Devetàshka cave near Lovech, Bulgaria

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The small village of Devetaki, Bulgaria, is less than two miles from the Devetàshka cave, though most tourists stay in nearby Lovech. Long ago, these limestone caverns sheltered human populations--fossil evidence indicates that Early Stone Age humans occupied Devetàshka.

Today, the most visible regular occupants are crag martins, a type of swallow, and thousands of bats representing 13 endangered species. Those bats were at the center of a recent court case in Bulgaria after Devetàshka cave was used as a shooting location for the movie ‘The Expendables 2’ (2012). Explosions during filming scared off many of the 33,000 bats living within. Though their numbers were greatly reduced, recent counts show that the bat population is recovering.

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