"The Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry of Ukraine addressed the region’s leadership with a proposal to include the cave network in Ternopil region in the preliminary list of the UNESCO world heritage natural sites. Therefore, we held a meeting of the working group with the participation of scientists, speleologists and ecologists, where it was decided to support such a promising initiative for promotion of tourism attractiveness of the region," Ihor Pyatkivsky, the deputy head of the ecology and natural resources department of the Ternopil Regional State Administration, said in a commentary to an Ukrinform correspondent.
According to him, if all the requirements for substantiation of this proposal are met, Ukraine will get the second (after the beech forests of the Carpathians) natural site in the UNESCO world heritage list.
There are more than a hundred caves in Ternopil region. According to scientists and speleologists, only a fifth of the underground labyrinths formed millions of years ago has been revealed so far. Each cave is unique. The underground halls and corridors attract the tourists and researchers with the stalactites and stalagmites, fancy columns, dripstone deposits on the rocks and numerous lakes. The length of the explored passages of the Optymistychna cave reaches 214 km. It is the longest gypsum cave in the world and has the world’s largest total length of passages after the Mammoth-Flint Ridge Cave System in the USA.
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