Cave of Agia Sophia at Mylopotamos
This very important cave is located approximately 3,5 km west of Mylopotamos, on a steep rocky coast and at a height of 60 meters above the sea level. Directed from west to east, with a maximum depth of 1,5 m, maximum height of 7 m, area of 2.200 m 2, temperature of 18 C, humidity 64% and the elaborated touristic - visitable route is of 220 m from the total 500 m, which extends to the length of the cave.
Immediately after the entrance of the cave, at a distance of 15 m there a simple small church is formed which is dedicated to Agia Sophia and her three daughters Faith, Hope and Love. In its built iconostasis the following figures painted are : Agia Sophia, Holy Love, Holy Hope, Holy Faith, Agios Nikolaos, Agios Panteleimon Priories, Saint Theodore of Kythera, Saint Theodosius, Archangel Michael and the supplication scene with Christ in the middle, sitting on a throne holding an open Evangel. Right to Christ the Holly Virgin supplicated and at His left St. John the Baptist also supplicated, between Christ and Holly Virgin, among others, the inscription referring to the name of the painter Theodore is preserved.
Frescoes are of fine art, dating back to the last quarter of the 13th century, according to the great historian of Byzantine art and academic Emmanuel Hadjidakis. Previously, the murals thought to be dated back to the 12th century, but this has now changed and we all accept the late 13th century. Previously, the frescoes were dated back to the 12th century, but this has now changed and we all accept the late 13th century.
Immediately after the iconostasis and the space occupied by the temple begins the tour of the cave. First we find the chamber with the bath of Venus, then the Amber room, the Hall of Cypresses, the chamber of bats, the hall of fir, while the path ends in Swan Lake, which is the most scenic pond of the cave. At this point the visitors have already traveled a 220 m route. The following five other rooms are not open, because the activity (i.e. continuous visit of people) would cause irreparable damage to the slow creation of new stalactites which are still in liquid form.
The cave was explored in details by the pair of reputed Kythirian cavers John and Anna Petrocheilou in 1955, when also mapped. Its evaluation, after study by Ms. Anna Petrocheilou began in the late 1970s. Recently, in 2010, a photovoltaic system with cold light lamps was placed to protect the stability of the temperature of the cave, which is a key parameter to maintain life and the creation of its sensitive place.
The cave was used in earlier centuries, probably from the 13th until the 17th, as ascetic monk – hermit, monks to meet their needs in drinking water built a reservoir of water a few meters north of the entrance of the cave. The four vertical walls still survive while the roof has collapsed long before.
According to mythology Paris together with Helen of Troy come here, where they had their wedding not for Helen to consider lover of Paris. Also according to the legend, Helen of Troy created in the cave the first nursery providing shelter, care, and warmth to abandoned babies. For these reasons, this cave is classified as mythological cave and has now joined the relative global list.
Access is up to a proximate place to the cave by car via asphalted road, while from the parking near the cave there is a cemented path with safe wooden handrail that leads visitors to the entrance of the cave. In time, every summer, the days and times that the cave opens are announced and the timetable of tours within the cave. During the two months July - August it opens daily (7 days a week) for visitors, usually from 11.00-17.00 hours. While in June and September, that is also open, visitors should call in advance the Municipality of Kythera (tel. number 27360 -31213) to know the working days and hours or check out our website.
It is well worth visiting the cave. It is certain that you will be impressed by the cave and the surrounding landscape. Finally, you can combine the tour in the cave with swimming in the crystal waters of Limiona beach, or if you want to combine adventure and swimming together go hiking carefully to the Fanokopia. These are located in the middle of the way from the cave to Limniona.