Kefalari Cave – Μυθική Πελοπόννησος

Kefalari Cave

Two prehistoric caves are located in the picturesque village of Kefalari, on the legendary mount Haon. They were inhabited from the prehistoric to the historic ages. Excavations carried out in the site brought to life findings that date back to the Neolithic age and objects dating to other periods of the Stone Age. During the Turkish occupation, a lot of people found shelter in the caves, establishing a small community with a secret school. The caves were also used as a place to worship Dionysus and Pan. Today, one of the caves hosts the church of Zoodochos Pigi (Our Life Giving Lady) of Kefalari

The picturesque village of Kefalari is located 5km south of Argos, on the road to Tripoli. The prehistoric caves in the legendary rocks of mount Haon amaze visitors. They are 110m deep and in the past they formed a river bed. Ancient Greeks believed that the waters of Lake Stymphalia were streaming out from the cave and held an annual festival, Tyrbe, dedicated to Pan and Dionysos. Engraved niches on the cave’s wall are believed the have had votive statuettes.

Excavations carried out in the early 20st century, and more systematically in the 70s by German archaeologists, brought to light a large variety of Neolithic ceramic findings. Among the finds were stone and bone tools that date to the early Paleolithic and Mesolithic age and a few that date to the Early and Middle Helladic Age and the Geometric and Classical Age. The caves, however, still keep some hidden secrets as they have not been totally excavated.

The caves played an important role during the harsh period of the Ottoman Occupation offering refuge to Greeks who were engaged in guerilla warfare.  A “Secret School” was also established here and was very important as it helped maintain the Greek language.

The impressive church of Zoodochos Pigi (Our Life Giving Lady) of Kefalari built in one of the caves and the streaming waters flowing next to it form a wonderful scene.

 

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