Cerovac Caves, Grab
Public Institution Velebit Nature Park
The Cerovac Caves, the largest cave complex in Croatia with the length of exploration channels of over 8000 meters, are situated in the southern part of the Velebit Nature Park. The caves were discovered in 1913 during construction of the Zagreb – Split railway line, and were named after the closest railway station – Cerovac. The Upper (Gornja) Cave is situated above the railway line, at the altitude of 671 m above sea level, while the Lower (Donja) Cave is situated below the railway line, at the altitude of 624 m above sea level. Due to their unique natural beauty and numerous finds from the past, these caves were protected as a geomorphological monument of nature in 1961.
The goal of the "Centre of Excellence, Cerovac Caves" project is sustainable use of natural resources, preservation of the environment and protection of natural heritage. Besides, a new tourist content is offered. Thus, the new Visitor Reception and Information Centre has been built within the project, which is mostly dug into the existing steep terrain and relies on renewable energy sources for heating and cooling. With a minimum intervention in nature, outdoor walkways to the caves have been arranged, featuring interpretation and educational contents. There are 1350 meters of the walkway system arranged in the Upper and Lower Cave. The works included the execution of walking surfaces, steps and pedestrian bridges. All the mentioned elements are adjusted to the morphology inside the caves, and the installed lighting is suited to protect and preserve the caves. One of the greatest challenges was transporting, bringing in and installing the steel bridge to provide the passage over the 16.40 m long span of a cavern. All the transports of the materials and equipment for works in the caves were done by the same railway line the construction of which led to the discovery of the caves in the first place.
The project was co-financed by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund.