KALAVRITA



Kalavrita

- Scenic drive through the mountains and villages with Ancient Greece Tours
- Rack Railway
- Mega Spileo Monastery
- “Holy Lavra” Monastery
- Cave of lakes
- War Memorial
- Kalavrita Village
- Clock tower
- Shopping authentic traditional souvenirs and local produce
- Lunch at a traditional taverna
- Ski centre for photos



Kalavrita

Kalavrita is a town and a municipality in the mountainous east-central part of the regional unit of Achaea,Greece.The town is located on the right bank of the river Vouraikos,24 km south of Aigio,40km south east of Patras and 62km north west of Tripoli. Notable mountains in the municipality are Mount Erymonthos in the west and Aroania or Chelmos in the south-east.
Kalavrita is the southern terminus of the Diakopto-Kalavrita Rack Railway built by Italian engineers between 1885 & 1895. Today Kalavrita,preserving its historical significance as well as natural beauty,is a very popular and important destination. When you reach Kalavrita,you will realize the reason behind the towns well chosen name,since 'Kala Vryta' literally translates to 'Grand Waters'.And there is certainly an abundance of that.

Cave of the Lakes...

In Kastria,in the municipal unit of Lefkasi,there is the famous cave system Spilaio ton Limnon ('Cave of the Lakes')which is filled with beautiful lakes and strange rock formations. It was formally known as Troupisio.The cave is an old subterranean river consisting of three levels.During the winter when the snow melts it is transformed into a flowing river with waterfalls.During the summer it dries up leaving behind 13 lakes. According to Greek legend,mentioned in the writings of the ancient traveller Pausanias,it was in this cave that Melampus cured the two of the three daughters of Proetus,king of Tiryns,Lysippe and Iphianassa.The third daughter,Iphinoe,had died on the way.

Diakofto-Kalavrita Railway...

Is a historic rack railway in Greece located on the northern Peloponnese.It runs 22 km from Diakofto through the Vouraikos Gorge and the old Mega Spilaion Monastery and up to Kalavrita.An unforgettable journey through the evergreen and incredibly beautiful nature the Diakofto-Kalavrita Rack Railway is a memorable tourist attraction.It's a train that can reach high altitudes and operate on steep grades through territories of unique interest and spectacular views.
With an unparallel journey that lasts for about one hour and starts from Diakofto,the rack railway runs through the gorge of Vouraikos and the village of Zachlorou,ending up in Kalavrita.The train covers the 22 km journey travelling at a speed of 30-40 km/h when moving along the regular rack and 6-15 km/h when moving along the toothed racks.
The railway network is toothed on steep gradients.The classification of the railway as 'Rack' or 'Cog' comes from the cog wheels these trains use that mesh in the rack rail,helping them to operate on steep grades. The train features special pinions inside the wheels,which are used when the steep gradient increases and latch on the rail,both during the ascent and descent.

'Holy Lavra'...

Agia Lavra is a monastery near Kalavrita.It was built in 961 AD on Chelmos Mountain,at an altitude of 961 meters and can be described as one of the oldest monasteries in the Peloponnese. Built in the 10th century,it was burnt to the ground in 1585 by the Turks.Rebuilt in 1600,it was burnt again in 1715 and in 1826 by the armies of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt. In 1850 after the rebirth of modern Greece,the building was completely rebuilt.The monastery was completely burned down by the German forces in 194. It is famously linked with the Greek War of Independence since it was here that the call for 'Eleftheria I Thanatos'('Freedom or Death')was first heard on the 25th March 1821,launching the revolution against the Ottoman Empire.
To this day the vestments of Germanos,documents,books,icons,the Gospel of Tsarina Catherine II of Russia,sacred vessels,crosses,etc are preserved in the Monastery's museum,along with the holy relics of St.Alexios,given by Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaeologus on 1398.Pieces of embroidery,made with gold or silver threads woven in pure silk materials in Smyrna and Constantinople,are also possessions of the Monastery and they date from the 16th century.
On the hill opposite,a monument to the heroes of the Revolution of 1821 looks down upon the monastery.

