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The partition of Poland caused increase in visits to the Ojcow caves as they were the most interesting caves available to the people in one of the partitioned provinces. The visits were so intense that special guides led people in the caves already in the first decade of the l9th century, which places them among the first cave guides in the world. The traffic of visitors was so intense that several years later the cave formations were covered with sooth from candles and torches. This period witnessed a development of cave tourism also in other parts of Poland. The fashion for caves is attested by the fact that balls used to be organized in caves. The use of ropes for passing vertical fragments of caves had to be already known as a bell-like cave shaft 33 m deep was bottomed in 1845.

Also at the beginning of the century began tourist visits to the caves in the Tatra, our most interesting cave region, the only one with alpine karst and deep

A cave in Podolia - woodcut from 1841. A cave in Podolia. Woodcut from 1841. Author unknown.
caves, the region that gave rise to the use of alpinistic techniques underground in Poland. In 1810s a cave with underground stream was explored by wading up to the belt in cold water. Since the beginning of the l9th century visits to some caves in the Tatra became so popular that paths were built to their entrances. The traffic was so intense that an appeal for stopping the use of torches in caves was made in 1887.

Scientific study

At the end of l8th century caves were already studied by naturalists. Geologist S. Staszic in 1789 studied the caves in Ojcow, and in 1799 he visited caves in the present Slovakia and Hungary, including Demenovska Ladova and Baradla; he described his visits in 1805. Karst phenomena in Yugoslavia were observed in years 1802-1803 by A. Sapieha and his comments were published in Paris in 1808. First tourist descriptions of Polish caves come from the same time, and the first known illustration presenting a visit to a cave was made in 1807. The scientific study of caves develops since the beginning of l9th century, mainly by archaeologists and palaeontologists. In 1830 first excavations were done in one of the Podolian caves. Numerous findings come from the industrial exploitation of cave sediments (it started before 1846). The oldest work on cave fauna (bats and their parasites) dates from 1854. It was also then when protection of bats was suggested for the first time. In the 1830s and 1840s L. Zejszner, a geologist, studied caves in the Tatra and in Slovakia. He devoted to caves several chapters in his monograph, published in 1852, w-here several tens of caves are described for the first time. In 1845 during his travel through central and southern Europe, B. Steczynski visited and extensively described many caves in Slovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia. Caves attracted even the people deported for patriotic activities to the Russian interior. For example, rebels from 1863, on their way to the east, visited in 1864 ice caves near Kungur (the Ural Mountains), and two deported rebels from 1863 - A. Czekanowski and J. Czerski since 1869 studied caves in east Siberia. Their work resulted in more than ten publications about caves.

Systematic palaeontological and archaeological studies began in 1871. The multifaceted studies were planned of "all caves" and in 1872 an attempt at getting funds for it was undertaken. The farther growth in popularity, is shown by the fact that several years later Jagiellonian University in Krakow staged a competition for a treatv on caves. As a result A. Gruszecki published in 1878 the work "O Jaskiniach na Przestrzeni od Karpat po Baltyk" (About Caves in the Space Between the Carpathians and the Baltic Sea), the first inventory of caves in Poland, covering more than 80 caves. In 1887 appeared the work "Podziemne Koscieliska" (Underground Koscieliska), a guide to caves of the Koscieliska Valley in the Tatra, the first work of that type in Poland.

The extent of interest in caves in l9th century Poland is shown by the fact that the bibliography of Polish speleology of this century includes more than 1500 entries (more than 250 from the first half of the century). There are numerous reports (often with drawings) of discoveries and exploration of foreign caves, not only in Europe, but also in America. The achievements of world science were also presented, providing ground for the development of speleologv in Poland (both exploration and research) in the 20th century.

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