Agios Demetrios, Selenitsa.
Eastern coast of the Messenian Gulf.
|Classification:||Karst cave River cave|
|Light:||none, bring torch|
|Dimension:||L=3,500 m, T=17-18 °C.|
|Guided tours:||L=1,250 m.|
Anna Petrocheilou (1984):
The Greek Caves,
ISBN 960-213-135-7, 160 pages, 135 colour illustrations.
pp 26-27 with map and photograph.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1928||first exploration by Sarri and Georgalas, one kilometre explored.|
|1953||large section explored by Joannis Petrocheilos and the Swedish bio-speleologist K. Lindberg, first survey.|
|1970||survey of additional parts discovered during the decades by members of the Greek speleological society, total length 2,000 m.|
|1980-1985||explorations by cave divers from Germany, Czech Republic, and Great Britain.|
|1999||exploration by Greek cave divers.|
|NOV-2004||conected with nearby Drakos spring, total length 3.5 km.|
The word Καταφκι (Katafiki) means refuge in Greek, and this cave was one of the important hideouts in Greece. It was a refuge to man for very long, especially during the revolution. Although it is not as rich in archaeological remains as nearby Alepotrypa, numerous remains of prehistoric man were found, like human bones and blackened pottery shards. Outstanding are the ancient footprints found here.
Katafygi has formed in marble limestone, and so the cave walls sometimes look a little bit like a Greek temple. The layers are slightly inclined, which gives the bay in front of the cave entrance its typical face. The cave opens right above the sea, with a nice view and a sort of marble courtyard in front, formed by a single layer of marble. The entrance is a huge portal wich gives way into the main passage of the cave, a now dry river passage, which once drained the area. Today the drainage is lower, through the lower level of the cave system to nearby Drakos Spring.
The cave has only very few speleothems but those are really nice, including several rimstone pools, dogtooth spars, helictites and botryoidal stalactites. Other sights are the troglobionts found in the cave and a kind of sandbox, where visitors build all sorts of sculpures of the sand.
The cave system was originally surveyed by the Petrocheilous for about one kilometre length. After decades of research and many diving efforts, the cave and the nearby Drakos Spring were connected. This results in a total length of 3,500 m and makes the cave the fourth longest cave in Greece . The connection also changed the name, the cave is now officially called Drakos-Selinitsa-System and listed in the Greek cadastre under this name.
This is again one of those caves, which is listed in many cave books, there is even a very detailed virtual cave on the internet. Anna Petrocheilou listed it as a show cave, or at least as a cave suitable for tourists. She gives a map with a tourist path, which seems to be just the more or less level parts of the cave floor. Still we think, that a cave of this size and with the numerous labyrinthic passages in the second part, is not really suitable to tourists. So we recommend, to restrict visits on the first 300 meters and to be very careful. In any case avoid other levels and side passages. Good light, appropriate clothes, leaving the return time and to use your brain is essential.