Natural Environment

Of particular importance for the ecology of the area is the presence of Taygetos, «the male mountain» according to Vrettakos, the highest peak of the Peloponnese, the Prophet Elijah (elevation 2,407). The Taygetos ridge starts from Lagada the col with the northern Taygetos and reaches the Oitilo the col with Sangia and is heading North to South. Large gradients result in rapid runoff of rain and intense erosion that created and large ravines Rintomos and Vyros. Taygetos presents excellent chloridate interest because total includes 32 plants – endemics – the mountain and over 100 endemic plants, while rich is the variety of mushrooms. Also, because of its geographical position is on the migratory path of birds, the Taygetos belongs to important areas for birds in Greece.

In the mountainous area (1.000-1.800m) where the summers are cooler and more rain, are meeting coniferous forests and grasslands in drier and more barren. Dominant is the kefalonian fir species endemic to central and southern Greece), while widespread is the presence of black pine, particularly in areas where flysch as the forest of Vasiliki.

Vasilikis Forest, Exohori

dasos-vasilikis_smThe Vasilikis Forest covers about 11,000 acres of forest land, mostly spruce and pine and extends into the southern part of the range of Taygetos.

From this position Agios Dimitrios we can get the international path E4 and then descends to enter the bed of the ravine Vyros in the Shadow of the Prophet Elijah and spoiled mountain direction Kardamyle. Walk in the footsteps of the ancient Royal Road of the kings of Lakedaimonos who had access to the western shores of Tainaro. Pass sites Dilagkado and Trotsky and After 5 – 6 hours uphill to the left side of the ravine for Exohori (altitude 420m.), Which is 10 km. drive from Kardamyle. For the Royal Forest access from Exohori with forest road 21km.

 

GORGES

Gorge Vyros

faragi-virou_smThe canyon Vyros on average around 20km., Is one of the largest and most impressive gorges in Greece. The entrance starts at Tseria, just outside Kardamyle and goes deep into the heart of Taygetos, below the peak of Montenegro.

You can walk to the springs Vyros river, with a distance of 2 hours and 30 minutes. Walking across the length is very difficult, because the paths are lost in the dense vegetation.

Near sources Vyros saved several old mills, which you can visit. The various marked trails, which pass all of picturesque villages with Byzantine churches and beautiful stone buildings, offer the opportunity for a pleasant trip.

The canyon Vyros one can plnsiasei more easily from the villages Tseria hut and Exohori.

 

 

Gorge Noupantis
Gorge Noupantis begins to form from the Monastery of Vaidenitsas (3km after Saidona and on the way to offshore) and ends after 8 kilometers in crystal beach Foneas between Stoupa and Kardamyle.

The gorge is the natural exit basins of rainwater a high mountain basin of Western Taygetou defined by the vertices Savior (1.377m.) Fennel Brigade (1.690m.), Montenegrins (1.909m.) Agiokirykos (1.470m. ) Castle or Provora (1.298m.) and other lower.
The canyon is filled with caves, many of which are inaccessible, as they are high on the vertical red cliffs.

The time required to cross the ravine someone from the Monastery of Vaidenitsas up beach Fonea is 5 hours 30 minutes to 6 hours and 30 minutes. It’s possible through the conserved paved path that begins outside the Saidona and 30 minutes to reach someone in the middle of the length of the gorge and then continue downwards and from 3.30 to 4 hours is found in the beach murderer.

Gorge Rintomos

faragi-rintomou_smO Pausanias calls it «Xoirio Napi» ie «valley fever.» It starts from the ridges of Taygetos (from Luka Neraidovounas (2031m.), crosses Avia near the villages of Wells, Center (Gaitses), deceit and ends on the coast of Santovas the Messinian bay, next to Stoupa.

The canyon Rintomos is a rich geomorphological features formation. Throughout its length see plethora of geological phenomena such as near-vertical slopes, the heavy folds of rock and faults.

The excellent paths to wells and Altomira a natural passage to the canyon and is accessed from the Gaitses or the Koskaraka (Koskarga), with its lovely old bridge near the road Kalamata – Campos.

 

 

Gorge Stepenis
Starts from Karyovouni and Milea and ends on the beach of Agios Nikolaos Pantazis.

CAVES

Marine cave «Shelter Vatsinidi», Proastio
In the suburban area, after Kardamili, is the outstanding natural beauty marine cave «Shelter Vatsinidi» or «Votsinidi.» Is at its lowest point in a dolini (draft), the location Lazos and 25m. to the right of the road, with two entrances protected lithotoichous to protect the surrounding residents who took refuge in it.

It has two main compartments with huge large ponds of sea water that are connected by corridor and other smaller halls with ponds.
Lakes occurred flattened surfaces like docks and dry-stone walls, covered by stalactites that testify to the very old human settlement. Detailed exploration was made by Mr. I. Ioannou and covers an area of ​​2.400m2 of which 1,100 sq.m. covered by sea water.

The «First Chamber» has dimensions 31CH66 is covered by lake (16CH52), while a skylight at the left edge of the roof allows the entrance of rays of the sun reflecting in the water and transform the environment puck palace.

Here lakeside walkway uphill ground us to the «second chamber» size 36CH55 who cover two lakes and impressive stalactite decoration, reflecting on akymanta water lakes. The stalagmitic bands developed on boulders framing the magical landscape.

Cave «Katafigio» Agios Nikolaos
In Agios Nikolaos, on the road to Traxilas lies untapped cave Katafigio outstanding natural beauty. According to experts, the cave is one of the largest in Greece, with runways 700 meters and a total area of ​​2700 square.

Previously, an underground river ran through the cave, opening various channels. Today’s grand entrance to the cave was leaving the river. The interior decoration of the cave is spectacular, as it consists of impressive stalactites.

Cave «Katafigio» Traxilas
In the region of the cervix, is another cave, Mani, the «three-story» of the cervix. After the village the road leads to a dead end and leave there car. In the cave we reach after course 1 hour, about, crossing difficult path along the coastline.

The impressive entrance is sheltered by a wall with a small opening that illuminates the area where residents had installed oven. Experience shows that it was used as a shelter by the local people, the time of raids.

It is flat cave and its rooms have been decorated with huge stately columns, stalactites and stalagmites. It has rich speleological fauna (bats, dolichopoda) and traces of older and medieval habitation.

There are local water collections, and found objects and modern times. Rooftop nest hundreds of bats, which come from the second external opening located higher than the entrance of the cave.

Cavern Lycurgus, Doloi

spilaio-likourgo_smLocated in the Dolon area over the church of St. Nicholas. His name was given in honor of Lycurgus Gaitanarou, the owner of the property where there is a cave. A short distance from the road is the vertical entrance to the cave, which requires use of ropes and therefore specialized speleological knowledge and proper equipment. Routes of exceeding 300m., While the area covered is 1000m2.

The cave opens up into three floors-levels, decorated with colorful impressive lithomatika bands and finely ornaments abnormal development. The roofs hanging stalactites, while stagonoroi has created forest complexes and columns. Amazing is the mikrodiakosmos the cave with the famous «eliktites» – transparent stalactites miniatures-that defy the laws of gravity and maneuver in all directions.

Sources: www.magicmessinia.gr, http://www.sotirianika.tk/, www.mani.org.gr