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Olympi Cave

Olympi cave (also known as Sykia cave) is located at the southern part of Chios, 31 km south of the city of Chios and 8 km from the medieval settlement of Olympi. More specifically, it is located at the site of Sykia, between the bays of Fani and Salagona. The cave is found at an altitude of 110 meters and is a 55 meters deep pothole. Amongst rocks and bushes, one may find the natural entrance of the cave which is a small opening of about 2X1 m. It includes a main chamber of about 30 X 30 m that is extended into an elongated part. Perimetrically to the main chamber, cavities have developed that in some cases shape other smaller chambers. The cave extends to a depth of 12,5 m beneath its entrance. The main chamber’s roof is practically horizontal.

Despite its small size, the Olympi cave has an exceptional decoration with stalactites and stalagmites, which classifies it as one of the most important caves in Greece. The extraordinary decoration has inspired speleologists that have given the various formations names such as Medusa, harmonium, cavemen etc. The decoration is usually yellow-reddish in colour. In certain parts of the cave it appears totally white or vividly red, due to the total absence or the large concentration of iron in the cave material.

The large boulders found in the cave are also very impressive. They have resulted from collapses mostly from the roof but also from the walls of the cave. Their size varies from a few cubic decameters to a few cubic meters.

What is more, in certain points one may observe the impressive development of eccentrites (a kind of speleothem that develops towards various directions) that seem to defy gravity as they do not develop vertically. This formation can be attributed to capillarity and electrostatic forces.

It is worth mentioning that the Olympi Cave is still active to this day. Thus, special precautions have been taken in order not to disrupt the micro climate inside the cave. A double door system has been placed at the entrance of the cave that protects its interior from possible airstreams. The temperature (18 grades Celcius) and the humidity (95%) inside the cave are practically stable throughout the year while guttation varies seasonally.

The sun rays enter the cave through its entrance and combined with the natural coloration of the rocks (red, yellow and white) they create impressive images that are not easily observed in other caves.

The cave is open to the public…

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