Mega Spileo Monastery

According to a lot of people, it is the oldest Monastery of Greece and one of the most impressive Christian Orthodox pilgrimages.It is 10 km out of the town of Kalavrita.It took its name (Spileo=cave) from the cave where the icon of Virgin Mary was found. The Monastery of Mega Spileo was built in 362 AC by the brother monks Simeon and Theodoros who were from Thessaloniki.Each of them seperately saw a vision and they were both ordered to go from Jerusalem to Achaia and find the icon of Virgin Mary that was made of mastic and wax by Lucas the Evangelist. After wandering,the two brothers met a young shepherdess,Efrosini,who led them to the cave where the icon of Virgin Mary was.With great piety, the two monks took the icon out of the cave and cleaned the sacred place by removing the plants. When they burnt the branches, a dragon jumped violently towards the exit of the cave and it was killed by thunderbolts.In order to keep this miracle alive,a lot of reconstructions have taken place. Also, the dragon's bones were kept until lately.
Allot of other pilgrims started to come to this region. Also, a lot of cells were built and gradually the Monastery started to flourish and it became a centre of Orthodoxy and Hellenism through centuries. It played an important role in the Greek Revolution of 1821 and it was an inexpugnable fortress for its conquerors. The brave heroic answer of its abbot,Damaskinos in June 1827 to Ibrahim is known:"Its impossible for us to bow before you.If you come here to fight us and win,you won't do something bad because you will just beat priests.However if you lose,you will be ashamed!"And indeed Ibrahim was defeated after an epic battle and the help of Virgin Mary. Later in December 1943,the Nazis plundered,burnt the Monastery and killed 16 people,among them visitors,underlings and monks.They threw them down from a high rock.However,the Monastery had already survived from four destroying conflagrations in 840,1400,1600 and in 1934.However,the icon of Virgin Mary remained intact.

The ICON of PANAGIA MEGALOSPILIOTISSA...

It is Apostle Luca's work.It is believed that it was given from Apostle Lucas to his spiritual son,the ruler of Achaia Theophilos together with the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.Theophilos handed the icon down to his descendants.During the period of the persecutions,they hid it in the cave until it was miraculously discovered by Saint Efrosini.
The icon is embossed and it is 3cm thick.It is made of wax,mastic and other materials.On the icon,you can see Virgin Mary sitting,while her head bends slightly on the right side.On her hand,she holds Christ who sits on her knees.
In the Monastery,there are important holy and national relics:there is a rare banner with three Byzantine Emperors figures on it,natural costumes,a valuable cross made of Holy Cross and Gospels in parchments.In a special chapel,there are a lot of icons,reliquaries with lots of Saint's relics and the heads of the founders of the Monastery.

The Monastery celebrates on the 15th of August that is the feast Day of the Dormition of the Virgin. The Monastery of Mega Spileo makes people admire it as it is built in the shade of a steep rock on Helmos Mountain.It suits perfectly with the wild and impressive landscape of that region,as it is built at an elevation of 940 metres.This eight-floor Monastery that is situated on the rocks captures even the most indifferent visitor.You can visit it either by car (Ancient Greece Tours) or on foot,through the path of Zachlorou.

Ski centre...

The ski centre of Kalavrita is known as one of the biggest in Greece and as one of the two in the world that combine ski in the mountains and swimming in the beach of Diakofto,located only 20 km away.
Activity level: Moderate
Duration: Full day
Type: Ancient History, Sightseeing, Religious, Walking, Full Day

All Monasteries are open from sunrise to sunset.

Cave of Lakes: Opening hours of the cave
Daily from 09:30am to 4:30pm. Holidays and summer time extension… From July 1 to August 31 the cave remains open to 9:00am to 5:30pm
Saturdays and public holiday 9:00am to 6:30pm

Itineraries Rack Railway Diakopto - Kalavrita

From Diakopto
Daily
08:45, 11:15, 12:33 (weekends only), 14:32, 15:50 (weekends only)

From Kalavrita
Daily
09:57, 12:27, 14:30 (weekends only), 15:50, 16:50 (weekends only)

Tickets: 9.50€ one way, 19€ return
    Quality Transport
    Wifi Services
Admission to archeological sites
Certified tour guide
Personal expenses
Travel insurance
Optional activities