Samara cave is located in Ribino Protected Site and is one of the longest caves in the Eastern Rhodopes . In some places its galleries can even reach a kilometer. It is included in the list of the 250 most famous caves in Bulgaria. Since it has been formed in limestone rocks, secondary karst formations – stalagmites, stalactites and draperies on the cave walls – are found there.
The name of the cave comes from the word “samar” which is a type of animal saddle. The entrance of the cave resembles such a shape and therefore it is called this way.
The entrance is located around 8 meters above the river gorge. After the entrance, there is a 20- meter crawl after which most of the galleries are easily accessible by high but narrow labyrinths – in some places the walls are only 50 cm apart.
This cave has been an arena of many events throughout the ages. Fragments of ceramic pots from prehistory, antiquity and Middle Ages have been found here. The first inhabitants built two walls one – around the entrance, and the other – at 10 meters which surrounds the interior.
Archaeologists have unearthed unique burial offerings of a Thracian ruler who lived 3500 years ago. A double ax, surgical instruments and a silver amulet in the shape of a woman”s womb are among the findings. The double ax is made of high quality bronze. It was placed on top of a wooden stick as a symbol of royal power. Especially valuable is the silver amulet, which is a part of the cult of the Mother Goddess. Sensational is the finding of the surgical instruments – a bronze knife, an awl and a needle, ending with a small spoon. They confirm that the Thracian kings were both priests and medicine people. The objects are located in the Historical Museum in Kardzhali.
Apart from the beautiful vaults, the cave is full of colonies of bats, so the place of Ribino has the status of Protected Territory. The caves in the area serve as breeding sites for 7 species of bats included in the World Red List.