18, 28 October 2020
SAINT THEODORA – KAPSIA CAVE – MANTINEIA ARKADIA – AGIA FOTINI – OAK FOREST – PAMISOS RIVER – LOUTRAKI
SAINT THEODORA – KAPSIA CAVE – AGIA FOTINI
The church of Saint Theodora is located near Vasta Megalopolis. It is a building probably of the 12th century. Tradition states that the miracle of Nature is related to the martyrdom of the Saint. But what is the miracle of nature: A small church surrounded by seventeen (17) trees. Their branches sprout from the roof while their roots, which are not visible, pass through its walls to end up in the ground. It is certain that if a human factor intervenes to cut down the trees or to improve something in the church, the building will be destroyed. Plenty of water running in the creek below the church waters the trees. Both together, river and trees, is the wish of Saint Theodora who, as it is said, prayed in her prayer shortly before she martyred “my hair should become trees and my blood a river to water them”.
Behind the mountains of Arcadia, in the fertile valleys of Mantineia, almost in the middle of nowhere, a strange but completely charming building emerges. Based on the static rules of antiquity, the church of Agia Fotini is an idiosyncratic life work of the architect Costas Papatheodorou, which resembles more a work of art than a conventional construction work. Stones, marbles, columns and other remains from buildings of the surrounding villages (and not from antiquity, as one might reflectively think) seem to have rolled on top of each other to compose an ensemble that defies any kind of architectural rhythm, style, line and perhaps the logic itself.
The first cave to be explored on Greek soil, but one of the last to be handed over to the public, the Kapsia Cave, with six and a half thousand square meters explored, is considered one of the most impressive in Europe, and rightly so. It is not only the countless formations of stalactites and stalagmites that awe the visitor, it is also the ubiquitous pale red line, like a metaphysical horizon, that has engraved on the walls and columns of the cave, its macabre history: signs of an old flood, that had swallowed the cave in the early Christian years, the water that had been trapped in the galleries and in its openings is responsible for the many visible fragments of human bones of believers who had built their secret shrine here, where they found a horrible end.
Meeting and departure at 07:30 in the morning from our office. Stop at the Isthmus of Corinth.
We will visit the Kapsia cave, a miracle in the bowels of the earth. The experts have classified it in the selected list of the ten most remarkable caves of the Greek territory. The cave proves to be a book of recording geological events. It has left certified traces of a major flood. At the same time, lamps, tools, bone fragments that tell the story of survival come to light from the depths of the earth.
One of the areas of the cave of Kapsia is called «the hall of wonders». Explosive colors, red, yellow and blue create a work of art of incomparable beauty made by nature itself. Stalactites and stalagmites, waters that move in the stillness of the earth, colors and patterns and the living soul of the planet create a reality that the human mind cannot comprehend.
We continue to Mantineia and visit the church of Agia Fotini (peculiar architecture), the Archaeological site and the well of Iakovos, where according to tradition Agia Fotini met with Christ.
Then we depart for the church of Saint Theodora.
In a magical route and in a ravine with dense forest of enormous oak trees we will face the mystery that surrounds the roof of the church and we will see the traditional watermill on the banks of the Pamisos river. Free time for lunch in a local tavern of the area. In the afternoon we take the road back with a stop in Loutraki for coffee. Arrival in Athens and end of excursion.
Prices per person:
18, 28 October 2020
- Transportation by luxury air conditioned coach.
- Leader – guide of our office.
- Liability insurance.
- Everything that is not explicitly mentioned in the program or referred to as optional or proposed.