|Image: the natural entrance.|
Near Kastria, Achaia Prefecture.
17km from Kalavrita, 49km from Goritza, 69km from Tripolis.
|Open:||Winter daily 9:30-16:30. Summer daily 9:30-18.|
|Fee:||Adults EUR 6, Children (6-16) EUR 3, Groups (30+): Adults EUR 4,50.|
|Guided tours:||L=780m, D=45min.|
|Address:||Municipal Operation "Cave fo the Lakes" at Katsria, Municipality of Lefkasioy Achaias, Tel: +30-6920-31633, Fax: +30-6920-31588, E-mail:|
|Last update:||$Date: 2011/12/13 08:55:52 $|
|1922||after heavy rains a wild river left the cave at the natural entrance.|
|1940||after heavy rains a wild river left the cave at the natural entrance.|
|1964||some inhabitants of Kastria used a wooden ladder to climb the first step of the cave and discovered the first lake.|
|1965||explored by the palaeontologist Professor J. Melendis and Anna Petrocheilou.|
|1981||development of the cave started.|
|Image: the first rimstone pools are dry, and the floor is covered with clay, which shows drying cracks.|
Spelaio Ton Limnon, the Cave of the Lakes, is the bed of a subterranean river, flowing only during the winter rains. When the rain ends in spring, the river and the water dripping from the ceiling stops almost completely, but thirteen waterfilled pools remain over most of the summer.
The lakes are commonly called gours or rimstone pools. They are a special sort of speleothems, forming huge but thin and curly dams. Today it may be a few less than the thirteen pools mentioned above, as the lower ones became leaky during the development works. Nevertheless, the development of this cave is extraordinary good. It has been renewed only a few years ago and the paths are now very modern of concrete and stainless steel with minimal impact on the cave and its speleothems. The whole path has only very few steps at the end of the tour. And the path is most of the time a bridge-like structure, which gives the visitor the feeling to walk above the cave.
The cave has three levels. The lowest level is the natural entrance, which can be seen at the road to Kastria right below the modern entrance. This cave is mostly dry, but after heavy rains in 1922 and 1940 a wild river left the cave at this place. Although this entrance was known to the locals for very long, it took until 1964, when some inhabitants of Kastria used a wooden ladder to climb the first step of the lower cave and discovered the first lake in the higher level.
In 1965 the new cave was explored by the Hellenic Alpine Club, lead by the palaeontologist Professor J. Melendis and the Hellenic Speleologic Society, lead by Anna Petrocheilou.
This new discovered cave is todays show cave. It is the second level of the cave. The third level is not open to the public. And obviously there is another level, which is not explored until now, somewhere below. The river which formed the cave drained the highland Apanokampos. This river now flows below the known parts of the cave, still draining the highland and the water reappears in the springs of the river Aroanios, 8km south of the cave.
In the entrance area, Professor Melendis found bones of a hippopotamus (300,000 years old), deer (100,000 years old) and man of much more recent date but in poor condition. The finds are on display at the Paleontologic Museum at Athens.
Zoologist Professor J. Ontrias found four different species of bat living in the cave. Later Professor Ioanna Iliopoulou from Patras University found a fifth species.
The entrance of the cave, being known for thousands of years, is mentioned in a Greek legend.
Melampous was the first human who received the power of healing and the power to see the future from the gods. He lived in this cave.
One day, the three daughters of King Proitos at Tiryns, Lissippi, Iphinoe and Iphianassa said, they were more beautiful than Goddess Hera and laughed about the Dionysos cult. Hera was so angry, she gave them a sickness of the brain.
The three girls were muddleheaded and thought they were cows. Roaring like cows they ran through the Argolis and the women they met were infected with the insanity and killed their own children. At last they came to the cave of Melampous, who healed them and brought them to the next village called Loussi.
This story is told by Pausanias (111/115 to 180 a.D.), Greek writer, in his book Description of Greece, chapter Arkadia.
|Image: some boats reminiscent the time when the cave was explored.|
The show cave of today starts behind the 9m ascent from the lower level. As Anna Petrocheilou suggested, a tunnel was built and the cave is now entered at the Bat Hall, 20m above the natural entrance. This hall is the biggest hall of the tour, 40m long, 15m wide and 30m high. The name is easy to understand: at the ceiling is a big bat colony. A part of the first platform is a bit slippery by the bat guano and the typical smell of the bats is in the air.
The cave is a horizontal cave, more or less a single main passage, up to 15m wide and up to 30m high, most of the time it is about 8m wide and 15m high. The path, starting as a regular path of concrete slabs, soon rises above the ground and stands on pillars. So all rimstone pools are still untouched by the tourist path.
The first section shows several beautiful speleothems, but they are of a rather common type: stalactites, stalagmites, curtains, and draperies. But then the path raises a bit and the first rimstone pools appear, dry during the summer, this first pools allow a close look at their structure. And the last part shows several water filled pools, typically about 40m long, 10m wide and 5m deep. This part also shows some pools with nice calcite crystals.
At the end of the path, the tour turns around and the visitors have to walk back the same path. Together with the artificial entrance tunnel the tour is 780m long. The administration plans to extend the tourist part. The famous speleothems with aragonite crystals and dogtooth spars are not shown during the tour. But as the cave obviously was completely redone the last years, it seems unlikely, that this will happen very soon.
|Spilaio Ton Limnon Gallery|
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