Vrelo Cave positioned in the Matka Canyon, near Skopje, Macedonia is recognized as one of the deepest underwater cave on Earth.
Cave’s access is hidden across the Matka Canyon, about 1.5 kilometres from the Matka Dam. A canyon is formed because of it lake covering about 5,000 ha. Vrelo Cave has many stalactites including a huge one in the center of the cave, known as the Pine Cone, because of its shape. Two lakes can be found by the end of the cave, one bigger than the other. The tiny lake is formed just like a true eight. It really is 8 meters across at its widest part, and both its length and depth are 15 meters. The other lake is 35 meters long, 15 meters wide, and 15-18 meters deep.
Vrelo, has been explored for a number of times. Its horizontal size is 450 meters and 98 meters in vertical, bottom is not reached yet. Corresponding to speleologists’ assessments, Vrelo’s depth is 330m, being the deepest underwater cave on Earth, exceeds the Bushman Hole in South Africa, which keeps the Guinness Record with 282 meters. Some have put their estimations of Vrelo’s depth at over 500 meters.
In 2007, after being explored by diver Mark Vandermeulen, the cave was placed 77th on the deepest underwater caves rankings. Vandermeulen was also part of the year’s diving team. Vrelo is rated on 14th on the rankings of the deepest caves explored by humans, and some speculate it could be underestimated.
In 2010, a team led by Italian diver Luigi Casati was decided to define the depth of Vrelo. Casati managed to reach 212 meters in depth, before turning around, but the bottom was not found.
On Sept 1, polish diver Krzysztof Starnawski broke the underwater cave diving record, 2016. He managed to reach more than 212 meters in depth, after 5 hours of diving.
The cave offers 1,000 herb species, 20% which are endemic, as well as various butterfly kinds not found somewhere else in European countries. The Matka Canyon is home to vultures also, and bald eagles, that are protected to preserve them from extinction.
Vrelo Cave placed on the right side of the Treska River, was listed among the top 77 natural sites on Earth in the New Seven World Wonders of Nature project.