Staritsky caves: description, history, location map and interesting facts


If for an ancient person, the caves were a home and a refuge from bad weather and wild animals, today people are attracted by mysterious beauty, possible hidden treasures or the presence of paranormal phenomena.

Staritsa caves have everything at once, in order to interest not only speleologists, historians and tourists, but also representatives of various occult teachings.


This small town was founded in 1297 on the river of the same name as a fortress by order of Prince Mikhail of Yaroslavich of Tver. Until the 16th century, it had the name Goridesk, as evidenced by the coins minted at that time.

Until 1425, it was the center of the Staritsky appanage principality, but at the end of the 15th century it became part of the Moscow principality together with Tverskoy. Staritsa was once very much loved by Ivan the Terrible, on the orders of which she was surrounded by a white-stone wall. He regularly visited the city from 1579 to 1581.

During the 18th century, the city repeatedly moved from one province to another. So, in 1708 it is part of Smolensk, and in 1719 - of the Tver province. Since 1727, it is attributed to Novgorod, and in 1796 it is returned to Tverskaya, where it becomes a major pier on the way to St. Petersburg.

By 1897, Staritsa became a fairly large county town, in which more than 5, 000 people lived, there were 21 manufacturing facilities and 124 trading establishments.


Today, 8, 000 people live in the city, and it has become an ordinary provincial town, although it has a “rich history” behind it. Unfortunately, the short-sighted and limited Soviet leadership did not consider unique opportunities for tourism development in this city. And for this, there is everything here: ancient churches and monasteries, unique Staritsky caves, beautiful nature and the possibility of amazing rest on the banks of the Volga and Staritsa.

Quarry history

On the left bank of the Volga, there are unique old stone quarries, which from the 13th century not only supplied the cities, fortresses and monasteries with white stones, thanks to which Russia was called white stone, but also gave the city profits.

The artels of stone cutters until 1928, for 7 centuries, mined white stone, creating man-made caves surprising in their beauty, entanglement and length, which stretch for a hundred kilometers between the cities of Rzhev and Tver.


Staritsky caves, the scheme of which has not yet been fully drawn, as by Stalin’s decree, all entrances to them were filled up so that no one could find weapons depots hidden there during World War II, continue to be studied by speleologists and other scientists.

Unfortunately, during the time of the collectivization, the artels of stonecutters were dissolved, and the city gradually turned from a large wharf with a developed industry into a small regional center.

Find cavers

Indeed, the major scientific expeditions to the Staritsk caves began in 1993. Cavers and scientists were interested in not only the intricate moves of the catacombs and their age, but also the study of the influence of confined space on a person, on the sense of time in it, biorhythms and microclimate that exist in them.

One of the goals of historians was to find a warehouse of weapons hidden here for partisans in 1941. Scientists managed to gather information not only in the local archive, but also in German. Judging by their data, the Germans who entered Staritsa destroyed the Red Army soldiers who were trying to escape, and only 3 people who were guarding the warehouse in the catacombs survived.

Perhaps they would have continued their service, awaiting the departure of the Germans, but someone from the local, who accepted the power of the aggressors, told about their existence. It is the signs of the stay of the Soviet soldiers and their last battle with the fascists that were found by the participants of the expedition.

Numerous cartridges and traces of fire, which the invaders staged to lure people out of the cave, told about the events of those days. Three soldiers were martyred, but they did not say where the weapons depot was located. Not found it to this day.


The reason why this has not yet happened is that it is difficult not only to find, but also to clear the moves that were previously filled up on Stalin’s orders. If blasting operations are carried out, then the Staritsky caves may collapse, and then you have to dig new corridors.

The important thing is that at last these catacombs have shown an interest in scientific circles, which means that they will be studied, cleared and made available to people. Already today, excursions from different cities come to Staritsky caves, which has a positive effect on the development of tourism in this area.

Cave Tours

Nowadays, several catacomb passages are open for inspection, in which all aisles and labyrinths are tied with a rope. Holding on to it, you can go deep enough inside and see the work of hundreds of stone cutters, who worked on these corridors for 7 centuries.

In addition to the majestic stone pillars that support the vaults of the caves, here are visible the places where the miners slept, where they were equipped with tables for a meal.

Unfortunately, out of hundreds of kilometers of tunnels for inspection, only 30 km are still open, but interest in them is already so great that many tour operators include them in their routes.


This became advantageous after dozens of people visited the Staritsk caves. Reviews and photos that they posted on the Internet, made an impression. The place turned out to be really unusual, and people began to show interest in it.

Paranormal activity

Like many other mysterious places on the planet, these catacombs have properties that are not given a logical explanation. For example, one of the restorers, who worked in the Cherepkovskaya cave, accidentally discovered that fallen objects disappear somewhere.

The mitten and knob dropped by him disappeared without a trace, although no holes and cracks were found on the floor of the catacomb. No less strange were the sounds with which the cave is filled from time to time. For example, he heard a herd of horses running in one of the corridors, with his hooves clattering loudly over the stones. Over the centuries, a lot of evidence gathered that people disappeared in these catacombs, and an incomprehensible luminescence was found that could not be explained.


Specialists in paranormal phenomena have yet to find out what secrets the Staritsk caves keep. The route to Tver and then to the village of Tolpino in Staritsky district is simple, so not only scientists and tourists come to the catacombs, but also adventurers and treasure hunters.

Legends of the Staritsa Caves

The rumor that somewhere in the depths of these catacombs is hidden the treasury of Vladimir Staritsky, who decided to bury her before going to Moscow by order of Ivan the Terrible, does not give rest to lovers of treasure hunting. Knowing the king's temper, the prince foresaw that he could not return to his native inheritance, and was right. By order of Ivan the Terrible, not only Vladimir Staritsky was poisoned, but his whole family.


Another legend says that under the local monastery there are caves in which the relics of the monks are buried. Since the graves were not found at the monastery, it was decided to work on this version, but the expedition, which is engaged in the search for burial, found only a temple where Satanists performed their rituals.

The Tale of the Divine Miracle

There is a belief that in Staritskaya cave there is a healing key, beating from the ceiling. The story is based on real facts. Everything happened during the Tatar-Mongol invasion, when one old woman managed to get buried in the quarry. After spending a long time without water, she turned to God with a prayer to quench her thirst. In response, the Creator created a spring that pours its waters from the ceiling of the cave.


According to legend, it appears only in difficult times for the people. As the old men say, the last time they heard about him were before the Germans came to Staritsa. Thanks to the created miracle, the old woman became famous in her time, and today her silhouette can be seen on the city's coat of arms.

To plunge into these secrets, it is better to personally visit the Staritsky caves. How to get there by car, you will easily understand. The initial direction is Tver, 80 km from which Staritsa is located, and further on it is several kilometers to Tolpino.

Protecting caves from diggers

So people are arranged, that some are ready to act for the sake of discovering the truth on “bare enthusiasm”, while others are only interested in profit. So it is with these catacombs. If not all scientists know how to get to the Staritsa caves and where they have entrances, the diggers do not stop to make explosions in the tunnels, just to be the first to get to any artifacts.

In order to stop this, a special society was created to protect the historical monument from the encroachments of the vandals.

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