Περιφερειακή Ενότητα Δράμας

GreekEnglish (United Kingdom)BulgarianGermanFrenchRussianTurkish

On the way to the caves


In the interior land of Drama, groundwater of Falakro, for thousands years, has been linking with the waters   -   1of several springs and caused the erosion of rocks, in order to release and flow it into the plain, creating in that way, the unique Springs Cave of Aggitis (Maara). Following Aggitis River - after its exit of its underground  -   25 route – we drive ourselves south, from Menikios slopes, to the Cave of Alistrati, which is another natural monument, with many unexplored ways, nowadays, as well.

Passing through the nice suburb of Komnini as we leave Drama from the west, we drive on the road that leads us to Nevrokopi’s basin, in order to reach the historical place of Prosotsani, 15km far from Drama. It was a remarkable tobacco center of the past and its dwellers fought for their freedom, to defend the whole Hellenism. Monuments which remind us the past are the schools of the early part of the 20th century, the neoclassical houses of the same era and the latest tobacco-stores that still remain, as they used to, as an example Chalatsis (1930).Nowadays, Prosotsani is a very important municipality of 3,700 local population, aggitisVlachi and refugees from Asia Minor. This multicultural element of the region is obvious in various festivals that take place there the day of Profitis (Prophet) Ilias, on 20th of July.

We leave from this place and we drive to the unique Springs Cave of Aggitis, - 1 14 23km far from Drama. We can find it on the south foot of Falakro. The Cave is so beautiful, because of the Aggitis River, which flows in it thousands years and was already known by Herodotus. Having at least, a total length of 12km and only one part, of 500m, passable, this cave gives to visitors the great opportunity to live the experience of the nature’s miracle. We realize this, as the Waters of Aggitis arrive at this specific place, after a long, underground way, starting from the Nevrokopi’s basin and at the foot of Falakro.

Human interest about this cave was obvious through the years. Inside the cave, we find the human’s spilaio aggiti-eksoterikos xorospresence, 3,000 years ago B.C. However, the fortification, north to its entrance, reminds that one of the 6th century A.D. Outside the cave, there have been done a few interventions, so as a to be opened a refreshment room and a restaurant for the visitors. Apart from that, it deserves to search for the local handmade pasta and marmalades of Women’s Cooperative of Kokkinogia and other things, such as the dehydrated vegetables, pottery and wood-made arts from the local workshops. After that, we suggest you to meet villages at the foot and slopes of Menikio. When we leave from the small village of Aggitis, we pass through the old iron bridge - which has the same name with the river- and the Grammeni village. There, was found an ancient settlement that existed from the Thracian period till the Roman Times, where the Taxiarchis Church still remains (1873). On the road to   -   15Mikropolis, we will visit Panaroma-another small village. There live, only 15 families during the winter. We find this place 12km far from the Springs Cave of Aggitis, on a slope, between Menikio and Falakro. There is lush vegetation and warm weather during the summer-time. We will see a three-aisle, wood-made, vasilikis rhythm Church of Theotokos (Virgin Mary) – in the middle of the 19th century - which has a nice bell-tower and a wood-made icon screen of the 19th century. There, one can have a very nice walk, too. Having a north-west direction and after 3km on an earthen road, we find the St. Demetrius Church (1865), which has octagonal dome on the roof and imperishable wall hagiography.          -   10                                        We can also go north to the village and find a path in the Menikios side, which leads us to the stream of the village. There, the rich flora and the running water are directed to the plain, at a distance of 3km. In the Panorama village, we will find livestock products and pure honey, as well. If we want to visit the temples there, we have to ask first, the church committee.

Next station is Mikropolis, 9km away from the Cave. There, we can have a brief walk in the neighborhoods, where it is easy to find the traditional farmhouses of the 19th century. We can also see the Church of St. Georgios (1841), where its icon screen, the wood-made altar and the beautiful bell-tower are still in good condition.  -   59

Then, we will continue on the earthen road that leads to the peak of the mountain, in order to visit Kastania Forest - a place of perennial trees - and a shelter, 850m high, at a distance of 3km from the village. However, in order to walk through the Beech-tree Woods and the Menikios Valleys, it needs to know the area or to ask for help from the local mountaineers. If we follow the right direction from the village, we will go to the Church of St. Anargiri and we will have the chance to enjoy the panoramic view. A very important local feast - named in greek «I Giorti Tou Theou» (God’s Feast) - takes place there, after Easter, in the St. Georgios country church, but the Mikropolis feast is on the 1rst of July, because people celebrate for Agioi Anargiri.

