We started our excursion from Porto Heli, which was also our base. Porto Heli is considered "cosmopolitan" but there are several unknown corners full of beauty and tranquility. After a short and challenging off-road journey, we reached the beach of "Bouka," which connects the sea with the lake of Ververonta. Legend has it that Berber pirates found refuge here centuries ago. From this word, it is considered that the lagoon took its name. Its waters are medicinal and are included in the European CORINE BIO-TOPS network. Next, we visited the sunken ancient city at the edge of the harbor. The ancient city of Aliens owes its name to its inhabitants, who were fishermen of the valuable "porphyry" shell. It is located on the southern hill of the bay of Porto Heli and was first inhabited in the Neolithic period. It was really sad for us to see the condition and abandonment of the space, where, by the way, the ancient Acropolis of Aliens is also located!!! What a pity. There is nothing else to say. From there, with a little disappointment accompanying us, we set out for the real purpose of our excursion: the sinkholes in the village of Didyma, as well as the unique church of Agios Dimitrios in "Avgo" with the unparalleled view all the way to the sea.
Of course, before the two specific destinations, we had to "discover" the prehistoric Franchthi Cave. The cave is one of the most important caves in Europe and certainly in the Eastern Mediterranean. It has a depth of 150 meters and an entrance width of 30 meters.
It was possibly first inhabited by the Neanderthal man during the Mousterian period 40,000 years ago, but certainly by Homo sapiens in the period after 30,000 BC. Until today, it has been explored through excavations for a period of 25,000 years, and there are indications that the cave was continuously inhabited from 20,000 to 3,000 BC, when it was destroyed.
It is also worth noting that the location is ideal for "overland" next to the sea. A unique experience that awakened our primitive instincts!
Then we "met" the dolines where the visit there is simply mandatory. History, myths and beauty accompany them. Stone tools from the late Neolithic era have been found in the caves, testifying to their use as a refuge from prehistoric times.
The chapel of St. George is a real gem of tradition and simple traditional art.
After our stop at the chapel, we climbed towards the wind turbines of Didymoi.
Route Basic with beautiful views towards the plain and the sea.
On the route, there are options (Advance+ / Extreme) for games as well as for practice in the bed of the dry river (descent).
The next stop was at the unique Monastery of Agios Dimitrios (Augou) at an altitude of 853 meters.
Legend has it that to make sure the spot was ideal for the monastery, they took an egg and threw it from the rocks.
According to the myth, the egg, despite falling from a high altitude, did not break. They understood that they had to build the monastery there and named it Monastery of Augou.
In 1825, the monastery was burned by Ibrahim Pasha's troops. It reopened after liberation, but not for long. In 1833, there was only one monk and three servants.
A year later, by royal decree of Otto, it ceased to operate.
The view is truly magnificent !!!
Also, in the Monastery's area, there is the "Archontariki."
The guesthouse-shelter is free for anyone who wants to stay and "feel" closer to God.
The Monastery operates only twice a year, on the feast day of Agios Dimitrios and the Holy Theodoroi.
The Monastery's founding is placed in the 11th century.
The descent towards the Radou gorge is of basic difficulty and is in a green area filled with low vegetation, olive trees, which lead to a dense pine forest. There is also a waterfall where one can easily swim in the waters alongside the turtles that live there. Our route led us to Iria where we completed our excursion. Iria is a small coastal village built on the shores of the Argolic Gulf and is "famous" for its artichokes. A visit to the small and picturesque harbor of the village is believed to be worth trying the "authentic" recipes of the local product. Thus, another excursion to the "other" Greece was completed and left us with images and emotions that will accompany us forever. We highly recommend it to everyone!
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