Chania Caves

chania - the prefecture of caves

If the appellation "Prefecture of the Gorges" is not considered justifiable then perhaps the "Prefecture of the Caves" is more appropriate as it has more than 1500 land and sea caves.

A very prominent one is the cave of the Elefantos, close to Plaka in Apokoronas, which has an underwater entrance and has only partially been explored up to date. Apart from the white and red stalactites, it has become renowned worldwide for its 4 specimens of unique elephant (Elephas Chaniensis) and many of dwarf deer that lived tens of thousands of years ago.

The cave of Sfakia, close to the village Asfendou, is of great historical interest since it hides rock paintings from ancient times.

Then there is the cave-precipice of "Tzani" in Omalos with a length of 2,500 m and the group of precipices in the White Mountains with the most important being the 1208 m deep precipice of Gourgouthakas, the largest of the Balkans, with springs, waterfalls and rivers inside.

The cave of the Bear or of The Virgin Mary Arkoudiotissa, close to the monastery of Gouverneto in Akrotiri, with the stalagmite which resembles a bear, the reservoir with the "holy water" - a result of a drip - and the small church which is dedicated to the Ypapanti are also worth a visit.

Agia Sofia CaveBear Cave KatholikoAgios Antonios Cave ChapelTopolia Cave

So is that of Agios Ioannis the Hermit in the monastery of Gouverneto. One should also not miss out on: that of Agia Sophia in Topolia, with the church of the same name, with its 20 m high dome and its 70 m diameter whose surface is primarily covered by stalagmites, that of Agios Ioannis the Hermit in the Cave of Kisamos with the church of the same name which has large dimensions and a miracle-working stalactite and stalagmite, the Demonospilios in the slope of the gorge of Samaria in Gigilos, and many other smaller ones like that of Skourachlada in Keremia, of Samonas, of Kournas, and of Melidoni.