It is claimed that this cave was discovered in the Southern Ural Mountains in 1760 by P.I. Rychkov. But approximately 15,000 years ago men of ancient times were walking along the Belaya River when they came upon the opening of this awe inspiring cave. If they had stumbled upon it a mid-day the lake that is formed from the river that flows out of the cave would have been glistening bright blue in color. It’s not hard to imagine that they quickly came to revere this cavern with all it’s magnificence.
Upon entering the awing mouth of the cavern they would have heard the sound of drops splashing on the floor and the river flowing out into the world. Where these the magic waters to which Ural-Batyr would not drink but would make nature immortal? Would this be on the thoughts of those who would create the cave art, painting, and handprints before they would begin their hunting of the very animals they painted? Did they do this to ensure a successful hunting trip? The answers to these questions may never be know. But they did leave a legacy for those who followed them. It is know that the cave was used as a pagan temple during the middle ages.
The other name of the cavern “Shulgan-Tash” comes from the Bashkir language. The word “Tash” translated means – a stone, and Shulgan is translated as a river that flows into the White river near the entrance to the cave. Shulgan is the older brother of Ural Batyr who is the central character in the Bashkir epic “Ural-Batyr. Shulgan is the protagonist or lord of the underworld. It does make one wonder why the skulls of humans were also found in the cave. Where they buried here to meet the underworld, or did it have some other purpose?
The answers to these questions may never be fully understood, but further excavations may reveal more evidence to help understand the significance this cave played in their world. One thing is for certain, the souls buried here flowed into the heavens from a very mysterious and wonderful place called Kapova Cave.