Σπηλαιο Δρακου Καστοριας

Cave Of The Dragon Kastoria


Useful Information

Location: Kastoria. Follow Mavriotissa east, between the General Hospital of Kastoria and the Monastery of Panagia Mavriotissa.
(40.505614, 21.284696)
Open: Summer Tue-Sun, Hol 10-18.
Winter Tue-Sun, Hol 9-17.
[2021]
Fee: Adults EUR 6, Children (6-16) EUR 4, Children (0-5) free, Students EUR 4, Disabled EUR 4.
Families: Adults EUR 4, Children (6-16) EUR 4.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 5, Children (6-16) EUR 4.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: electric.
Dimension: T=16-18°C, H=90%.
Guided tours: L=300m.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Cave Of The Dragon, Mavriotissa, Kastoria 52100, Tel: +30-2467026777, Tel: +30-2467029630, Cell: +30-6957591303, Fax: +30-2467022655. E-mail:
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.

History

1940s cave discovered during the construction of the lakeside road.
1940s cave explored by local amateur explorers.
1954 cave explored by the Swedish caver Linberg.
1963-1969 explored and surveyed by Scouts from Kastoria, Johnny Zerboydakis and the Hellenic Speleological Society
1995 Municipality of Kastoria initiates the development of the cave.
2007 begin of development.
13-DEC-2009 cave opened to the public.
29-DEC-2009 cave inaugurated by the Minister of Culture and Tourism Mr. Geroylanos and the Chairman of the Greek Parliament Mr. Petsalnikos.

Description

Σπηλαιο Δρακου Καστοριας (Spilia tou Drakou, Cave Of The Dragon Kastoria) is located at the shores of Limni Orestias. The town Kastoria is located on the western side of the lake and on the land bridge to an peninsula protruding into the lake. The cave is located at the far side between the General Hospital of Kastoria and the Monastery of Panagia Mavriotissa.

The cave is quite exceptional in many ways. The location inside an island in the middle of a lake is really unique. This cave is best reached with the Lake Kastoria tourist boat, which operates in synchronization with the open hours of the cave. The cave is a river cave which drains the island and the river flows directly ito the lake. The cave entrance is only 25m from the lake shore. The cave is entered through the natural entrance and the tour follows the main passage upstream for about 300m. There are a total of seven lakes dammed by rimstones and the river is crossed twice, once on a solid bridge, once on a floating bridge. The largest room of the cave, 45m long and 17m wide, has a central part which is higher and dry, due to debris from the ceiling. On the west end of the chamber is the largest and deepest lake of the cave. Paleontological remains found inside the cave are mostly cave bear bones (Ursus Speleaus). The cave is then left through a 35m long artificial tunnel which is also used as a museum. It contains an exhibition of explanatory signs concerning history, legends, and the development of the cave with many photographs.

Many centuries ago the big cave located near the monastery of Mavriotissa used to be a goldmine guarded by a dragon that spewed fire and poisonous fumes. Kastoria was founded in the 8th or 9th century and the first king was Kastor. One day he tried to entertain his brother, a guest named Polydeuces, and his father in law, the priest Keli. He showed them the huge cave, but the presence of a dragon prevented them from approaching the cave.
The king promised a reward to the hero who would kill the dragon. A strong young man volunteered and the fight with the dragon was fierce. The rocks trembled and the lake waters fretted as the young man struck the dragon with his spear. He finally killed the monster, which floated dead on the waters of the lake.
People celebrated and thanked god Panas. Then they walked into the cave with torches, swooping to avoid bumping on the stalactites. The cave seemed to go on and on for miles and the atmosphere started getting stuffy due to the lack of oxygen. When the tunnel narrowed, the torches went out and darkness embraced them.
Then they heard an eerie voice saying: "He who dares to grab a handful of mud from beneath his feet will regret it" The boldest ones bended on their knees, grabbed the mud and filled their pockets. The ones who were afraid did not dare to do so. When they all came out into the sunlight, they realized with surprise, that the mud was actually wet gold dust.

The Dragon’s Cave legend was written by D. Giannousis in the 1960s. The cave was discovered in the 1940s, so this is not a real legend, its a funny story which is sold naive tourists as a legend.