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Caves in Eastern Crete

Peristeras caves (Karidi - Palekastro)




Caves in Eastern Crete

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Megalos Peristeras Cave


Located approximately 1.3 km east of the village of Karidi, 22 km from Palekastro and 20 from Sitia. There are two noteworthy caves ίn the Karidi area, both with traces of inhabitation. They are the Katofygi cave at Limnilakkos and the Peristeras cave. This latter is one of the more important Cretan caves. It is some 300 m north of the public road, and the place is known both as Platyvolo and Peristeras. The mouth of the cave is 540 m above sea level. It is a deep subterranean cavern opening into Jurassic lίmestone, and there is a difference of 63 m between the level of the entrance and the lowest point.

The opening is 23,5 m wide and 12 m high, but a big rock fall prevents close examination of much of the entrance area. From here one passes into a huge chamber 80 m deep and 35 m wide; at one part the height varies between 2-12m. At the left of the back of this chamber a narrow gap leads, after a sharp drop of 4m, into a series of curved chambers which swing round to connect υp again with the left wall of the main chamber. Nature has adorned the first two chambers richly with stalagtites, stalagmites and pillars of stone. In the third and fourth chambers human bones were found, and other signs of habitation. From eχamination of the sherds it has been concluded that the cave was in use from the Εarly Μinoan to the Late Μinoan period, and also in Byzantine times.

From the book "Sitia", N.Papadakis, Archaeologist,1983

Megalos Peristeras
You have to leave your car 1 km before you reach Karydi, at the point where there is an abandoned appurtenance of a bulldozer. Then you start walking to the north. There is not a path
On your way to the cave, there is a wonderful view and you really enjoy the beauty of the area!
The opening of the cave as seen from the above
Its length is estimated of 100m
The main room is big enough
Because of gliding the biggest part has been covered by rocks
Mikros Peristeras
If you visit the cave in September you will have the opportunity to taste the fantastic apples of the area, finding them in abandoned gardens
The entrance of the cave. The distance between the two caves are 2.5 Km.
Our exploration stops here. If you want to go on, you need a rope in order to get down this opening
Marvelous colour alternations on the walls
Returning back to the exit...
Peculiar shapes on the roof
The cave is located just in the bed of a small river
The superb landscape around the cave impressed the visitor as well as the cave

Feature of the area is the trim temple of St. John, which shines imposingly in the midst of the wild, but captivating beauty of cretan countryside

Returning from Mikros Peristeras you have a panoramic view of the region of Karydi, which seen at your left in the photo

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