|Location:||On Kythnos. 6km south of Kythnos, the Capital, near the village Dryopida, Dryopís.|
|Classification:||Karst cave, river cave, Iron Mine|
|Dimension:||L=1,200m, T=15°C, A=180m asl.|
K.G. Fiedler (1841):
Reise durch alle Teile des königreiches Griechenland in Auftrag der königl. griechischen Regierung in den Jahren 1834 bis 1837,
2 vols., Leipzig.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|1841||first visited by Fiedler.|
|1908||start of iron mining.|
|1939||iron mining ended.|
The word Καταφκι (Katafýki) means refuge in Greek, and that is what this cave was for the people living in this area. They used the cave as a hideout in the case of hostile attacks. Most important was the cave in the times of German occupation during World War II. Later the cave was used for Easter dances after the Easter mass to celebrate the Anastasis (resurrection). The locals used to dance in the main hall until dawn.
The cave has little speleothems but many interesting erosive forms, including the specialty of the cave, thin plates or sheets of limestone formed by solution, which are called rock curtains. This are not the speleothems which are also called curtains, as they are not deposited limestone. They are built of massive limestone, the surrounding rock, where the solution removed Karren, and the remains, if they are rather thin are called Schratten.
The first tenacious exploration was made by the German traveller and geologist Fiedler, who visited the cave on his travels between 1834 and 1837 and spent a whole day exploring the cave. He later wrote a travel report, published in 1841, in which he also described this visit and the cave. It is said to be the first modern cave exploration in Greece and thus initiated modern speleology in Greece.
At the end of the nineteenth century iron ore was found in the cave and was mined for thirty years during the early 20th century. For this purpose many shafts were sunk down from the lower levels. Some tourist brochures tell about the cave which was destroyed by mining, but this is not true. The shafts are part of the cave visit.
From the entrance a stair leads to the Great Square, also called Festival Square, the place where the villager used to make their festivals. From here many corridors lead off, the biggest is called Central Route and near the southern end a side branch leads upward into the Stalactite Chamber, which is 25m long and 17m wide. On the right hand side of this chamber is the location of the strange rock curtains. After returning from this corridor we now visit the Daedalic Corridors with the Adyton at its end. Then we return again and now follow the Central Route to the northern end. Here are the remains of the iron mining, several shafts in the Chamber of the Porticoes.