Palioúri

17°C
Scattered clouds

Petralona Cave

The existence of an abundance of caves in a country where 65% of the soil is limestone, is perfectly normal. After all, Greece is the second country after China with the largest number of caves in the world. Several thousand of these formations have been explored, mapped and studied, while more than 100 have been described from visitors as remarkably interesting.
In 1959 a peasant from Petralona, in Halkidiki, northern Greece, in an effort to find sources of water for the needs of the village, found a small slit on the slope of the Goat mountain. Two adventurous youths descended with rope to a depth of 13 meters and when they showed up they described the existence of beautiful formations of stalactites and stalagmites, which they have never seen before in their lives.
The same year, the first scientific exploration and study of the cave was conducted by the President of the Greek Speleological Society, John Petrohilos and Anna Petrochilou. The investigations that followed, until 1964, revealed a large number of chambers and corridors, height 8-10 meters, with an impressive decoration.
The rocks look like giant cactus, pink pearls, persistent columns or thin curtains, and in many places the water ponds were fed by stalactite material.
Apart from the natural beauty and the size, the cave is very important, as it presents anthropological and paleontological interest. In 1960, during the research, the most important finding was the skull of a primitive man, unique in Greece, which is now at the University of Thessaloniki. He lived about 200,000 years ago, belongs to a transitional form between Homo erectus and Homo Sapiens and is the earliest evidence for human presence in Greece. The skull was covered by stalactite material. They were also found fossilized bones and teeth of regional fauna including bears, hyenas, lions, leopards, rhinos, deer and horses. The fossils, along with a number of tools made of stones and bones, which were used by the primitive inhabitants of the cave, exposed in the Paleontological Museum, located just a few steps away from the cave.
The investigation continued until 1976. With a grant from the Greek Tourism Organization and the care of the Greek Speleological Society, the cave is open to the public since 1979. It covers an area of 10,400 square meters, the length of the runways is 2,000 meters and the temperature remains constant all year around at 17 ° C (± 1 ° C).