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The famous Caves of Diros are located at Mani (Peloponissos) approximately 286Km away from Athens. It is indeed a fascinating place, a must visit for everyone. They are part of an underground river, and the 5,000 meters that have been exposed are fascinating. From the entrance, skillful, whistling gondoliers steer small boats through narrow passageways, around beautiful formations of stalagmites and stalactites, their colors created by rain water penetrating the calcium carbonate in the rock. The caves have served as places of worship in Paleolithic and Neolithic times, they are thought by many to be connected to the Underworld!

The ancient Greeks believed that a deceased was carried by the god Hermes to the water and then he/she was escorted by Charon, the ferryman, across an underground lake or river to their last resting place in Hades. He received as payment an Obolos coin, which the family usually placed in the mouth of the dead to ensure their safe passage to the underworld. Without the Obolos, Charon would refuse passage and the soul would be doomed to wander in the world of the living forever. Such beliefs guided ancient Greeks to build sanctuaries and Nekromanteia in places where they believed passages to the underworld existed. The most well known nekromanteio exists by the river Acheron, while the sanctuary of Poseidon in Cape Tenaro, near the Diros cavern, was also recently identified as an important shrine of the Dead.

While the mythology of death has no direct connection to the Diros cave itself, cape Tenaro as a whole was a spiritual place for ancient Greeks, and sites such as the Diros cavern are volatile fuel for anyone's imagination.

USEFUL INFORMATION

DIROS CAVES
Open: daily 8:00-15:00

"VLYCHADA" CAVE
Telephone: +30 27330 52222

NEOLITHIC MUSEUM OF DIROS
Telephone: +30 27330 52223
Open: daily 08:30-15:00, Monday closed.

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