Σπηλαιο αη Γιωργη

Spilaio Agios Georgios - The Cave of St. George


Useful Information

Image: Kilkís from the south. The karstified mountain with the church Agios Georgios on top is visible from far away.
Location: In Kilkís, about 47km north of Thessaloniki.
From Thessaloniki follow national road 2 (E90) north-east for 7km. At the moment the motorway to Nea Kerdilia is built, so this may be an exit in the future. Turn left onto road 12 (E79) for 3km, then turn left again onto the road to Kilkís. After 25km leave road at exit Kilkís, 10 more kilometers.
Wenn arriving from the west on motorway 1 (E75), stay on the motorway towards Bulgaria. Use exit Kilkís, 26km to Kilkís.
Both routes lead to the bypass road, from Thessaloniki use the second exit to Kilkís, from motorway 1 the first one.
Open: All year Tue-Fri 9-14, Sat, Sun 9-14, 16-18.
Fee: Adults EUR 4, Children EUR 2. [2002]
Classification:  Karst cave.
Light: electric.
Dimension: L=500m, T=15-17°C, H=95%.
Guided tours: self guided.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: Y. Bassiakos, E. Tsoukala (1996): ESR dating suitable of quaternary fossil remains; a Hyaenid tooth example and new data on the fauna from Agios Georgios cave (Kilkis, Macedonia), Proceedings of the 2nd Symposium of the Hellenic Archaeometrical Society (26-28 March 1993), Thessaloniki 1996, 59-76.
Micha Barth, Karin Brenner (1988): Höhlen in Nordgriechenland, Höhlenblättla, 1988 (1/2) : 7-17 (ill.) Kurze Erwähnungen von Kleinhöhlen bei Kastoria, zur Agios Georgios Höhle bei Kilkis, nördl. Thessaloniki, zur Steinbruchhöhle von Agios Ioannis bei Serräi und zur Ambartsiki Höhle bei Alistrati, nordöstl. Serräi sowie zur Kyklopenhöhle des Polyphem bei Maronia. Deutsch - German
Address: Vassilios Makridis, caretaker and speleologist, Tel: +30-341-20054.
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.
Last update:$Date: 2015/08/30 21:55:32 $
Image: a "normal" formation, called the petrified waterfall.

History

 
1925discovered by the quarry worker Georgios Pavlidis.
1960exploration and first survey by Anna Petrocheilou.
1977development of the cave started, supervised by Anna Petrocheilou.
1983development completed.
1986opened to the public.
1988examined by Czech physicians for the use for speleotherapy.
1994new survey by Vassilios Makridis.

Description

Image: a typical passage in this cave, narrow and high, slightly tilted.
Image: stalactites with cave coral.

This is probably the most beautiful and the strangest show cave of Greece! Huge parts of this narrow system of labyrinthic clefts is covered with extraordinary  cave coral, a small and bulbous speleothem consisting of calcite, which covers the walls in crusts. Cave coral is pretty common, but only in small patches of some square decimetre. Patches of some square meters are rare. But this cave contains hundreds of square meters of various and beautiful cave coral.

The cave is not very big, and the passages are narrow and high, looking like clefts. With a length of 500m, the cave has an extent of only 1,000m². Most passages follow a north-south or an east-west direction, obviously depending on the direction of tectonic fissures in the limestone. There are only a few rooms, being not very big at all.

The first part shows nice profiles, erosive surfaces with facets formed by flowing water. Some nice stalactites and stalagmites can be found in secluded side chamber. Several formations seem to be broken.

Then the path leads down a few steps to a so called lower floor. After only a few meters a spiral staircase leads up into the so called upper floor. And here the area of the cave corals starts. The walls are covered by them, from the floor several meters up.

Image: cave coral.
Image: cave coral.

The bulbs are two or three centimeters long and have diameters between a half and four centimeters. They are sometimes standing single, sometimes they form bunches. Some are long and slim, some thick, some look like fungi, some like buttons. A special form is very common too, where all the bulbus heads have a rim of calcite, thin enough to be translucent.

The typical colours of the speleothems are dark brown, sometimes a little reddish. The brown colors are typical iron oxides for lower temperatures. Today clay in Greece looks reddish, which is another iron oxide formed at higher temperatures. So the brown colour may be a hint, that the cave corals were formed during cooler times many thousand years ago.

The custodian of the cave, Vassilios Makridis found about 300 bones in the cave, which were very well preserved. An examination by the paleontologist Dr. E. Tsoukala resulted in the evidence of dotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta spelae goldfuss), fox, weasel (Mustela putorius robusta newton), small and big horse, and giant deer (Megakeros).

This fauna remains were dated to be 15,000 years old. At this time this area was a rather warm meadow with bushes. The hyena lived in the cave, and the other bones are most likely remains of their prey.

Image: cave coral. The coin is 1 Euro.
Image: cave coral.

The cave is pretty easy to find, as it is located in the hill north of the town. This hill has a church on top named Agios Georgios (Saint George), and the cave is named after this church. On the main road through the town you reach a plaza after some time, where you turn left signposted "Agios Georgios, Theatre, Refreshments, Cave". The narrow road leads steep uphill and you bypass the theatre to the right and a jet plane monument to the left. When you reach the cafenion the right road leads uphill to the church and the left one downhill to the cave.

The cave is maintained by Vassilios Makridis, who is speleologist by heart and loves to share his immense knowledge of Greek caves. Unfortunately his English is rather bad. He has a small private exhibition of minerals and bones from this and other caves. He is also able to inform about other show caves of Greece.

Visitors get a map of the cave and an explanation in different languages, at least Greek, English and German. The cave tour is self guided, which means a lot of time to look at the extraordinary speleothems. Some formations are signposted, and Vassilios has a video surveillance system and tells visitors, when they reach the interesting spots. A sound systems plays a calm and peaceful music which was much appreciated by our reviewer.


See also


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