On the Trail in Greece: Kapsia Cave, Arcadia

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Kapsia cave

“You must take a short ride from Tripoli and see the Kapsia Cave,” said a friend. Taxi cab drivers are a tourist outlet for those who will not drive the mountain roads. Our nephew, sportscaster Kosta Mak, recommended taxi cab driver Dimitrios Tzokas, who also is a soccer player, to drive me through the mountains of the Peloponnese. These roads can be treacherous. A skilled taxi cab driver unfolds a Greek world with customs and traditions not seen in urban areas with immigrants. In late May, I explored the mountain road that led to the Kapsia cave with dynamic taxi cab driver Dimitrios.

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Kapsia Cave
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Kapsia Cave

Tripoli mayor Dimitrios Pavlis believes “a region is blessed to have natural beauty and historical sites. The Kapsia Cave is an exceptional natural creation. Its spectators have a magical experience. The city of Tripoli has attempted to have the Cave recognized in Tourism. Welcome to Arcadia, the city of Tripolis with her beautiful and blessed places. We invite all to visit the Cave of Kapsia that is one of the ten best places to visit. Enjoy our guide brochure that explains its history”.1

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Kapsia Cave
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Kapsia Cave

                Kapsia is my taxi cab driver’s home. The cave guide, Grigori, taught Dimitrios to play soccer as a child. In Arcadia, soccer is the favorite sport. “Kapsia supported me in playing soccer,” said Dimitrios. Being with a native speaker and speaking Greek uncovered a new world. Arcadians have a strong bond of loyalty. In Athens, I met an Arcadian taxi cab driver Vasili, phone # 6977-774-035, who tried to really help me because our family is from Arcadia.

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mumified child and bones of early Christians.

Grigori, who views the Kapsia Cave with intense love, explained “it is one of the top 100 caves in the nation. It is beneath the Mainalos Mountain.” French Archaeologist Gustave Fougeri discovered the cave in 1887, while he was carrying out excavations at ancient Mantinea.

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Kapsia Cave

The first survey of the cave was conducted on 20th of August 1892, by a French-Greek team headed by Nikolaos Sideridis, a state engineer with two French engineers. Publication of his study of the cave and the region’s sinkholes in the French professional journal “Spelunga” in 1911 brought the cave to the world’s attention. International interest in Greek caves resulted. 2  The History channel televised a program on ancient Greek caves. More tourist are interested in cave exploration.

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mummy of early Christian
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Kapsia Cave

Another French-Greek team led by I. Ioannou carried out further exploration in 1974. A new section of the cave was discovered. “Early Christians worshipped in the cave to avoid persecution,” said guide Grigori. “A flood or natural disaster sealed them in the cave. The bones, remains of a child and human being are mummified in the cave floor. This is very tragic.” Some of the rarest and spectacular formation of colorful stalagmites in Greece’s speleological kingdom (study of caves). The “Chamber of Wonders” has fiery red, yellow ochre (yellow to brown) and aquamarine colors mingled with snowy white configuration of stalactites show the finest of nature’s art.3       A school excursion was coming. They had a classroom area prepared for the cave’s explanation. A wonderful cave without commercialism.

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Guide Grigori (left to right) with taxi cab driver Dimitrios Tzokas
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writer

References:

  1. “KAPSIA CAVE, ARCADIA” (Brochure). (n.d.) Kapsia Cave, Arcadia, Greece.
  2. “KAPSIA CAVE, ARCADIA” (Brochure).
  3. “KAPSIA CAVE, ARCADIA” (Brochure).

 

 

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