South of Naxos on the island of Iráklia.
|Classification:||Karst cave Cave Church|
|Light:||none, bring electric torch|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The cave is hidden behind the mountain, at the head of a valley which leads to Vourkároa Bay. From Panayiá, follow the signposted track west following a zig-zagging path up to a saddle well to the north of the summit. The path then drops down to the south around the back of the mountain. A red arrow, painted on the rock on the left indicates the turning to the cave. This is just over an hours walk from Panayiá.
A church bell hangs from a cypress tree above the whitewashed entrance. Just inside the entrance there is a shrine and a wide straight passage soon the cave opens up into a large chamber 27 m long by 17 m wide and 10 m high with many speleothems. From here five equally remarkable chambers follow, one after the other, separated by tall columns of every shape and colour. It can be explored for a distance of 120 m and is thought to be part of a much larger system. Every year on August 18, a religious festival is held here.
Be sure to bring a powerful torch.
Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.