Bears’ Cave is located in the western Apuseni Mountains, on the outskirts of Chiscau village in Bihor County, Romania. Discovered in 1975 by a group of amateur speleologists, the cave is named for the 140 cave bear fossils that were discovered here, thought to be left to die when a rock fell and blocked the cave entrance some 15,000 years ago. The cave is also known for its staggering density of stalactite and stalagmite formations.
The temperature in the caves remains at a constant 10°C (50°F) all year round.
Bears' Cave is visited annually by upwards of 200,000 people.
The cave is more than 1.5 km (0.9 mi) long and has galleries on two levels. The upper gallery, which is 488 m (1,601 ft) long, is open to tourists, while the lower gallery, with a length of 521 m (~1,709 ft), is designated for scientific research.
In The Bears’ Gallery (also known as the Bones Gallery) and the Emil Racovita Gallery, visitors can view the skeletal remains of the cave bears (Ursus Spelaeus) that died here, as well as fossils of other animals such as a black goat, cave lion and cave hyena. Some of the skeletons and indeed the walls of the caves still bear the marks of bears’ teeth and claws as they devoured each other and attempted to escape.
The final gallery, The Lights Gallery, contains some of the fascinating stalactites and stalagmites, which resemble wax statues and have been given such names as The Mastodon, The Curtains from The Bears Gallery and The Pagodas.
The access road is the DN-76 (Oradea-Deva). At Sudrigiu, turns off onto DJ-763 from where it is 16 km (10 mi) to Chiscau.