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Eugen Ruffínyi (1 March 1846 in Dobsina, Hungary – 13 January 1924 in Dobšiná, Czechoslovakia) was a mining engineer and amateur speleologist who, together with Gustav Lang und Andreas Méga, was the first to explore the Dobšinská Ice Cave.
Background and education
The Ruffínyi family had moved to Dobšiná from Italy because Eugene's father accepted a position as a mining engineer in this city. This suggests that the original name probably was Ruffini. Eugene attended primary school in Dobšiná, and high school in Kežmarok (Késmárk). He then took up mining studies in Banská Štiavnica (Selmecbánya), where he earned his degree in 1869. On his return to Dobšiná, he became a mining overseer and metallurgical inspector.
Exploration of the Dobšinská ice cave
While touring the Duča hill near Dobšiná with his friend, Lt. Gustav Lang, in 1869, Ruffínyi threw a stone into an opening in the rock that was known as Studená diera ("Cold Hole") in local lore. From the multiple and delayed echos, the men got the impression that a substantial cave must extend beyond the entrance and decided to return for an exploration. On June 15, 1870, Ruffinyi was the first to enter the cave, sliding down on a hemp rope.
The elementary School in Dobšiná is named in Eugen Ruffinyi's honor.
- Krenner J.S., Die Eishöhle von Dobschau. K. Ungar. Naturwissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft, 1874
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