Located near the small Russian town of Orda, 100 miles east of the city of Perm, Ordinskaya Cave is an extensive gypsum cave system with very brittle rock and no flow inside.
Conditions were harsh with temperatures reaching -40C outside, while inside the cave was slightly warmer at -23C and the water itself at a less-than-balmy +5C.
Known as one of the biggest gypsum caves worldwide, as well as the longest one in Russia, the Orda cave is one of the most fascinating European natural wonders. Although it was recently discovered, a few decades ago, its worldwide popularity increased extremely rapidly, as it is one of the few gypsum caves around the globe. Hidden somewhere in the Ural Mountains, a part of the cave is underwater, while the other one can be seen through one of the many entrances available.
As one enters the cave, the main aspect that can be observed is the light gypsum walls with unique, crystal-like shapes. One interesting aspect regarding these natural formations is that they constantly change over time, as gypsum can be easily modified by natural factors such as water and air. Therefore, it was concluded that the Orda cave has a very different aspect than it used to have decades ago. Moreover, the rocks are over 300 million years old and at the time, the Ural Mountains were almost entirely covered by water.
Nowadays, only a part of the 5 km length cave is covered in clean, cold water, which makes it extremely easy for it to be explored by diving enthusiasts.
The water is so calm and crystal clear that it provides people with a visibility of over 46 meters. The temperature of ?23 °C of the cave might be its only disadvantage, as it makes it harder for researchers or divers to spend time exploring this natural wonder.
What makes this place even more interesting is a legend regarding The Lady of the Cave, a spirit embodied in a magical, surreal form that protects the Orda cave. Whether the story is true or false, this Russian place well hidden in the mountains provides visitors with an impressive experience.
So they say, the Lady of the Cave who is very beautiful and charming. The lady is taking care of all the divers entering the cave system – and guides them to an incredible “natural cathedral”.
Over 300 divers have perished in the caves – so she is probably not that good at her job!