• ACTIVITIES

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    Mix together your favorite hobby with your vacations. West Macedonia uses her landform gifts to provide you, through modern facilities and organized trips, with the ability to accomplish the activity of your choice. Even if you are fan of x-treme sports or a peaceful trekking walk is the ideal for you, either you are an amateur or experienced, find easily what activity each count of West Macedonia has to offer and which season. 

  • NATURE

     

    The biggest river in Greece Aliakmonas, the second tallest mountain Smolikas and one of the biggest lakes Vegoritida are included in West Macedonia. Also, is the hostess of two natural parks, the one of Valia Calda and the park of Prespes, and the famous Dragon Cave. Imagine how many natural sights there are for viewing. Take a walk over a canyon, visit an underground cave or take a boating ride to a lake so you can make your connection with nature. Learn more about the natural sights of West Macedonia and choose your trip.

  • CULTURE

     

    Visiting other places you can see and learn from a closer view about their culture and history. West Macedonia has a lot to display in this area too,even from the prehistoric era. Get to know each count from a visit to a museum or sight, attending a local custom event and tasting a traditional cooking recipe.Find useful informations about the cultural proceedures, the sights location and the dates of the custom events.

  • TOURISM

     

    The only sure thing is that you 're not gonna regret choosing West Macedonia as your destination place for your vacations whatever the type of tourist you are. West Macedonia provides you with a variety of accommodations regardless of you staying to a far tiny village or a big city. Easily, find hotels based your needs across the four countys.

  • INFORMATION

     

    Find useful informations, telephone numbers and driving ordes through the interactive map. Also, take a taste of West Macedonia from our photo albums and the videos we present for you.

Underground caves and their history

Caves

What is it and how is created ?

The cave is a great cavity in the rock above of bellow the earth's surface.The caves are usually formed on limestome rocks , so it is decorated with stalactites and stalagmites , the most common way to create a cave is the dissolving action of thick limestone .The dilutive effect of water acts mainly along fractures in the rock , both vertically , and descends because of the rgavity and horizontally (undergorund rivers) . When the opening is completed and the expansion stops , starts the secondary desposition of the barbonate calsium where is the travertine and the characterist stalactites and stalagmites , the so called stone ornaments

Regional Union of Grevena

The entire region of Grevena and especially the verdant from pines and hillsides of Orliakas is full of caves.thes best known are: the Deskati cave located in Agia Paraskevi and the caves in the area of Zakas .Specificaly the 2nd route is impressive: from the outskirts of the village a cobbled path reaches the entrance of the canyon of Portitsa , with the homonymous stone bridge  , dating from 1743. The river narrows at the entrance of the canyon and an underground river guches through rocks.At the brow of the left wall  , invnisible from the base of the cliff , lies the Cell of Kalogria , a cave adorned with stalactites and stalagmites.Very near is the Vaenaki  , a through cave in the sharp rocks  , which from its wall dripping water.

The slopes of Orliakas and across mountains "tumble"in the river bed of the Venetian river , which is sandwitched in imposing narrow stone canyons.When the visitor has released by the beauty of theis landscape that keeps him anchored to the cliff edge he can take the dirt road that will bring him close to the river.There at the entrance of the canyon there is the famous double-Arched bridge Portitsa which was built in 1743.Above the exit of the canyon there is a beautiful and steep cave  , Cell Kalogria full of stalactites and stalagmites.

In mount Orliakas with altitude 1,433 which towers the village Zakas , there are caves where during World War II the residents were hiding so they can escape from Germans.In the mountain are nesting rare birds such as eagles and there is rare vegetation like Itamos , black pine , fir , maple.

Regional Union of Kastoria

Gkoloupintsa Cave

Τhe cave Gkoloupintsa is located on the eastern shore of the penisnsula of Kastoria. It grows on limestoneaged medium higher liastos in Pelegonian Zone.It consists of one main room , which communicates from two different inputs with a second  , at the bottom of which there is standing water.The level of this seems to communicates with the lake of Orestiada and be affected by this level.In the cave are observed trace of anthropogenic uses of the Ottoman period as well modern. 

