Kalavryta tour departs in the morning from Athens heading to Diakopto, where we will take the train on a rack railway to Kalavrita. Going through Vouraikos Canyon, we will admire one of the most beautiful natural sights in Greece (Kalavryta is the terminal of the Diakopto-Kalavryta rack railway, built by Italian engineers between 1885 and 1895.). Arriving to Kalavryta, we visit the famous Monastery of Agia Lavra, described as the symbolic birth-place of modern Greece.
Kalavryta (Καλάβρυτα) is a town and a municipality in the mountainous north-central Peloponnese part of Greece. The town is located on the right bank of the river Vouraikos, 24 kilometres (15 miles) south of Aigio, 40 km (25 miles) southeast of Patras and 62 km (39 miles) northwest of Tripoli. Notable mountains are Mount Erymanthos in the west and Aroania or Chelmos in the southeast.
History: During the late Middle Ages, the town was the center of the Barony of Kalavryta within the Frankish Principality of Achaea, until it was reconquered by the Byzantines in the 1270s. After that it remained under Byzantine control until the fall of the Despotate of the Morea to the Ottoman Turks in 1460. With the exception of a 30-year interlude of Venetian control, the town remained under Turkish rule until the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821, in whose early stages Kalavryta figures prominently: it was here that on 21 March 1821 the flag of the revolt was raised at the monastery of Agia Lavra by bishop Germanos III of Old Patras.
At the end of 1943, near Kalavryta, 81 German soldiers, led by Hauptmann Johannes Schober, were captured by Greek Partisans. Four Germans were killed on the spot.Three were taken to hospital at Kalavryta but were later shot by the furious partisans.The rest were initially treated as prisoners of war, until most were shot dead and some plunged over the cliff near Mazi from the force of the shots. Two German prisoners survived the execution and raised the alarm on the following day 8 December 1943. On 13 December 1943, in retribution for the killing of the captured German soldiers, what is commemorated as the Massacre of Kalavryta, German troops ordered all male residents of Kalavryta, aged 12 years and up, to gather in a field just outside the village. There, they machine-gunned down 696 of them. Only 13 survived. After that they burnt down the town before they left and the next day they burnt down the Monastery of Agia Lavra, birthplace of the Greek War of Independence. Post-war, the federal Government of Germany offered gestures of atonement in the form of free school books for the high school, scholarships for orphans of the massacre and the building of a retirement home. However, no German commanders, (e.g. Major Ebersberger who carried out the destruction of Kalavryta; Hauptmann Dohnert who led the firing party), were ever brought to justice for their crimes.
Kalavrita It is a beautiful little historical town, very important for the history of modern Greece....known for its contribution to the Greek revolution against the Turks as well as for the resistance during World War II, when the Germans burnt down the town and on the 13th of December 1943 they executed all 1,200 men aged 12 and over. A little further from the village of Kalavrita the monastery of Agia Lavra where the first flag of freedom was raised by Bishop Germanos of Patras when the Greeks rebelled against the Turks on March, 21 of 1821 still exists in good condition (after a renovation).
We visit Agia Lavra a monastery near Kalavryta It was built in 961 AD, on Chelmos Mountain, at an altitude of 961 meters, and can be described as the symbolic birthplace of modern Greece. It stands as one of the oldest monasteries in the Peloponnese.
It was built in the 10th century but was burnt to the ground in 1585 by the Turks. It was rebuilt in 1600 while the frescoes by Anthimos were completed in 1645. 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 burned down by German forces in 1943.
It is famously linked with the Greek War of Independence, since it was here that the call for Eleftheria E Thanatos / Freedpm or Death (Ελευθερία ή θάνατος) was first heard on 25 March 1821, launching the revolution against the Ottoman Empire. That day, Bishop Germanos of Patras performed a doxology and administered an oath to the Peloponnesian fighters.The revolutionary flag was raised by Bishop under the plane tree just outside the gate of the monastery.
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 in 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.
Welcome to the three-storey “Cave of the Lakes”, where, according to ancient legend, Melampus hosted his healing center. Caves are magical and mysterious places. They stand over the centuries as a source of inspiration for poets, historians and storytellers. Caves travel the soul and mind of visitors to places and seasons forgotten by time. The Cave of the Lakes, a “wonder of nature” as it has been oft described, is a unique sight, like a magical tale. Prehistoric people, ancient prophets and princesses bounce through the myths of the ancient world, historical references and oral traditions.
The explored length of the cave is 1980 metres, physically divided into three levels. The 500-metre long second level is the only one accessible to visitors at the moment. A 40-metre long tunnel was opened for easier access at the side, 23 meters higher than the natural entrance. This leads straight to the beginning of the second level.
Along the tunnel, there are color snapshots from the most impressive areas of the third level, which has not been made visit-able yet. The temperature in the cave is constant throughout the year, between 15-17 degrees Celsius. This phenomenon is called isothermic. Humidity is also constantly above 70%, sometimes as high as 99%. This is why successive doors have been placed along the tunnel, to keep temperature and humidity levels constant and prevent the deterioration of the cave’s stalactites and stalagmites.
Kastria - Cave of Lakes tour
Kalavryta Tour, departs for Athens via Mega Spilaio / Spileon formally the Monastery of the Dormition of the Theotokos is a Greek Orthodox monastery. The monastery is located in a large cave in a sheer cliff, where the western slopes of Mount Chelmos drop down to the gorge of the Vouraikos river, some 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) northwest of the town of Kalavryta. The cave was known in antiquity, and the geographer Pausanias reports that the daughters of Proetus found refuge there during their madness. In the first Christian centuries, Christian hermits occupied the cave. According to tradition, the monastery is one of the oldest in Greece, reputedly founded in 362 by the Thessalonian brothers Symeon and Theodore, who with the help of Euphrosyne (a local shepherdess, honored as saint for her part in these events) discovered in the cave the icon of the Theotokos painted by Luke the Evangelist.
Its medieval history under Byzantine and Latin rule is obscure. The monastery gained prominence only from about 1354, when it served as the residence of the Orthodox Metropolitan of Patras, since the city was still occupied by the Latins and the seat of a Latin archbishopric. The complex suffered large-scale destruction in 849, 1400, and 1640, when it was comprehensively rebuilt.
Several of the monks became members of the Filiki Etaireia and took part in the Greek War of Independence. In 1934, the katholikon was destroyed in a fire, and replaced by a new church in 1937. On 8 December 1943, the German 117th Jäger Division destroyed the monastery and executed 22 monks and visitors as part of reprisals that culminated a few days later with the Massacre of Kalavryta. The monastery was rebuilt from the ground after the war, and now comprises an eight-storey complex set in the 120 metres (390 ft) high cliff face. A male monastery, it celebrates on 15 August (the day of the Dormition), 14 September, and 18 October (Luke the Evangelist and the ktetors).
Daily: Kalavryta Tour Approx.(up to 10 hours) Please read our Touring/Info*
Sites & Museums: Summer: daily, 8.00 to 20.00 pm. Winter: 8.00 to 17.00 Last entry 30 min before closing.
Train fee to 10 Euro each way.
Closed on Holidays: January 1st. , March 25th, May 1st, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. On Good Friday, the sites are open 12.00 - 17.00.
Highlights of Kalavryta Tour
Diakopto Train Station
Diakopto Beach (if weather and time permits we will swim in the crystal waters
A unique Train ride on a rack railway
Memorial and Museum
Monastery of AGIA LAYRA
Drive back to Diakopto