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Caves – Castles of Kefalonia

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Drogarati Cave

The Drogarati Cave is one of the sights on the island that you should definitely see while visiting the island.
It was discovered about 300 years ago when a portion crashed because of a strong earthquake and so the current entry was created. Initially, the cave was utilized by the community of Haliotata, under the supervision of the speleologist Mrs. Anna Petrochilou and since 1963 it is open to the public all year round.
The Drogarati Cave is located 3 km from Sami at an altitude of 120 meters, its depth reaches 95 meters and its temperature is 18 Celsius. It is considered as one of the best caves in Greece and it is the only one with such a great room (dimensions 65×45 and height of about 20 meters).
The cave of Drogarati is alive as it is continuing its creation. Drops are falling from the stalagmites and of course you should not in any case disturb drops that are ready to fall because so you are destroying the cave which dates back over 100 million years! A stalactite grows at about one centimeter every hundred years.
The room, decorated with stalactites and stalagmites, has excellent acoustics and is configured with a special platform for concerts. The two most important and largest caves are Agelaki Cave and Cave Zervati.
To visit the cave you get off from the specially designed stairs which due to the increased humidity are extremely dangerous and therefore require great attention.

Melissani Lake-Cave

One of the most famous and beautiful sights on the island, with great historical interest, is the lake cave of Melissani. It is situated in Karavomilos, near Sami. Discovered in 1951 by the speleologist Petrohilos and then after access manufacturing processes, it was delivered in the tourist exploitation. A large part of the roof has collapsed, and so there is a singularity and uniqueness. Especially the moment when the sun is at its highest point, the spectacle is magnificent, as the rays are reflected in blue water.
In ancient times, the lake was a place of worship of Pan and the nymph Melissanthi. Legend says that Melissanthi committed suicide in the lake of regret, because Pan did not respond to her love. According to another aspect the shepherdess Melissanthi lost a sheep and as she tried to find it, she stumbled and fell into the lake. In the lake there is a small island, where the archaeologist S.Marinatos discovered Sanctuary of Pan, the findings of which are located at the Archaeological Museum of Argostoli. These findings are a clay figurine of the god Pan, a clay disk that shows nymphs dancing, a clay plate with a procession of nymphs and a small plate with embossed female figure.
To this unique lake cave we meet another phenomenon. The water penetrates the limestone, corrodes and creates pits, in a generating process called karstification. In 1963 it was found that the lake communicates with the entire karst network of the island. This confirmed by checking with colored water, which was channeled from the sinkholes (Katavothres) of Argostoli, at the other end of the island.
The tour of the visitor today is by boat and you can enjoy the magnificent spectacle of stalactites, crystal water, and sunlight that harmoniously coexist.

Castle of Saint George

On a hilltop in Peratata, outside Argostoli, is the castle of St. George, built in the 12th AD century from Byzantine emperors as the capital of the island. Subsequent interventions, notably by the Venetians, improved it and remained the capital of Kefalonia, till 1757. It occupies a total area of 16 acres, while the perimeter of the walls is 600 meters. It took its name from the old church of St. George which was at hilltop before fortification.
Today the visitor of the Castle of St. George can see the outer walls, built in 1504, churches and several buildings of the same era and what is left of a French-made bridge that connected the ramparts, inside. It stands out the church of the Annunciation, built in Ionian Baroque, which is preserved in excellent condition. It was the Metropolitan Church while the Castle of St. George was the capital and the Byzantine icons from the other churches that were in the castle have been gathered here. You can also see the ruins of the Catholic church of St. Nicholas, located in the courtyard of the fortress.
The most important historical spot of the Castle of St. George was in 1500, when it was captured back by Christian forces of Venetians and Spaniards, which got back Kefalonia from the Ottomans who had captured it in 1484. Historical sources also mention the existence of underground tunnel connecting the castle of St. George with Argostoli, but archaeological research has yet to reveal something.

Castle of Assos

The Castle of Assos in Kefalonia was built in the late 16th century during the Venetian administration of the island, and remains still in very good condition near the picturesque fishing village of Assos.
The Venetians decided that this peninsula, which is joined to the rest of the island with only a narrow strip of land, would be an ideal site to construct a castle-fortress that would protected the island from every aspiring attacker. Work began with the work of thousands Kefalonians in 1593 and completed two years later. But the plans of the Venetians for the creation of a large castle-city were unsuccessful, and since then and till 1968 where the last resident of the castle of Assos left, it remained as a complementary settlement to the outer one. The vaulted gate of Assos Castle is maintained untill today, while the walls which reach at about 3 km perimeter have also retained greatly. The residence of Venetian nobleman is also well maintained, and the barracks, which in the first half of the 20th century had been used as a prison, and also the only Orthodox church of the Castle of Assos, Prophet Elias, built in the 18th century, in the place of a smaller much older temple.

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