The experts call Chios a “geological paradise” for the old rocks and the most ancient fossils of Ammonites in Greece, the impressive faults and a large number of karst formations.
Of the karst formations, two Chios Caves are distinguished. Not for their size, but the exceptional beauty and unique interest caverns. Olympi and Ayo Galas Caves, both open to the public.
The cave of Olympi is located in the southern part of the island. 35 km from the city of Chios and 5 km from the medieval village of Olympi. A small cave with vibrant and impressive decoration, its vertical growth is of particular interest about other tourist caves.
It consists of the main chamber which extends into an elongated section. Around the main hall, there are openings, which in some places form other smaller chambers. There is a natural entrance on the roof from where the sun rays enter. In combination with the natural colours of the interior of the cave (red, yellow and white) create impressive images that people rarely meet in other caves.
The scientist estimate that the oldest of various samples was created 230,000 years ago. However, the creation of the cave itself is difficult to calculate; scientists believe though that it is not older than 25 million years. It is worth mentioning that the cave of Olympi is still active in the development phase until today. For this reason, the management has taken actions so that possible human interference does not affect the microclimate inside it.
Agio Galas Cave
The cave of Ayo Galas is located at the northwest part of the island. Although it is 65 km from Chios Town, the route to the North has a picturesque landscape. Along with the cave, they will compensate you for the trip. Ayo Galas village is built on the rock where the cave system is opened and offers a unique view of the Aegean Sea and the historical island of Psara.
The cave, which is open for the tourists, has a special morphology and an extremely great archaeological significance. Archaeological excavations revealed the findings, date back to the Middle Neolithic period proving the early inhabitants. They are exhibited in the showrooms of Chios Archaeological Museum.
At the entrance of the middle cave, the visitor will encounter the church of Agiogelousa, built in the 13th-14th century. Anna Petrochello along with the Gourvellou couple explored and mapped the cave in 1969, following the invitation of the Chios Touring Club.
The legend behind Agio Galas
The legend behind the mysterious location of the church says that a King of Byzantium exiled his leper daughter in North-West Chios. The sick girl found shelter in a cave where a woman dressed in black took care of her. After three years the King regretted his act and sent a ship to bring his daughter back but a miracle had happened! In other words, the King’s emissaries found the princess healed by the water dripping from the cave.
Then the King decided to build a church near the village for his daughter miraculous healing. However, every morning the workers found their tools outside the cave. That act was considered God’s will and they built the church outside the cave, and it was named Ayo Gala, after the miraculous water. After the years, the village close to the church inherited the same name.