We leave behind us Mikropolis and drive to Charitomeni and Kali Vrisi, at a distance of 13km. Close to Kali Vrisi, we see many vineyards, where still remains the Sanctuary of the ancient Greek God Dionysus, 2,5km north - west of the village. The locals call it «Konaki Tou Vakchou» (the place of Bacchus). His worship is certified by two findings. The head of Bearded Dionysus in the Roman Times and a sign related to Dionysus, in region of Kali Vrisi.

The village is built on the slopes of Menikios and there are only local dwellers. North-east, we find a part of the village with traditional farmhouses of the 19th century and a guesthouse among the picturesque stone backstreets.

In the area, dominates the three-aisle wood-roof of vasilikis rhythm Church of St. Nikolaos (1877), which falakromaintains the first screen icons, from the middle of the 19th century. Then, we ascend, in order to find the country church of Ai –Vlasis - east to the St. Nikolaos Church. After the spring, we can have an exciting walk for half an hour, through the plane-trees and the running waters. There, we find accommodations for barbecue and we can also get some rest. We can enjoy - from the country church - the panoramic view of the valley and Falakro. South -east of the village, remains the St. Marina’s Church (1883), which has a women’s quarter and a roofed verandah. Kali Vrisi gathers loads of visitors for the «Babougera» festival, which is a local event - 6 to 8 of January - where people carry the Icon of Resurrection in procession, the first Thursday after Easter. This happens, to keep people safe and even on the day of St. Marina celebration, on 17th of July. Listening to the sound of gaynta and dachare, the hospitable, open-hearted people of Kali Vrisi, have fun with their traditional music in the   -   4taverns.                                                                                                                           We continue more easterly and reach Kalithea, 7km far from Kali Vrisi. The houses are dispersed on the hillsides. From there, we can gaze over the plain and the tops of Falakro. On the west, we see the traditional farmhouses and the Church of St. Athanasios (1835), which has a kind of a towel-bell (1869). At east, there is a location with plane-trees and running waters, where another church from the past takes place- St. Paraskevi (1890). It has women’s quarter, a roofed verandah and icons from the 19th century. This village is full of plane-trees and it is nice to visit, especially in the summer-time, because of the cool weather and the taverns of the region. After Kalithea’s camps, those who like driving, have the chance to enjoy terrific routes on earthen roads-that are surrounded by woods - till Mikropoli. The village honors with celebrations St. Paraskevi, 26th of July.

48 2Then, we drive again on an earthen road to reach Alistrati and choose the road Drama-Serres, in order to visit the Cave of this area. After an exciting drive of 20km, we will pass through the center of Alistrati, which is known for its national struggles. Once in the past, it was a tobacco-productive region and the head of the Metropolis of Drama, during 1825-1909. Also, we are going to see there, the neoclassical buildings and the impressive 12newbell-tower of 19th century, of the St. Athanasios Church.

Our last destination is the Cave of the area, which takes place in «Petroto», 6km away from Alistrati. The way of this cave, 1,200m, has been appropriately exploited and offers, even now, to its visitors a unique experience of cave-exploration with a special trainer to accompany them. (You can visit it every day, except for Mondays at 9.00 a.m. to 20.00 p.m. in the summer-time and 9.00 a.m. to 17.00 p.m. the rest of the year). We can combine the way into the cave; with «rafting» and «kayak», to the gorge of Aggitis River, close to Simvoli village.

We find a refugee’s village, 4km far from Alistrati, named Perichora. There, in the location «Tagala», take place the nunnery of St.Minas, into a pine wood of 2,500 square metres. A peaceful environment waits for pilgrims, who have the opportunity to take a breath and make a kind of an internal research. This monasteryarxaiologiko mouseio was built during the decade of 1950, because a very religious person of Perichora, saw a vision. The church celebrates on 11th of November and you can visit it each day of the week, till the afternoon. On the road, back to Drama from the Alistratis Cave, we pass through a big part of a fertile land of our prefecture. Wheat and cotton are cultivated there, close to the housing estates of the Sitagri municipality, which has 5,000 residents with refugee origins. After passing the old wooden bridge of the Aggitis River, with the lush vegetation in the riverside, we drive to Sitagri village. There, is a non-visited Neolithic residence, where many antiquities were found, the most important of which are presented to the collection of Drama’s Archaeological Museum. Among the actions of Sitagri municipality, we regard as the most significant, «Anastenaria», a three-day show, the fire walking of Thracian refugees in Mavrolefki - 19 to 21 of May – the «Kalogeros» custom on Tirinis (Cheesefare) Monday, in the same village and finally, the «agricultural exhibition and cotton’s celebration», on the first days of September in Fotolivos.