in hypotheses about its initial purpose.
Although Lyptsi caves present a remarkable unique phenomenon created by joint efforts of man and nature and open for visiting, they still do not top the list of the most popular and frequented sights in the Kharkiv region.
The labyrinths are mostly known among speleologists and biologists of Karazin National University. The scientists regularly do their environmental research and map underground cavities there.
Text: Olena Sokolynska