Caving in Crete



Theriospilios Cave at Kavousi
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Theriospilios is a small cave in the position Chyloftes - Therio, northwest of the village Kavoussi  at an altitude of 50m, on a steep windswept slope above the sea. Visitors can reach the cave from Kavoussi after driving in a bad dirt track heading to Chryssokamino and then descending 5 minutes in a steep rocky slope. The entrance is hard to find without the coordinates, as it is very small and not visible even from a short distance.

Theriospilios has a total length of 44m, 25m maximum width and height 0,5 - 7m. After the entrance of the cave, the visitor enters a low hall with dimensions 7m x 8m. The following room is spectacular, with dimensions 37m x 25m and 1.6-7m high, with sloping floor. It bears rich decoration, while there are many bats, especially in spring, while guano (bat excrement) forms small hills. 

Small and large columns are scattered everywhere. Groups of stalagmites shape impressive complexes, while a high white stalagmite is really magnificent. Two stalagmites have been broken; the one is laid on the floor and the other one is inclined. This phenomenon is rare and has caused the interest of cavers. The far left of the hall is a blocked cesspool, from which water flowed when the cavern was a river bed.

Near the cave is the "Chrysokamino” with dimensions 40m x 13m. According to Paul Faure, it is the remaining part of a mining kiln from the later medieval period. According to all evidence, this has been used by Gypsy copper-workers.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Lassithi Prefecture
  • Type: Horizontal Cave

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