Dragon Cave

The cave is on northern side of the city in the 2nd km of the lakeside road Sougaridi and just before the Monastery of Panagia Mavriotissa.The entrance is about 20 meters from the lake shore and 14 meters from the road.

Inside there are large terrestrialand lacustrine sections with impressive stalagmatic decoration as it includes 7 underground lakes , 10 rooms and 5 lanes -tunnels.The biggest cave hall has dimensions 45x17 meters with the central part elevated and sides reaching in the lakes.The big lake of the cave , which is the deepest lying west .The temperature inside the cave is stable all year to 16-18c whilethe humidity reaches 90%.  

Inside the cave of the Dragon cave found paleontological remains , the main bones of an arctos bear or cave bear (Ursus Speleaus) .This species lived in Europe during the Pleistocene and became extinct about 10,000 years ago .Its name comes from the fact that the fossilized remains almost remains exclusively located in caves , where apparently he was staying for longer , unlike the brown bear which used only the caves during hibernation .It is estimated that the weight of maleswas reaching 400-500kg and 200-250 kg for females.It was basically vegeterian and occasional carnivore.

It is important that it have been received all necessary measures for the safety of visitors and the interventions inside made with a way so nothing can change the physical condition of the cave.

For information regarding the visitable hours or prices of the tickets etc  http://www.spilaiodrakoukast.gr/

The existence of the cave does not seem to be known until modern times.In written testimonies of the Turkish rule era there is no mention for the cave  , nor in the oldest historical testimonials.It is speculated that the entrance of the cave until some era was not visible due to sedimentation , but also because the lakeside trail was rough and accessible only by the lake.Amateur explorers from Kastoria  , people with envirnomental sensitivites in the decade of 40 , the era that was drilled and the lakeside road by General Soungaridi were the first who discovered and described the great beauty of the cave and threw threw the first idea of the exploitation.This is the time that is recorded the myth about the "Dragon"from whom the cave took it's name.   

The Historic of Explotation

Kastoria owes much to our fellow Nick Pistikos , Kostas Frasia , Anastasios Basakymo , Th Morfidi and many others and later in 1954to the swedish explorer Linberg , who wandered inside the cave and informed the local community for the incomparable beauty stone decoration.In 1963 Kastorians scouts in cooperation with the Greek Speleological Society gave us the first rough mapping and the first photographs of the interior , while later the cave was recorded in the official Bulletin of the annual Greek Speleological Company.spilaiodrakou1

The first serious attempt was made in 1963 by Jonny Zervoudaki and G.S.S(Greek Speleogical Society) to complete the data collection and to train new speleologists.It was repeated in 1964 and 1965.The investigation and mapping of the Dragon cave escalated in 1966 and completed in 1969 by a team of G.S.S. led by K.Palikaropoulo , who alongside drew up a premeditation of turist use for the cave.

Followed and other explorations which always strengthened the view of the suitability of the cave for use. 

Slowly it starts to mature in the local community's view the need to exploit the cave and with constant press reports starts a pressure in this direction.

In 1995 , authorized officials from the Ephorate of Speleology of the culture ministry invited by the municipality , to carry out a research in the cave entrance and based on a earlier preliminary study of tourism by the civil enginer enginer Mr Palikaropoulos amateur speleologist in collaboration with the Association "Friends of the Envirnoment" , submitted a formal conclusion on the appropriateness and the exploitation potientiality.  

Subsequenlty the Municipality of Kastoria focused on searching funds  for the drafting of the  final study. The funds were secured by the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace and  the drafting of the study assigned to Kastorian scholars and supervisors of the technical service of Municipality.The study included all the necessary sub-categories of  studies , topographical , architectural ,static , electromechanical ,study of special fixatives operations , hydraulik ,envirnomental and management.Then the project "Exploiting Dragon Cave of Kastoria" Joined the R.O.P (Regional Operational Program) of est Macedonia.  

In1998 approved by the Ministry of Culture the tourist premeditation and the operations finally began in 2007.The project undertaken by the consurtium "Teligioridis -Felekidis"with co-supervision of the Ephorate of Paleoanthropology -Speleology of northen Greece.  

