www.jr-creative-images.co.uk - Stock Photo Library

Drogarati Cave is one of the most impressive caves of the Greek islands. The community of the village Chaliotata developed the cave into a tourist attraction in 1983.

It is 60 meters below the earth's surface with a temperature of 18 degrees centigrade and moisture of 90% (which I felt immediately when I entered). It was not until I started the very steep descent down the steps that lead the visitor inside the cave that I appreciated how far below ground I was venturing.

The myth told by the locals is that it took the name "Drogarati" as it was once the home of a dragon. However, the cave was discovered around 900 years ago, due the collapse of part of it as the result of an earthquake, thereby revealing the whole cave.

Walking inside this large cave and being surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites that are over 100 million years old was an amazing, magical experience. The creation of just one centimeter takes 100 years, and they can only be formed in underground caves.

Stalactites are formed by the movement of rainwater, which starts at ground level and travels through the rocks above the cave, soaking up the mineral components of the rocks as they go, iron, copper, salt, calcium, and others. The water then reaches the end of a stalactite as droplets and dropping slowly from the tip, they are held to grow very slowly. When the flow of water is stronger, and the minerals do not have time to stay in the stalactite, the droplets fall to the ground, and along with the rest of the elements, they create the stalagmites. After thousands of years, stalactites and stalagmites grow together to form a column.

A cave is the perfect place for this, as it's protected from the weather, so erosion doesn't wear things down. The water that leaks in has travelled through the ground picking up minerals on the way. And of course, a cave is an open space that allows just a little of the water to evaporate and leave tiny bit of the mineral deposited on the growing stalactite or stalagmite. No one disturbs things, so a steady drip can go on for thousands of years in the same spot, making some of the most beautiful formations found on earth.

This amazing natural phenomenon is found in "Drogarati" cave . . . I left with a feeling of wonder at nature's beauty!

Return to Map

Copyright ©2004 John Reali - www.jr-creative-images.co.uk - All Rights Reserved