In the sanctuaries of the secrets of Lake Vouliagmeni

The "treasure" of Attica and the legend of the fairy who traps young lads

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A hidden treasure of Attic nature in the heart of the Athenian Riviera, just a few kilometers from the city center (21 km). THE Λίμνη Vouliagmeni, is not just a lake, but a rare geological phenomenon of global scope, which causes both admiration and awe with the secrets hidden at its bottom.

A mystical destination, behind which are hidden various myths and legends that have to do with a fairy and the young lads that he traps in the sanctuaries of the lake. The imposing rock, the thermal waters, the labyrinthine underwater tunnels, the green vegetation compose a unique natural attraction - a unique experience.

Lake Vouliagmeni is included in the National Catalog NATURA 2000 and has been designated as a Place of Special Natural Beauty by the Ministry of Culture, while it is included in the 20 recognized thermal springs of Greece by the Special Committee for the Protection of Natural Natural Resources.

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From a scientific point of view, what is of particular interest is cave, which starts at the point where the lake ends. So far it has been explored at a length of 3.123 meters, while one of its 14 tunnels, with a length of 800 meters is the largest underwater tunnel in the world.

However, this cave is accompanied by a legend, which is associated with a fairy who lives in its waters and traps young men who try to discover it, as happened with the 8 divers who lost their lives during its exploration. .

The first to try to explore the cave through a select group, as the historical evidence shows, were the Germans in the 40s.

Several years later, two divers trying to explore the cave lost their lives in the process of decompression, just a few meters before the surface of the lake, with their bodies never found.

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This event resulted in 1988 the Swiss Jean-Jacques Bolange, one of the most famous in the world divers of his time and president of the International Association of Cave Divers, to undertake the effort of exploring and mapping the cave of the lake, through a program of the Ministry of Culture and its financing by the Municipality of Vouliagmeni.

Although most spoke of the fairy tale and the young lads she traps in the cave, Bolange attributed the two divers' loss to both the strong currents inside the cave causing small whirlpools in the water and the lack of knowledge. both for the geography and for the morphology of the cave.

In addition to these first two divers who disappeared in the cave, this mysterious creature of nature has "swallowed" six more explorers (the victims came from a total of 8 exploration missions carried out in the cave) whose death was attributed to inadequate equipment and lack of familiarity with the underwater environment of the cave. In 1995, following a decision by the Ministry, the cave was closed to the public for security reasons.

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What made the biggest impressions, however, was the εξερεύνηση of the cave by Bolange's team, was the discovery of a huge underwater area with a capacity of 1.200.000 cubic meters, as well as the existence of an oversized stalagmite at a depth of 105 meters, just 730 meters away from the entrance of the cave. What surprised the researchers was the fact that stalagmites do not grow underwater, a discovery that led to the development of various theories about both the morphology of the area in the past and the formation of the Mediterranean.

Apart from the above impressive elements, Lake Vouliagmeni stands out, worldwide, for another feature. Beneath its waters is the largest underground tunnel all over the world, which measures 800 meters in length, with its depth in some places even reaching 80 meters.

Its corridors form a large maze 4,3 km long (at least so much has been explored so far, without anyone knowing if the explorers have reached their end) which makes its exploration quite difficult and dangerous, even and for the most experienced and well-trained professional divers.

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Although it is very close to the city, it is impressive that its existence is not mentioned in any ancient text, although many ancient travelers, such as Pausanias, refer to the wider area. Something that is explained by geologists through their assumptions that the Lake It was created later and probably in Christian times, with the collapse of the roof of a huge cave after an earthquake. Something that justifies its current name "Vouliagmeni".

In ancient times the area was referred to as "Zoster", which means belt, and is due to a myth that has to do with Leto. According to him, then, when Leto was pregnant, the mother of Apollo and Artemis, she ran to escape Hera, as the father of her children was Zeus. At some point she stopped, as she thought it was time to give birth, and threw her belt.

Today, the thermal brackish waters of the Lake, create an outdoor thermal spa, under the Attic sky, with thermal properties to contribute to the treatment of rheumatic, skin and gynecological diseases. Its rich living world includes the well-known Garra Rufa fish that offer natural skin exfoliation.

The options offered to the guests are innumerable: diving in crystal clear waters, with a constant temperature between 22 and 29 ° C all year round, snorkeling, hiking, cycling, wellness exercises. There is a restaurant and a cafe, while around the lake there are sunbeds and umbrellas for moments of relaxation and wellness.