Natural attractions \ Cave \ Skopje, Macedonia
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Vrelo's entrance is hidden along the Matka canyon (which is comprised of the Matka lake and Treska river), is about 1.5km from the Matka Dam, on the Treska River, and forms a canyon lake covering about 5,000 hectares. There is also a ground section above the cave's entrance, called Suva, which has stalactites and stalagmites.
Vrelo Cave has many stalactites including a large one in the middle of the cave is known as the Pine Cone due to its shape. There are two lakes at the end of the cave, with one larger than the other. The smaller lake is 8 metres (26.2 feet) at its longest length and 15 metres (49.2 feet) in depth at its deepest point. The larger lake is 35 metres (114.8 feet) at its longest length, and 18 metres (59 feet) at its deepest point.
Though the exact depth of the cave is unknown, some speculate that it could be the deepest underwater cave in the world.
The Vrelo cave has been nominated for this year's Seven World Wonders competition and has made it to the semi-finals.
In 2007, the cave ranked 77th, after being explored by diver Mark Vandermeulen, on a list of the deepest underwater caves. Vandermeulen was also part of this year's diving team. Vrelo ranks 14th on the list of the deepest caves explored by humans, and some speculate it might be underestimated.
The cave is located in the Matka Canyon, near Skopje, which boasts 1,000 plant species, 20% of which are endemic, as well as various butterfly species not found anywhere else in Europe. The canyon is also home to vultures, and occasionally bald eagles, which are protected by law to save them from extinction.
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