West Cyclades

CAVE "Katafyki - George Martinos Sybetheroulis"



Three are the main types of stones which are found in the greater of the Cave, the transformed garvic rock 600m. in the west of Dryopida and in the ravines towards Mericha, the schist and the marble found in layers between the schist.
The name of the cave "Katafiki" itself (shelter) reveals its usefulness during the past, when piracy ravaged the islands of Cyclades. One of the reasons why the village called "Syllaka" (what today is known as Dryopida) was built in this particular place was the existence of the cave which was used by the inhabitants of the village as a shelter in cases of piratical invasion.
The sightseer and archeologist named Loud Vic Ros when referring to his visit to the cave "Katafiki", on the 26th of December 1837, writes among other things: "The inhabitants of the village usually gather here (in the cave) on Easter Sunday and dance in the light of the lamp". In the cave there is a water hole where water flows and in which stalactitic and stalagmitic ornamentation has been formed.

Up to the mid 60s, when someone in the village suffered from various diseases (either stomachic or abdominal ones) took some water from the water hole, drank it and spread it on the part of the body having the problem.

However, Katafiki didn't get away from the "mining fever" of that period (1835 - 1910). The German specialist G. Fielder referred in his report in 1840 to the iron deposits that were mined from the galleries that had been rifted in the cave. The mining action is believed to have lasted from the beginning of the period to the Second World War -when almost all its stalactic wealth was destroyed- rather than from that time to the economical crisis at the end of 1910s.

The cave has got three substances, natural environment, folklore place, inactive mine, nucleus of a characteristic mining place in the beginning of the century on the island. It is the only cave developed in this last dimension in Greece.

The French sightseer Reglus, in 1910, mentions in his three-volume book that Katafiki is one of the most beautiful and remarkable caves and he considers it to be -along with the cave of Antiparos- the most important in the Balkan. In his second visit in 1937 he talks about destruction of one of the most beautiful caves in the Balkan, "the loss of the island of Kythnos should be regared as great as far as tourism is concerned".

The nomination of the cave as natural monument had been a vision for years for the inhabitants of Dryopida.  A lot of eminent Dryops disturbed the central administration asking for income and programs.

In 1969 the dear departed speleologist Petrochilou made the first impression of the interior which constitutes also its current visiting department after the request of the Hellenic Speleological Company.

In 1996 the native geologist Georgios Martinos (Sympetheroulis) member of a companionship, asked for the assistance of the President of the Community -and later Mayor of the island- as far as its development was concerned, something which resulted in his being assigned the study fo the elevation.

Since the day of the "Our Lady of the Canala" in 2003 and having as undertaker the President of the Republic Costi Stefanopoulo. the name of the untimely dead geologist accompanies the cave katafiki in its silence

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