All the prediceted operations , so that the cave can be visited as well the landscaping and buildings that serve the en tire operation of the cave , implemented by mild methods of intervention especially within the order not to distort the rich stalactite decoration , while the external interference have architectural character that respects the local architectural traditions using local materials on the facades , stone wood and decrative ceramics.The Dragon cave opened its doors to the public on December 13 2009 and inagurated on December 29 2009 by the minister of Culture and Turism .Geroulanos and the president of the house Mr Petsalnikos.

The myth

"Many centuries ago that great cave that is before the monastery of Mavriotissa was a goldmine and have been guarding by a dragon that breathed and was gouged from his mouth flames and poisoned vapors.

After the building of Kastoria (7th or 9th century) the first king Castor , wanting to entertain his guest brother Polideukis and his father in law Kelly priest of the God , releaved this huge cave.However , the presence of the dragon prevented their approach to the cave.Then the king promised great gifts to him who kill the dragon.A young man showed.A fierce fight with the dragon started .Hitting it with a pole that trembled surrounding rocks and shaked the lake waters.The monster beaten and floated dead upon the water of the lake.They celebrated the fact and thanks was given to Pan.And then with lit torches they went to the cave with stoopingly heads so they dont strike them to stalactites.The depth extended in kilometers and the atmosphere was suffocating from the shortage of oxygen.In a place where the tunnel narrows extinguised the torches and thick darkness hugged them all.Then they heard an eerie voice say :He that will crouch to get a handful of mud thats steps he will regret it. The most brave one bended down and took mud and filled their bosom.The others who scared didint dared to do this.When they came out in sunlight the ones who kept the mud were surprised that they were holding liquid gold dust...."  

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Thats how describes the Folklorist D.Giannousis (Akropolis 7.11.54) the tradition about the Dragon cave

 

Cave Duchlos in Dispilo 

The cave Ntouchlos is located on the south shore of lake Kastoria in the village of Dispilio.It grows on limestone aged in the Triassic-Mid Jurassic.The Douchlos essentially  a through rockroof. Inside there is a small shrine dedicated to Saint Nicholas.This small village took its name from the cave that located 500 m from the village.It is built on the lake shore  , it has 750 inhabitants ans is interesting for the remains of stakebuilted lakeside Neolithic settlement .It is just 7km away from Kastoria.We are taiking about a place that has left residueof about 4,000-5,000 years.Think that archaelogists have for several years found Mycanean shells  , which means that we had Mycenean civilization.Somehow we think that the Mycenean civilization was only the palaces of Argoilida.He was here too, native ,without uriferous discoveries.Even some from archaelogist who are specialist in this timeline insists that the fence arround the settlement , until now believed to be of the 4th century but must be Mycenean because it has a cyclopean manner.A pumping system helps to absorb the waters of the lake and reveals the piles (864 so far).A little further from the excavation is the representation of the settlement.In 1998 the architect Nasia Hourmouziadis created a study based on the findings .So eight huts builtes and were furnished with repilcas of ancient utensils and tools exposed by the excavation.In a large park beside the lake , visitors can see how were the houses and who were the household equipment in a lake settlement of the Neolithic era.

Cave of Waters

The cave of Waters is located southwest of the village Kastanofyto.It grows on loam period of Miokainou and speleogenesis is a result of a crossing underground river.The cave has two entrances.The floor is entirely covered by sediments  , mainly sands and features cave decoration.The decoration is detected in the first three chambers of cave.In the same areas indentifiedand scattered findings from various eras.The total length of the cave is about 500 meters .The length of corridors exceed 1,000.The mappingof the cave has not yet been completed.

