"Many centuries ago the big cave located near the monastery of Mavriotissa used to be a goldmine guarded by a dragon that spewed fire and poisonous fumes.

After the founding of Kastoria (8th or 9th century), the first king of the city, Kastor, seeking to entertain his brother and guest Polydeuces and his father in law, priest Keli, revealed the huge cave. However, the presence of a dragon prevented him from approaching the cave. The king then promised great gifts to the one who would kill the dragon. A strong young man then appeared. The fight with the dragon was great and fierce. The rocks around trembled and the lake waters fretted as the young man struck the dragon with his spear. The monster was killed and floated dead upon the waters of the lake. People then celebrated and thanked god Panas. Later on, they walked further into the cave bearing lighted torches and holding their heads down as to avoid bumping on the stalactites. The cave seemed to go on and on for miles and the atmosphere started getting stuffy due to the lack of oxygen. In a place where the tunnel narrows the torches went out and thick darkness embraced them all. Then they heard an eerie voice saying: ‘He who dares to grab a handful of mud from beneath his feet will regret it’ The boldest ones bended on their knees, grabbed the mud and filled their pockets. The ones who were afraid did not dare to do so. When they all came out in the sunlight they realized, to their surprise, that it wasn’t mud they held in their hands but wet gold dust…"

Dragon’s Cave mythical tradition as written by the folklorist D.Giannousis (Acropolis, 11/07/54)

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Photographs Τrasias Studio

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