Samograd is the only touristic cave in the Park. It will leave you breathless with its grand ceilings, cave jewellery, bridges and balconies. A 750m uphill trail leads to the cave, and through the cave there are 480 hand chiselled steps.
ABOUT THE LOCATION AND CREATION
Cave Samograd is located on the eastern slopes of the Grabovača hill (770m asl). The whole cave was built in Upper Cretaceous limestone along the main N-S crack. The main crack is intersected by smaller cracks of different directions that caused widenings in the form of halls to occur in their intersections. Largest part of the cave surface is covered by a thick calcite crust somewhat covered with a coating of debris and loam. There are two cave bridges in the cave, numerous cave flows, conic stalagmites and stalactites. According to 2011 speleology research, the real length of Samograd cave is 345,8m. The first plan of the cave Samograd (also one of the first Croatian cave plans) was made by Artur Špiller, a surveyor from Gospić, in 2011. After him, Mirko Malez made the cave’s plan with length of 240m.
Committee for cleaning cave Samograd was founded in Perušić in 1886, which is considered to be the first speleological association in Croatia.
The cave was lit for the first time on the 5th of August, 1889. The Committee opened Samograd for visitors and the newspaper Obzor wrote about it. It is also the first newspaper report about the opening of a cave for visitors in Croatia.
The paths and stairs through Samograd were first mentioned in 1889, and were thoroughly finished in 1903 when, according to written historic data, Ban Khuen Hedervary was supposed to visit Lika. The latest data states that the steps through the cave existed long before, and paintings from 1807 confirm that fact.
Cave Samograd was visited from the earliest days. Signatures of Austrian officers from 1835 bear witness to the centuries old tradition of visits.
Samograd consists of altogether four halls. The natural scientist, Dragutin Hirc, named them:
Frasov Hall, in honour of the school supervisor of Karlovac borderland Fras, who described Samograd in 1850;
Perušića Hall, in honour of the noble family of Perušić, the first landlords of Perušić;
Karlovića Hall, in honour of the civil governor Ivan Karlović who defended Lika and Krbava against the Turks;
Kukuljevića Hall, in honour of Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski, the historian who had Samograd anthropologically explored.
Hirc mentions that the fifth hall was filled by a lake with clear water that doesn't exist anymore.