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Regional Union of Kozani 

Cave Eratyra

The Eratyra located in the Municipality Voio R.U of Kozani at the foothills of Mount Siniatsiko , between the western and eastern side of the mountain , at an average altitude of 770 .The cave is located on the east side of Sinatsiko at an altitude of 1200 m in the location bearing the name of Prophet Elias  , from the chappel above the village.The path to the caves starts from the village and the car can reach up to 960 meters altitude , where the dirt roas ends.Then we are ascending on foot to the chappel of the Prophet Elias , which is very typical for the area and its located at 1120 meters altitude. The waik from the car to the church takes about 40 minutes and there is no clear path.Since the church is the intermediate station and until the cave there are white arrows painted on the rocks that within a ten minute drive us with relative ease to the hole.On the way there are scattered grafities left on the rocks of the mountain , the shepherd Anastasios Chronis , the man that has asscociated with the history of the cave since it was he who descended first into the hole , on Good Friday 1962. The cave consists essentiall of only one chamber , substantially circurlar with a diameter close to 25 meters .Despite its small size it is a richly ornamented and has great variety in stalactite material.Inside the cave there is a small lake that hardly anyone sees it as the tranquility of the water , make it "invinsible".We realized the presence of the lake when during our tour , among the stalactites and stalagmites , we heard the characteristic splash produced when we disturbed the serenity of the water when a foot jumped in. αυτοκίνητο μπορεί να φτάσει 

Few remember where is because  Ontria to their longer part consists of identical recurring troughs with size approximately 30x30m with 10-15 metters depth , getting you confuded and very easily get lost in an area because of duplication and dense forest can be described as psychedelic.This is the natural border of the prefectures of Kastoria and Kozani , with a minimum deviation  to the R.U. of Kozani.A very large highland with countless ponds up next to each other , at around 1500 meters altitude.The old makeshift ladder does not inspire great trust as well as due to the moisture.After a relatively steep descent of 15 meters from the entrance of the cave and with the help of ropes  , as the wet rocks were slipping, the cave seemed to "pave".The spectacular of the cave is the height of which reaches 10 meters and in many points exceeds them.The interior is like a treadmill constantly turns right and left .Very rich is the decoration with stalactites and stalagmites and bones in a state of semi-petrification as the entrance is somewhat camouflaged as a result many animals to fall into it and traped as the first steps after the entrance are very steep and probably can not climb.If someone manages and enters the cave  , then he crosses very easily ,since it is an underground path with flat ground , as if has made by human hand.The cave is something special that makes you feel awe for it , with complete darkness and the water dripping.The walls of the cave are in several places whole covered with stalagmites and show with how much patience and passion "worked"thousands and perhaps millions of years the nature to build all these beauties.After 100 meters the runway ends and the caveascends , concluding in a very small opening that someone can not easily reach.

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 Regional Unity of Florina

Cave in Antartiko hospital of Prespes or Cave Kokkali 

Under Vrontero village and facing south , to the small Prespa  , ther eis a canyon that finally chosen to host the hospital of rebels.Inside the canyon  , relatively close to the shore of the lake  , there was a cave with a single chamber , able to accomomodate a considerable number of people.In there therefore i would setting up the hospital and according to witnesses , the cave initially dint not exceed seventy square meters so it can meet some basic needs , opened futher with hoeing tools and explosives by the englineers of the TER.

Today the small wooden bridge , a few meters before the entrance of the cave , accurately indicates the visitor that crosses the canyon , the height at which once stood the hospital.Special impression caused by wooden stairs and beams-columns in artificial parts of the cave and also the modern mini - electrical installation that exists inside remnats of the expolitation effort of the historicity of space but seem to stayed somewhere along this way.Basicaly it is a central chamber (logicaly the original cave before further drilling) , with two smaller chambers on both sides of the first and two upper levels- lofts accessedthrough a smalland a larger wooden staircase.The extent of the cave today must be close to two hundred square meters and the average height of about three meters.

The Rocky Caves

At the foothills of the urban forest-hill of Saint Panteleimona there are the rocky caves city in florina.A breath away from the historic city center where the shortest route is the square withe cannons at the height of the bridge.The entrance to the cave five or six entrances and interconnected by undergournd tunnels of the cave through a huge rock under the ground of the mountainside.

 

Cave "Panagia Eleousa"

In big Prespa there are several caves with bigger that of Panagia Eleousa.The littoral caves were hermitages in the Byzantine era of fugutive refuge in troubled times.At the the far end of the cave there is a tall chamber where its built inside the church of Panagia Eleousa with beautiful exquisite art images and in the background the image of Panagia Eleousa.The monument is unique and a visit to it animates the seasons of that era.With a ride by boat on the Big Prespa you can see from afar the caves along the coast and the various wall-paintings dating from the Neolithic perriod.

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