In a distance of less than 60 km from Kardamili, there are the famous Diros caves. There are two caverns in the area, Vlychada which is open to the public and Alepotrypa. The existence of the Vlychada cave was known to the locals from about 1900 onwards. This cave was discovered by Petros Arapakis in 1898. In 1949 the founders of the Hellenic Speleological Society, Yannis and Anna Petrochellos, began to explore it systematically.
Until 1960, only 1,600 meters were excavated and mapped. Since 1987 it began the systematic and detailed exploration of the Cave. Greek cavers in collaboration with an international team, continued exploration and mapping. To date, they have mapped 14,700 meters of routes. Most of the cave is below the surface of the water.
The cave began to form hundreds of thousands of years ago. The stalactites and stalagmites presently below the water were formed when the surface of the sea was far below its current level. There have been stalactites at a depth of 71 meters. The maximum depth of the Cave is located outside the tourist route and reaches 80 meters.
The natural entrance of the cave is only half a meter wide and is very close to the sea. In earlier times the cave had other entrances that were gradually closed.
Inside the cave are found fossilized bones of panther, hyena, lion, deer, ferret and the largest hippopotamus bones in Europe. Close to its natural entrance, ceramics have been found indicating the human presence.
The water inside the cave is brackish and has a great hardness. Its temperature is about 14° C, while the air is in the range of 16 to 19° C.
The tourist route has a total length of 1,500 meters, of which the first 1,200 are in a lake. The tour takes about 25 minutes.
The doors of the cave were first opened for visitors in 1967. The opening ended the settlement work that had begun six years ago.
Cave of Alepotrypa (Fox hole)
Significant anthropological finds from the Neolithic era were discovered in the adjacent cave of Alepotrypa. As the findings show, there were residences during the Neolithic era. It is speculated that, 45 centuries ago, unfortunate residents were trapped inside the cave after a powerful earthquake. The cave was discovered in 1958. Many of the finds are exhibited at the adjacent Neolithic Museum of Diros, located next to the entrance of this cave.
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