|Location:||Kapsas (Kapsia), Mantinía. At the main road from Tripolis to Patras, (37°36'37" N, 22°20'41" E)|
NOV to MAR daily 8:30-15.
APR to OCT daily .
EU University Students free.
NOV to MAR Sun free.
APR to OCT first Sun free.
|Classification:||Karst cave Ponor|
|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.
|20-AUG-1892||first explored by the Greek engineer N.-A. Sidéridès and the Frenchmen Ch. Gadouleau and J. Valiche.|
|1911||exploration published in Spelunca.|
|1974||explored by I. Ioánnou and a group of Greek and French speleologists.|
|200?||opened to teh public.|
The huge polje of Mantinía is a table land at an altitude of about 700m asl, surrounded by mountains up to 200m high. In winter time rains fall, the typical mediterranean winter rain climate. The water is drained in reactivated river beds on the surface, until it reaches the Katavothres (swallow holes). Here the water vanishes into huge caves and drains underground. The swallow holes are located all around the plain, but at Kapsia there is the possibility to visit a cave behind a kathavothre during dry time, between spring and autumn.
It is essential, that the swallow holes are free all the time. When they are blocked by rubbish, the plain is flooded and fields are getting too wet and probably even villages are flooded. Because of this, the locals built dams around the Kathavothres and gratings into the canal to filter rubbish out of the water. The gratings are cleaned regularly, and so the stuff does not flow into the cave.
The Kathavothre near Kapsia looks like a fortress at the foot of the mountain slope. It encloses numerous cave entrances. The main swallow hole is located in the center, with a canal leading to it. At the cliff face behind are two more cave entrances, which are higher passages of the cave. They are still flooded every year, but are not the main discharge.
It is possible to visit a part of this upper cave, it is a rather harmless horizontal passage with many speleothems. Brown dirt at the walls shows how high the cave is regularly flooded. The lower speleothems are covered by dirt, the upper are beautifully white. Interesting is the partial flooding of bacon rinds, which seem so fragile. They are not broken, which tells us that the water does not flow very fast through this cave. And the water marks show us that the water level never reaches the ceiling.
Both entrances lead to the same cave. Inside, the main passage goes to the left, after some time turns right, later again right. Now we are in the main passage of the cave with some enormous chambers. The biggest chamber is the Grand Salle des Merveiles (Great Hall of Wonders) which is 60m wide, 70m long and between 4 and 10m high. Although the main passage goes north south, it seems drainage goes to the southwest.
There was an attempt, some years ago, to open this cave for tourists. But it took many years (and as it seems massive funding by the EU) to complete the development of the cave. We have visited the cave while it was still in development and unfortunately we can not give exact details on open hours and fee.
|Kapsia Cave Gallery|