UTROBA CAVE - TRACIAN CULT COMPLEX
Utrota Cave (the womb cave) is a cult Thracian complex located on the road along Borovitsa River, near the village of Ilinitsa. This is a landmark that when you get there and see it with your own eyes you immediately understand where its name comes from. The cave is a slit in the rocks with the form of a female sexual organ (uterus or womb).
The beginning of the path leading to the cave is located on one of the turns along the road between the villages of Nenkovo and Padartsi.
There is a sign on the road, which is quite old and is hardly visible. In addition, the beginning of the trail passes through a dense forest without any markings. In the rainy months, even the trampled path is washed out and it is quite difficult to navigate in the first few hundred meters. The beginning is rather steep, with shrubs and thorns, fallen trees. After a rain, the climb is almost impossible. I am telling you from experience :)
Once you exit the forest, there is a well-marked rock road to the Utroba Cave. The climb lasts between 1.5 and 2 hours at moderate pace and with breaks. Along the way there are several gazebos where you can rest and a large stone shelter just before the cult complex. From the shelter the view is just amazing - so much greenery it's like a window to another world.
From the shelter you must continue up the rocky mountain following the markings. Almost at the top you will see a metal ladder leading to the opening of the Utroba Cave.
Climbing the ladder in front of you appears a crack in the rock with a height of about 3 meters and a width of 2.5 meters. Initially, the depth of the cave was nearly 16 meters, but the Thracians later dug the cavity and now it reaches 22 meters. At the end of the cave there is a shaped altar (the vulva) that the Thracians used as cult to the Great Mother Goddess. Now people who visit the cave leave fruit and other objects as a sign of gratitude.
An interesting phenomenon, which archaeologists observe when they discovered the Utrota cave, is the light beam in the form of a phallus that penetrates the cave during the winter months and reaches the altar itself. According to the scientists, this symbolized the sacred marriage between the Mother Goddess and the Sun.
Going into the Utroba Cave, you realize you're in a very mystical place. A little above the cave complex itself, there are excavated niches typical of the Thracian tribe, which can be observed almost all over Bulgaria. Scientists are still unsure what they have been used for, which adds even greater mystique to the cave.