KASTRIA (Village) KALAVRYTA
Tel: +30 26920 31633
Fax: +30 26920 31588
In the village Kastria of Achaia, 60km from Tripoli (tunnel at Artemision) and 9 Km from Kleitoria, lies the famous “Cave of the Lakes”.
It is a rare creation of Nature. Apart from its labyrinth of corridors, its mysterious galleries and its strange stalactite formations, the “Cave of the Lakes” has something exclusively unique that does not exist in other well known caves. Inside the cave there is a string of cascading lakes forming three different levels that establish its uniqueness in the world.
The cave is an old subterranean river whose explored length is 1980 meters. In winter when the snow melts, the cave is transformed into a subterranean river with natural waterfalls. In the summer months, part of the cave dries up revealing a lace-work of stone-basins and dams of up to 4 m. in height. The rest of the cave retains water permanently throughout the year in 13 picturesque lakes.
The developed part of the cave is currently 500 meters long. It includes artistic lighting. The visitor enters the cave through an artificial tunnel which leads directly to the second floor. The dimensions of this part of the cavern create awe, rapture, admiration. The passage from lake to lake is possible by small man-made bridges.
At the cave’s lower floor, human and animal fossils were found, among which that of a hippopotamus. This part of the cave is intended to become a biological cave laboratory of international standing.
THE CAVE’S LEGEND
The legend says that the daughters of Proitos, king of Tirynth, Lyssippi, Ifinoy and Ifianassa, bragged that they were more beautiful than the Goddess Hera and scorned the worship of the God Dionysus. Zeus’s mate didn’t forgive their vanity and took their sanity, causing them to believe that they were heifers running wild on the mountains and meadows of Peloponnisos, infecting the women of Argolida with the craze of infanticide. Someday they arrived at the cave of Aroanios were they were found by Melambodas who cured them. He then led them to the village Loussoi.
EXPLORATION - DEVELOPMENT OF THE CAVE
In 1965, the residents of the valley of Kastria reached for the first time the second floor, using wooden ladders from a 9 meter ramp. The cave was explored by the E.O.S. (Hellenic Alpine Club) with the help of Prof. I. Melendis and mapped by the E.S.S. (Hellenic Speleological Society) under the supervision of Mrs. Anna Petrochilou. The development of the cave began in 1981 by E.O.T. (Hellenic Tourism Organization) and continued from the former community of Kastria. Today the municipality of Lefkasio is responsible for the cave’s operation and is resided at Kleitoria (Mazeika).
The trip on the funicular railway resembles a journey in a dream.
Once the train has left the tranquil, peaceful landscape of Diakofto, it delves into the deep gorge of the Vouraikos river that runs down from Helmos.Before long the little train is clutching the rails with its "teeth".
The higher you go the better you appreciate nature' s silent work. Enormous rocks, boulders gnawed by time, trees hanging from the mountain slopes call forth awe and admiration.
The first stop - pause for breath - is at Trekilia for a quick cup of coffee; then on to the village of Zahlorou at an altitude of 642 m.
This traditional village possesses a rare natural beauty.
The town of Kalavrita, the third stop on the funicular, is spread out on the slopes of Helmos at an altitude of 750 meters.
Numerous tall plane trees offer their welcoming shade. They line the streets like an arcade.
The charming houses, streets, trees all make you feel right at home.
The town exudes tranquillity. Just outside town a Venetian fortress, "the castle of Orea", stands atop a bluff.
This text is cited December 2004 from the West Greece Region General Secretariat URL below, which contains image.
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