Għar Calypso

Calypso Cave


Useful Information

Image: Gozo Calypso's Cave, Anne Oldham & Guide.
© Tony Oldham, 21-FEB-2002, with kind permission.
Location: Ramla Bay, Xaghra, Gozo. 3km north of Xaghra a few feet from the edge of the cliff overlooking Ramla Bay, 6.5 km north-east of Victoria. Follow Racecourse Street, the main street, northwards out of Xaghra. Just before the road descends towards Ramla Bay there is a gift shop and toilets with an archway made of stone on the left hand side. Go through this archway and across a 'karst garden'.
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Classification:  Karst cave.
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Last update:$Date: 2013/04/25 23:02:54 $

History


Description

Calypso Cave is said to be the place where Odysseus was a prisoner of love for seven years. He was imprisoned by Calypso, who promissed him immortality if he would stay with her. But he escaped, as soon as he had the possibility and returned to his wife Penelope. See Homers Odyssee for more information.

However, like all other places claiming to be such a mythical place, we do not really know the route of Odysseus, we do not even know, if he ever lived or if it was just fiction. Anyway, it is a nice story.

In Greek mythology Calypso is the daughter of the titan Atlas (aka Oceanus aka Nereus). She was a nymph living on the magical island of Ogygna.

Image: Gozo Calypso's Cave, Anne Oldham in entrance.
© Tony Oldham, 21-FEB-2002, with kind permission.

To reach the cave follow Racecourse Street, the main street, northwards out of Xaghra. Just before the road descends towards Ramla Bay there is a gift shop and toilets with an archway made of stone on the left hand side. Go through this archway and across a 'karst garden'.

Look for a 6 m flight of steps cut in the rock at the intersection of two rainwater grikes which have been formed along the joint lines. Descending the steps brings you to a platform, the cave is on the western side a few meters lower, and is recognised by its entrance archway 2 m wide and 1 m high. The cave continues on the left through an archway 1.5 m wide and 1 m high which opens out into a second chamber, similar to the first, which slopes downwards. At the end a transverse rift in the roof rises to a height of 3.6 m only to descend sharply to a metre high again. A squeeze over some boulders at the end leads to a narrow passage about 7 m long which ends in a small chamber which slopes upwards. It is possible to crawl another 3 m before the passage is blocked by fallen boulders. The whole cave shows signs of considerable shattering with angular rocks strewn all over the floor.

Calypso was the sea nymph who enchanted Odysseus on his journey home from the Trojan War. The Gozitans claimed that Odysseus lived in this cave for seven years with Calypso, before returning to his ever faithful wife Penelope. The cave is reputed to be a complex labyrinth, extending down to sea level in places. Homer, in his classic travelogue The Odyssey, describes Calypso's Cave as being surrounded by poplar and cypress trees, with a grape-laden vine at the entrance. Nowadays, with all vegetation gone it offers breathtaking views over Ramla Valley and Ramla Bay. [Homer, Iliad Book V]


Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.



See also


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