The naturally occurring site includes many endemic species and a treasure-trove of archaeological artifacts that provide evidence of past human habitation and activity, primarily from the Early and Late Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Middle Ages.
A total of 1,184 caves are currently recorded in the Slovak part of this Karst system, and 280 caves in the Hungarian part. No other temperate-zone cave system in the world features such a concentration of archetypal caves.
These cave-dwelling animals include species found only in this cave system, their endemism is a result of an exclusively underground, or hypogeal habitat.
Such species include the tiny white crustacean Niphargus aggtelekiensis, the pseudoscorpion Neobissium (Blothrus) slovacum, the Pseudosinella aggtelekiensis, the tiny beetles Duvalius hungaricus and Duvalius bokori.
Other rare invertebrates such as Eukoenenia spelaea and Typhloiulussp have recently been discovered in Gombasecká Cave and Domica Cave. Bats are another important group of animals found in these caves with water playing an essential role in the formation of the caves.
Over several million years, rainwater — enriched with carbon dioxide from the soil, and, to a lesser extent, air — steadily dissolved the thick limestone layers of the Slovak Karst, forming hollow spaces that evolved into caves.
The Caves - A UNESCO World Heritage Site:
The Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst were approved for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995 on the basis of a joint Slovak-Hungarian nomination proposal.
In 2000 the site was extended to include Dobšinská Ice Cave situated in the Slovak Paradise (Slovenský raj) National Park.
Adds the UNESCO "Treasures of the World" on World Heritage Sites in my personal library -"The variety of formations and the fact that they are concentrated in a restricted area means that the caves currently identified make up a typical temperate-zone karstic system. Because, they display an extremely rare combination of tropical and glacial climatic effects, they make it possible to study geological history over tens of millions of years.
These caves are remarkable for having the world's highest stalagmite and an ice-filled abyss, which considering the territory's height above sea level, is a unique phenomenon for Central Europe".
Straw stalagmites in the Gombasecká Cave
In Jasovská Cave, water is present only in the lowest depths, while the massive sizes and fascinating surfaces of the more elevated older chambers are a huge attraction for visitors. Interestingly, a legible Hussite inscription from 1452 has been preserved in this part of the cave.
Some caves were formed by the dissolution effect of standing or slowly flowing water which filled underground chambers up to the ceiling.
One example is Ochtinská Aragonite Cave whose chambers, once drained, were seen to be covered with clusters of beautiful needle and spiral helicities of aragonite crystals.
The Obverse of the 100 Euro Gold Coin
The obverse design captures the essence of cave formation by showing the surface of a small cave lake and ripples caused by water dripping from a stalactite.
Positioned prominently in the upper and right side of the design is a depiction of the white cave-dwelling crustacean "Niphargus aggtelekiensis", its shape mirroring the outer ripples.
The Slovak Coat Of Arms appears at the bottom periphery centre, and to its left is the name of issuing country "SLOVENSKO" (meaning "Slovenia") inscribed in a semi-circle along the edge. The year "2017" is shown next to the edge and at the top of the design are the stylized letters "RL", the initials of the designer, Roman Lugár, and the mint mark of the Kremnica Mint.
The coin´s denomination "100 EURO" appears in two lines above the bat. Along the edge of the design are inscriptions "JASKYNE SLOVENSKÉHO KRASU" (meaning "Caves of Slovak Karst") and "SVETOVÉ PRÍRODNÉ DEDIČSTVO" (meaning "World Natural Heritage").
The specifications of this coin are:
Denomination: 100 Euros; Metal Composition: .900 Gold; Weight: 9.5 grams; Diameter: 26.0 mm; Coin Quality: Proof; Mintage: 4,250; Year of issue: 2017.