Didyma

DIDYMA - Distance from Ermioni: 24 kms/30 minutes

Didyma is a small quiet traditional village, located in a valley where you can visit the Megali and Mikri spilia, the large and small caves of Didyma.   The large cave (left) is on the hillside which you can see from the main road coming from Ermioni, the other smaller cave is below ground level and not visible from the road, as it is also surrounded by trees.  Inside the small cave, there are 2 small Byzantine chapels.  One is Aghios Georgios (St George) with its wall murals dating back to the 13th Century, and the other chapel built into the surrounding rock, the Metamorfosis of Sortiros.  You can enter both of these chapels and view the interiors, but please close the chapel door when you leave.  It is said that the village population of Didyma used to hide in this smaller cave during attacks by raiding Turks and Pirates, as well as invading German troops during the Second World War.   

There are clear road signs showing which small track to take from the main road that runs around Didyma village.  When you approach the large cave on the small track, you will see a small tunnel entrance on your right, surrounded by blue coloured metal railings and entrance gate.  You may leave your car here and walk down the narrow steps that take you down this tunnel, through the ground, to a 'balcony' overlooking the small cave and chapels. The feeling of serenity you get within the smaller cave is as if time has stood still.  You can walk around the whole cave perimiter keeping to the small footpath, although parts of the footpath can get a bit rocky in places.  

The large cave (above) looks very impressive from a distance, however, it is rather disappointing to see from close quarters, as there is no depth to the cave at all.  It is better to spend your time exploring the small cave with the two Byzantine chapels.

The one thing that many people still debate today is how these cave holes came into being.  One thing we do know is that they were not caused by space meteorites, as no evidence of un-earthly rock has ever been discovered around the cave area.  One reasonable theory is that the holes were created by underground natural gas explosions many centuries ago, as there are more similar holes on the opposite side of the same hill, not seen from the village.

Didyma means twins in Greek, in referance to the two mountains on either side of the village.  Mt Didyma, (1110m) is to the North-East and Profitis Ilias (775m) to the West.  The village is dominated by the large church of Agios Nikolaos (pictured above) which is built on the ruins of an ancient temple to the god Poseidon, showing that the area was highly populated before the 5th Century B.C.  

Towards the end of April, the villagers of Didyma celebrate the annual 'Festival of Tulips', an event which is held in the main plateia, starting just after 15:00.  The whole village square is converted into one big colourful outdoor taverna, where traditional dancing, various competitions and games are held by the local children.  A grand parade of groomed horses are then exhibited through the main square, followed by live music, where all the people attending are invited to dance the evening and night away, after much feasting and drinking in between.  A very traditional and colourful event enjoyed by all.  The festival dates vary depending on the tulip harvest, usually around the third or last weekend in April.

Salanti beach, is 6 kms South-West from Didyma.  It has a great long white pebbly beach with a small chapel.  Here you can swim in the beautiful clear blue sea and enjoy fresh fish in the small taverna that is occasionally open nearby.  See the map in the picture gallery below for directions to the beach. 

Location

Didyma (Small Cave)
Greece
37° 28' 11.6472" N, 23° 10' 3.3276" E
Picture Gallery
The valley and village of Didyma The village church of Agios Nikolaos - built on the temple to Poseidon Rural surroundings as you approach the small road to the caves The small track leading to the two caves of Didyma Close-up view of the left-hand section of the large cave Close-up view of the right-hand section of the large cave The tunnel entrance to the small cave of Didyma The tunnel comes out onto a small 'balcony' platform Close-up of the left-hand section of the small cave Close-up of the right-hand section of the small cave The small Byzantine church of Aghios Georgios (St George) The decorated interior of Aghios Georgios - with icons and murals The tiny older church of Metamorfosi of Sortiros The decorated interior of the church built into the rock Salanti beach - 6 kms from Didyma Salanti beach - just peace and tranquility Didyma 'Tulips' festival - The plateia becomes one big taverna Didyma 'Tulips' festival - Village museum of folklore Didyma 'Tulips' festival - Children dance in the plateia Didyma'Tulips' festival - The whole village enjoys the day Didyma 'Tulips' festival - the horse parade begins Didyma 'Tulips' festival - Many horse owners take part Didyma 'Tulips' festival - The stallion star attraction Didyma - directions from Ermioni