Caving is a kind of tourism, which involves passing the natural underground cavities and overcoming different obstacles, such as steep slopes, narrows, vertical sections, water obstacles etc. If the speleologists are engaged in a research and protection of caves, laying new routes, then the speleo-tourists visit the caves for the recreational purposes. That’s why one shouldn’t take speleology for speleo-tourism. In English, these two notions are indicated by different terms: «speleology» is the science of studying the caves, and «caving» means speleo-tourism. The peculiarities of caving are the complexity of routes due to difficult terrain of caves, the lack of daylight and100% humidity at low temperatures. When going along a difficult route special equipment is often required (ropes, carbines, sometimes aqualungs). Caving is divided into horizontal, vertical and combined depending on the type of most obstacles in the cave.
Caves passing of which requires using virtually no special means to overcome the steep slopes are called horizontal. Caves where the main obstacles are steep slopes and slanting passages are called vertical. Caves with obstacles of various types are known as combined.
Also equipped and unequipped caves are distinguished. Visiting the equipped caves foresees no difficulties, since the tours in these caves are conducted along specially marked paths with the handrails and artificial lighting. Passing of the unequipped routes requires physical dexterity, attention and caution as you will have to move in different positions and overcome various obstacles in a cave. The move in unequipped caves is done in turn after a guide following a distance. Thus one should be attentive, help one another and be careful with one’s head, because it is often possible to come across the rocks and crystals. Visiting the caves is possible exclusively with professional guides-cavers who know the route well and know how to get around in a cave, as it is very easy to get lost there.
The underground world of caves has been developing for hundreds of thousands years, so it is definitely unique and inimitable. It needs special protection and caring attitude, as crystals are growing at a speed of only 1 mm in 100 years, and the least contact with them stops their growth forever. Stalactites grow at a rate of only a few microns per year, but outside they do not have the same beauty and charm like inside a cave. So one should always follow this rule: "Leave only traces in the cave and take only pictures of it with you outside."