What To Do
Mageli Cavern is one of the largest caves in Armenia; its mapped area is 1.7 km deep but there are many offshoots that have not been entirely explored. The cavern was inhabited as far back as the Chalcolithic period, along with more “recent” finds from the 10-14th centuries. Its remote location and difficult entry made it a good place to hide during invasions.
Because of its depth, the cavern maintains a constant temperature of 14 degrees centigrade (58 degrees Fahrenheit). The main passageway varies from an area just large enough for a person to crawl through to a spacious chamber 10-15 meters in width. There are a few stalactites and stalagmites, but most have been broken by vandals and local children playing in the caves. The cavern has since been closed off and locked and can only be entered with professional guides.
Mageli has a unique underground eco-system, home to thousands of bats. The only mammal capable of true flight, bats are an important part of Armenia's ecology, a keystone species that is vital to the stability of the eco-system and crop production in the country. One of Armenia's natural spectacles appears each summer evening, as the cave's nesting bats emerge in a fluttering cloud that twists and turns in the evening air.
The cavern is not fully mapped and is quite dangerous in spots with sudden drops and holes. Only attempt exploration with an experienced, professional guide.