...A Journey into Nature's Magic
One of the world’s most beautiful caves is located on the western shores of the Laconic Peninsula, on the Gulf of Diros, under the minimalist landscape of Mani where nature, with incomparable deftness and patience, has carved a miracle surpassing any imagination. Stark-white stalagmites and stalactites, impressive curtains and sparkling crystals embellish each one of its corners, creating a breathtaking spectacle.
Its existence was known to the locals since approximately 1900. Nevertheless, nobody could suspect the miracle hidden in its interior, not until 1949, when the founders of the Greek Speleological Society, Yannis and Anna Petroheiliou, launched a systematic exploration of the cave.
By 1960, they had explored and mapped 1600 metres; today, the known length of the cave exceeds 14 kilometres! The first underwater exploration was launched in 1970, still ongoing to this day above water, as well as under, with cave-diving.
The cave began taking shape hundreds of thousands years ago. The stalactites and stalagmites that are today found underwater were formed when the seawater surface was much lower than its current level. Explorers have discovered stalactites at a 71-metre depth.
The water that enters the cracks of the limestone rock and dissolves it, literally drop-by-drop, creates the interior decoration of the cave. The sinter of the dissolved calcium carbonate gradually forms stalactites and stalagmites.
The natural entrance of the cave, which has a mere 50-centimetre diameter, is located very close to the surface of the seawater. In older days, the cave had more entrances which eventually closed.
Inside the cave, explorers have discovered fossilized bones of panthers, hyenas, lions, deer and ferrets, as well as the largest deposits of hippopotamus in Europe. Ceramic finds near the cave’s natural entrance evidenced human presence.
The water inside the cave is subsaline and very hard. Its temperature is approximately 14 C, while air temperature ranges from 16C to 19 C.
The tourist path measures 1500 metres long, of which the first 1,200 are lake area covered by a 25-minute-long boat ride.
The doors of the cave first opened to the public in 1967, when the Greek Tourism Organization (GTO) completed arrangement works that had been launched six years earlier.
Significant anthropological finds dating back to the Neolithic Era were discovered near the entrance of the cave.
HOW TO GET THERE….
… through SPARTA traveling by the town of GYTHEIO and through KALAMATA traveling by OITYLO. The distance from Athens is approximately 300 kilometres. It is worth taking the time to make the distance since the beauty of the Mani landscape and the magic of the cave will reward you!
DURING YOUR VISIT…
… always keep your hands inside the boat and follow the instructions of the boat owner. While touring the land section f the cave mind your heads. It is prohibited and punishable by law to remove or touch anything inside the cave. Don’t forget! Caves are inextricable and important parts of the cultural heritage of Greece. Help us protect them!