The Byzantine Chapels at the Davelis cave
Directions to the Davelis Cave with photos
Mysteries of the Davelis Cave
The Davelis Cave
In 1977 the Greek military (for some still undisclosed purpose) cordoned-off the cave with barbed wire and began excavating the floor of the cave. The natural tunnels leading to various chambers and to an underground small pond were destroyed or blocked with tons of rubble. The mysterious works continued interruptedly until 1983 when the intervention of the Ministry of Culture forced them to stop.
In order to preserve the chapels when the ground immediately to the rear of them was removed, it became necessary to buttress their foundations with concrete. The military defaced part of the beautiful area in front of the cave entrance with a construction of concrete built into the side of the cliff (inside, which it is said lies the entrance to the natural underground tunnels), and also excavated several large tunnels into the mountain, three near the entrance to Daveli's Cave, and another reported (but unconfirmed & is unlikely) to be from the far side of the mountain (which is approx. 2.4 Km away at the same elevation as the cave).
In August 1990 large-scale military works started again. However, whoever was in charge was forced to stop the works after an public outcry caused by strong media intervention.
1977 - Military gate blocking entrance to the cave (from the ancient road below & leading up to the cave)
2008 - The concrete post is still standing.
Just before arriving at Daveli's cave, a dirt track branches
off to the left.
At the end of this track is the entrance to tunnel #1
A break in the wire mesh covering the entrance allows entry.
Looks lit (good camera sensitivity) but you need a flashlight to see to the end.
Round the right-hand bend & heading directly for Daveli's
a dead-end where work on the tunnel #1 was halted.
The end of the tunnel #1 - a rough marble face
Looking back at the entrance to the tunnel #1 from about half-way in.
Concrete construction to the left of the cave entrance.
What secrets lie hidden behind this locked door?
The entrance to the natural rock tunnel that Daveli's used cannot
be found in the
cave itself - and the entrance is rumoured to be inside this military construction.
Steep pipe emerging from the rock near the entrance to the cave.
Hole bored into the rock near the entrance to the cave.
Inside Daveli's cave
Concrete butresses to support the Bizantine chapels during cave excavation by the military
Concrete butress to support the Bizantine chapels
(Panoramic view > Scroll right to view all)
Walk a little further down the track (the cave on your left) and arrive at tunnel #2
Closer view of the tunnels (August 2008)
... but why are rocks, sand & pebbles piled-up against the concrete section on the right-hand side? (See below for the answer)
An old photograph shows another tunnel -
which has been blocked-off by the earth pile. But why???
What is hidden in the second tunnel such that it had to be blocked?
Was the pile of rubble seen above the right-hand tunnel piled-up and bulldozed over deliberately?
Or did the pile slowly wash-down naturally with the heavy rains that occur on the mountain?
Exploring above the buried tunnel reveals this large channel which leads
mountain rainwater directly over the tunnel entrance & would be responsible
for much of the washed-down rock & pebbles blocking the tunnel.
But why build a tunnel underneath such a runoff channel?
Possibly it changed course over the years?
Aerial view - the runoff channel can be clearly seen.
Aerial view - detailed
Tunnel #2 entrance
Inside the tunnel #2 at dusk
Inside the tunnel #2 in daylight
The end of the tunnel #2 - where construction was halted & again heading towards the cave
Closeup view of the fractured marble face
View from inside the tunnel #2 at dusk
View from inside the tunnel #2 at dusk
Satellite image showing the locations of the cave and tunnels.
Davelis Cave Entrance: 38 04' 14.80'' N, 023 52' 37.11'' E (Altitude: 686 m)
Tunnel #1 Entrance: 38 04' 14.51'' N, 023 52' 33.32'' E (Altitude: 674 m)
Tunnel #1 Entrance: 38 04' 12.76'' N, 023 52' 40.75'' E (Altitude: 658 m)
Cave and tunnels with 658 metre contour (tunnel #2 altitude)
round the top of Mount Pendeli -
demonstrating that other tunnels are unlikely to exist far away from the cave due to
the distance that would have to be bored though solid rock