One of the 10 most notable caves throughout Greece is located approximately 15 kilometres north of Tripolis, near the village of Kapsia. It’s the beautiful Kapsia Cave which, as one can imagine, is of particular interest.
The cave was explored for the first time in 1887 by the French archaeologist Gustave Fougères, who was conducting research and excavations in the area of ancient Mantineia. The systematic research of the cave did not start until 5 years later, followed by numerous other explorations that revealed its wealth and beauty. As confirmed, this cave was a human refuge, since human bones and evidence of inhabitation have been found here. Particularly impressive is the so-called “Chamber of the Splendid”, where visitors can witness a natural environment of unparalleled beauty, created by the rare colours of the rock formations.
The village of Kapsia belongs to the Municipality of Mantineia and is built at the foot of Mount Mainalo, at an altitude of 700 metres. The Kapsia Cave, which is one of the most important attractions of the region, as well as among the ten most notable caves in Greece, is located approximately one and a half kilometres north of the settlement.
The cave became visitable for the first time in 2010 -relatively recently- one year after the completion of the necessary works. However, it was already well known, even since 1887, when the French archaeologist Gustave Fougères visited it for the first time as part of his excavation expedition in the wider area of ancient Mantineia. The first exploration of the cave took place in 1892 by a speleological group, consisting of Greek and French experts. In 1974 there was another Greek-French expedition, which revealed several different sections of the cave. Its recent inauguration took place in the presence of many public figures, in recognition of its scientific and touristic importance.
The Kapsia Cave is part of a system of active and inactive sinkholes in the Mantineia Plateau – there are three sinkholes in front of the entrance to the cave, surrounded by a semicircular stone dam. Its interior is particularly impressive, with incredible stalactite and stalagmite formations, which combined with the rare hues of the rocks is creating a unique scenery that seems out of this world. Particularly impressive is the so-called “Chamber of the Splendid”, where you will witness the most incredible colour shades of any other Greek cave. Many human bones and oil lamps have been discovered inside the cave, evidence of inhabitation in ancient years; most probably during the Neolithic and the Hellenistic eras. According to some researchers, the bones belong to people who drowned in the cave during a flood.
To date, around 6,500 square metres of this cave have been explored, and its visitable area has been properly organized, with the addition of lighting and trail marking.