Melissani Cave. Greece
The island of Kefalonia in Greece is very popular among the tourists. Its magnificent nature, architectural and cultural monuments amaze the imagination. It is rich in a variety of caves, and one of them is particularly notable – Melissani Cave with a wonderful Melissani Lake inside. In Greek mythology it is known as the Cave of the Nymphs.
This place is located not far from the island’s capital, Argostoli, approximately 2 kilometers north-west of the city Sami. The cave of the nymphs is considered a divine place and for a long time it has been used for religious sacraments. At various times, people found here “mysterious” objects, among them: a clay figure of the god Pan (the god of the woods, shepherds and hunters), a clay disc, which depicted the dancing nymphs, and a small plate with a relief pattern of woman. All of these ancient relics are in the museum of Argostoli now.
The name of this beautiful place of course is associated with a legend. It says that once here lived a nymph Melissani who was in love with Pan. But he did not share her feelings. She didn’t want to live anymore, and in despair, the girl drowned in the underground lake.
The lake is located 32 meters above the sea level. It is illuminated by a bright light through a huge hole in the “ceiling” of the cave. Melissani Cave appeared 20 thousand years ago thanks to the dissolution of rocks. Water from the Ionian Sea was gradually making passages in the limestone rocks, destroyed them and created hollows. Then, the earthquake played its role. The tremors have destroyed part of the rock, made a hole and amazing lake was discovered in that place.
In 1963, the cave and the lake were officially investigated by Austrian specialists. During the study, it was found that in some places the lake reaches a depth of 40 meters. And it was in 1963, when the cave and the lake acquired the title – a tourist attraction.
Bright azure color of the water, thanks to the lighting through the top opening, makes the cave glow and play by a variety of colors and shades! It beckons people to walk by boat in such a romantic place. The water here is so clean and transparent that it seems the boat is floating in the turquoise weightlessness! This is a saltwater lake – the water gets here through the underground channels in length of 14 kilometers from the Ionian Sea.
This is truly a beautiful place – the cave is decorated with stalactites and stalagmites, and the entrance to the cave is immersed in green plants, the cave itself is surrounded by a dense forest.