Μετάφραση Greek Version


The Almopia Speleopark is located in the inner-mountain Almopia basin, in Northern Greece, 120 km northwest of Thessaloniki and 2 km from the Kato Loutraki village, on the slopes of the Voras Mt. This is the first and only speleopark in Greece, featuring a number of caves opened by the downcutting of the Thermopotamos River. Speleological research in the area started in 1990, when the late speleologist K. Ataktidis reported finding of cave bear bones. Due to the great paleontological interest the first excavation cycle was launched in 1992 by the Geology School of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) and professor Evagelia Tsoukala, under the supervision of the Ephorate of Speleology and Paleoanthropology (ESP) of the Ministry of Culture.

The paleontological specimens from Bear cave recovered in these excavations can be attributed to Ursus ingressus RABEDER, HOFREITER, NAGEL & WITHALM, 2004 and to the associated fauna including spotted cave hyena, lion, leopard, wolf, fox, badger, mustelids, artiodactyles and micromammals, of Late Pleistocene age. There are also caves in both sides of the valley with archeological remains, mainly with Neolithic and Byzantine pottery. The late speleologist J. Ioannou, member of the first exploration, noted that the Loutra Arideas area is of high scientific and speleological interest; therefore, he suggested that it could be the first speleological park (“Speleopark”) in Greece.

The Almopia Speleopark consists of six caves and four rock-shelters of similar morphology, the altitudes of which ranges between 460 m to 560 m. Additionally some small “isolated” chambers and many karst conduits occur as well. The plan morphology of the Almopia Speleopark caves reminds of ramiform mazes. This kind of plan pattern is due to local boosts in the water aggressiveness. Among those caves, is the Bear Cave with paleontological interest, the Antarton Cave with archaeological interest and many others of lesser importance.

The whole area is of great interest in terms of geology, paleontology and archeology. Stone tools, arrows and other important finds have been discovered that give valuable information and testify that the area has been inhabited since the end of the Stone Age and the early Bronze Age. More than 15.000 finds and fossils have been discovered so far in six of the twenty caves that have been explored until now. The paleontological material of the caves is valuable to scientists and is considered one of the richest in Greece. The site is easily accessible and open to the public for scientific, research, educational and tourist purposes. The findings from the excavations carried out in the caves are kept in the paleontological section of the Natural History and Folklore Museum of Almopia in Loutra and in the Municipal Museum of Natural History in Aridaia. Near the Speleopark are the thermal baths of Pozar and the spectacular Vora gorge with its impressive waterfalls.