...in the fairies palace of Helmos...
THE LEGENDARY “CAVE OF THE LAKES” AT KASTRIA IN ACHAIA
Welcome to Principality of Klitoria. The principality’s capital, Klitoria(or Mazeika) is a town built on the west side of the Aoranian River, on an altitude of 550 metres. It is the trade and cultural centre of the area with a large number of tourists. It is built on a green valley full of the running waters of Aroanian River. There are a lot of farms full of walnut and apple trees. From the old times habitants were occupied with farming and stockbreeding.
In the village of Kastria in Achaia, 9 km from Kleitoria seat of Municipality Lefkasioy, 17km from kalavryta and 60km from Tripoli lies the famous “Cave of the Lakes”. It is a rare creation of Nature. Apart from its labyrinth of corridors, its mysterious galleries and its strange stalactite formations, the “Cave of the Lakes” has something exclusively unique which does not exist in other well-known caves. Inside the cave there is a string of cascading lakes forming three different levels that establishes the uniqueness in the world.
The cave is an ancient subterranean river bed whose explored length is 1980 m. In winter when the snow melts, the cave is transformed into a subterranean river with natural waterfalls. In the summer months, part of the cave dries up revealing a lace – work of stone basins and dams of up to 4 m. in height. The rest of the cave retains water permanently throughout the year in 13 picturesque lakes. The walls are ornamented with couloured stalactite and stalagmite formation while “chandeliers”, “medusas” and “fluted cutrains” hang from the high 30 m. ceilings. Reflections from the still waters add yet more magic to the scene.
The developed part of the cave is currently 500m. long. It includes artistic lighting. The visitor enters the cave through an artificial tunnel which leads directly to the second floor. The dimensions of the chamber inspire are, rapture, admiration. The lakes are spanned by small, man-made bridges.
Human and animal fossils including a hippopotamus have been found at the cave’s lower floor. This part of the cave is intended to become a biological cave laboratory of international standing.
THE LEGEND OF THE CAVE
Legend has it that the daughters of Proitos, king of Tirynth, Lyssippi, Ifinoy and Ifianassa, bragged that they were more beautiful than the Goddess Hera and scorned the worship of the God Dionysus. Zeus's mate didn't forgive their vanity and took their sanity, causing them to believe that they were heifers running wild on the mountains and meadows of Peloponnisos, infecting the women of Argolida with the craze of infanticide. Someday they arrived at the cave of Aroanios were they were found by Melambodas who cured them. He then led them to the village Loussoi.
EXPLORATION – DEVELOPMENT OF THE CAVE
In 1964, the residents of the village of Kastria reached for the first time the second floor, using wooden ladders from a 9m. ramp. The cave wasw explored by the E.O.S. (Hellenic Alpine Club) with the help of Prof. I. Melendis and mapped by the E.S.S. (Hellenic Speleological Society) under the supervision of Mrs Anna Petrochilou. The development of the cave began in 1981 by E.O.T. (Hellenic Tourism Organization) and continued from the former community of Kastria. Today the municipality of Klitoria is responsible for the caves operation and is resided at Kleitoria (Mazeika).
OTHER LOCAL SIGHTS
The sources of the Aroanios river, the sources of the Ladonas river, Vinearbor of Pafsania, Turtlecave, Phroxylia, Ancient Kleitor and Loussoi, The monasteries of Saint Athanasio, Saint Lavra, Meg. Spileou, Saint Theodoron, The ski centre of Kalavryuta, Kalavryta. The Vouraikos gorge.