! Visiting caves during the cold season is prohibited. Three species of bats winter in them, two of which are listed in the International Red Book. If you wake them up in the winter - the mice will die of hunger! Appreciate our nature!
In the Kharkiv region there are no karst soils, so all the cave objects here are man-made. The most famous, large and conveniently located of them - the caves near the village of Liptsy.
Liptsy caves are in fact old stone quarries. Here in the XVIII – XIX centuries, in the time of Catherine II, sandstone was mined. According to locals, that time the quarries were much bigger. The entrances were on both sides of the beam, and the height of the arches was taller than the adult person. After the Second World War, local people found a box of grenades, preserved from the wartime and undermined part of the entrances to the caves. There is a legend that this happened after a man (probably a child) got lost in the caves.
The soil in the quarries is very soft, and their vaults are not strengthened. That’s why the height of the caves gradually decreases, and many transitions between rooms are already filled. Nowadays, the state of the caves is suitable for visiting only thanking to the support from enthusiasts - cavers, local historians, tourists, biologists.
What you will find on the spot:
Probably, during active mining of sandstone, the caves were a single system of chambers of equal height. Now, due to the uneven subsidence of the soil, part of the transitions between the chambers are filled up, and some are maintained by speleologists in a minimally passable state. In total, there are 5 separate entrances to the caves:
Liptsy-1: the total area of 886 sq. m., the length of the passages is 380 m. There is a complex system of passages in this cave with spacious “rooms” that are connected by the narrow manholes.
Liptsy-2: the longest cave - total length of the galleries is 650 m. It is the largest underground cavity of the Kharkiv region. In the distant halls traces of tools have been preserved since the days of active stone mining. The first and the second cave are connected with a narrow hole which can be passed only by crawling.
Liptsy 3 and 4 - two entrances to one tree-like system with a total length of 450 m. The distance between the entrances is about 30 m.
Liptsy-5 is not even a cave at all; it is a dead-end course 5 meters long. It is not known whether it was a test run, which was then abandoned, or it was one of those blown-up passes.
Currently (Last check in 2018) there are three entrances are available to the lyptsyvski caves:
1. 50.2049964, 36.3824755
2. 50.2040487, 36.3794258
3. 50.20331, 36.37784
The Liptsy caves have a very stable microclimate - the temperature at any time of the year varies between 11 and 13 degrees Celsius, constant high humidity, no drafts. So those caves are the perfect place for wintering bats. In the summer they also fly to the caves to sleep during the day.
Regular studies of bats are provided by students and scholars of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, volunteers and young enthusiasts from the Kharkiv Zoo.
According to their calculations in the cave system about 1000 individuals of three types of bats overwinter: pond snares, brown stubs and water slits. The first two species are listed in the Red Book.
Bats start wintering at the end of the summer, but in September they often continue to actively fly and hunt. In the period from October to May they hibernate deeply. During this period the heartbeat and breathing are greatly reduced, and the stored energy is consumed very economically. This allows them to survive the hungry winter. The bat awakened during hibernation cannot find enough insects to feed and is killed by starvation or freezes if it flies out of the cave.
Remember that in the summer bats eat a huge number of insect pests and unpleasant creatures such as mosquitoes. They are not dangerous to humans, they feed only on insects, and a decrease in their number will bring great harm to agriculture.
How to get there!?
From Kharkov: to the north by the Sumskaya street and further along the Belgorod highway, at the big junction turn right on the round Kharkiv road and drive straight to the Liptsy turnaround (first turn after the Kharkiv river, opposite the big script “Kharkov”, there is a pointer), then to the north to Liptsy. In the village it’s better to use the GPS.
From other cities: drive the round Kharkiv road in north direction not passing into the Kharkiv. On the very north point turn to the road to Lyptsy according to the pointer.
By public transport:
On the subway to the station Heroiv Pratsi. From the station to the exit backwards, than to the left and then to the right. After the subway exit go straight to the end of the market, then turn left - to the bus station. There take bus No659 Kharkiv-Liptsy to the stop Liptsy-Center. Travel time is approximately 40 minutes. Next, it is better to use GPS or ask for help from locals, because the entrances are in the ravine and you need to get to them very accurately.
The entrances themselves are very narrow, similar to a large hole. To reach the cave you will have to crawl. But the interior is quite spacious. It is better to join a group of tourists or cavers because the system of underground tunnels is quite complicated and it is easy to get lost in it. It is also desirable to have dirty or protective clothing that completely covers the arms and legs - it is cool in the caves, and the manholes are narrow, you will definitely get dirty and can get scratches. Be sure to bring a flashlight and a compass to navigate inside the caves. But the best protection is to take an experienced caver with you :)
Translation by: Anna Chernyshova