Mylopótamos, Kythira Island.
Between Kálamos and Kapsáli, a short tarmac road leads down to Spiliés village. Immediately before the village, there is a sign post pointing to the cave. It is a half hour walk down a small gorge, or a short drive along a new dirt road which is being constructed off the Limniónas road.
Mid-JUN to SEP Mon-Fri 15-20, Sat, Sun 11-17.
When the cave is closed, you can probably find a guide in Mylopótamos, ask at the village, giving a day's notice if possible, or telephone Kafenion 0735-33397 for details of Winter visits.
|Fee:||Adults EUR 2.50.|
|Dimension:||A=60m asl, Ar=2,000m².|
|Guided tours:||L=200m, D=30min.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1875||chapel dedicated to Saint Sophia.|
Ayía Sofia Cave is the largest and most impressive of a number of caves on the island. It is a large stalagmite cave which is which is located in a sea cliff about 60 meters above the sea. It contains an open-roofed church dedicated to Ayía Sofia and it is reputed that her body was found here. In the chapel and on the west wall are some fine, well preseved frescoes. This cave should not to be confused with the sea caves near Mylopótamos or a cave with a similar name on Crete.
Legend has is that the ancient Greeks used the caves to honour the nymphs who used to live there, but today, alas there is no evidence of such use. On the contrary, there is evidences of religious use during the Christian period. We can assume this fact, from the display of frescoes depicting various figures including Agia (Saint) Sophia and her three daughters: Love, Faith and Hope, which are situated just inside the cave entrance. The frescoes are though to have been painted during the 12th and 13th centuries. The visitor will also see a chapel dedicated to Saint Sophia dating back to 1875. The chambers of this cave are decorated with stalactites and stalagmites. These are very colourful with a great variety of hues from black and white to shades of red. Beyond, the cave system comprises a series of chambers which reach 250m into the mountain, although a guided tour (in Greek and English) only takes in the more interesting outer chambers. These include some startling formations like shark's teeth, but you have to ask to be shown Aphrodite's chambers where a minute new species of disc-shaped insect has been discovered.
Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.