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Exploring the Magical River Cave of Maara in Drama, Greece

Cave of Maara
Aggitis Cave. Credit: Dimikis60/CC BY-SA 4.0

When you arrive at the entrance of the Cave of Maara you will be enchanted by ancient platanus trees lining the Aggitis River. The river cave is located at the southern foot of Mount Falakro, just 25 kilometers from the northern Greek city of Drama.

The cave, which it takes its name from the river which runs through it, is an elongated natural channel which serves as almost the only outlet for the waters collected in the enclosed basin of Kato Nevrokopi.

Angitis source inside the cave
The source of the Angitis, inside the cave. Credits: Neptuul/CC BY-SA 4.0

The riνer begins at the springs at Maara, then crosses the western side of the lowlands, and later, having the waters at Philippi added to it, the Aggitis then pours into the Strymon River. It spans a length of 21 kilometers, which ends at a narrow area, where visitors are able to experience the magic of this cave.

At the present time, more than 8 km (5 miles) of the cave have been explored, but only 2.5 miles of it is accessible to visitors. Visitors can enter the cave from the man-made entrance which has been created, and walk for about half a kilometer into it. Stalactites of various forms, sizes and colors hang above the cave, seeming to reach down to those walking along the bridge spanning the waters.

The magical exploration of the River Cave of Maara in Drama

Once you enter the cave, you will see the Aggitis River flowing through it, while multicolored stalactites in a variety of shapes can be seen creating a magical canopy over the underground waters of the river.

This unique cave is the largest river cave in the world and the only one of its kind in Greece.

wall
Wall of the Aggitis River cave. Credtis: Kladema/CC BY-SA 4.0

Its roof is full of stalactites, some of which have a diameter of 2 meters (6.5 feet) and reach down to touch the surface of the water. Their colors are varied and lovely, with a special iridescence due to the existence of minerals such as manganese, iron and copper.
An area in the cave called the “Acropolis Hall” is especially impressive.

Cave
Maras Cave. Credits: DocWoKav/CC BY-SA 4.0

It is the largest single space ever discovered inside a Greek cave, at 120 meters (394 feet) long, 65 meters (213 feet) wide and 45 meters (148 feet) high. Its size, stalactite decorations and the river flowing along it, creating underground banks and rocky formations, making for a truly eerie atmosphere.

Water wheel in Aggitis cave
Water wheel in Aggitis Cave. Credtis: Dorin360/CC BY-SA 4.0

This ancient cave has only recently been explored. The first recorded exploration took place in 1952 by paleologists Yannis and Anna Petrocheilou from the Hellenic Speleological Society. In 1978, more scientific explorations were executed by a team of French speleologists in collaboration with the Hellenic Speleological Society.

Be sure to check out this breathtaking cave while visiting Greece. It is normally open daily, including weekends. Monday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 5 pm and Sundays and Holidays from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm.

 

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