Kaiafa thermal springs (Anigrides Nymphes & Atlantides Nymphes)_Peloponnese

by Venetia Kapernekas

         

photos ©Ilias Christopoulos January 14, 2021

photos ©Ilias Christopoulos January 14, 2021 photos ©Ilias Christopoulos January 14, 2021photos ©Ilias Christopoulos January 14, 2021

While I was in North Sea, in the Netherlands, a friend and fabulous ceramic artist, Ilias Christopoulos, while travelling few days ago for a day from Kalamata region (south Peloponese) north, he made a short visit at Kaiafa lake where the thermal springs are and as I was reflecting to the myths that I find fascinating I found challenging for me as he sent me some photos to “travel from North Sea ‘ to my beloved Peloponnese area where my both parents come from that region. Thank you Ilias for this wonderful trip. (all photos ©Ilias Christopoulos).

The ‘Kaiafas’ thermal springs are renowned since antiquity and include two springs, Anigrides Nymphes and Geranio or Atlantides Nymphes. They flow from caves at the feet of Lapitha mountain (the larger cave of the Anigrid Nymphs, and the smaller cave Geranio Andro, where nymphs lived during antiquity) to the east coast of the Kaiafas lagoon.

The myth narrates that the daughters of the king Proetus of Argos, Iphinoe and Iphianassa, (Ἰφινόη, Ίφιάνασσα Īphianassa means “strong queen”) who had unlawful relations with the oracle Melapodas, threw in the caves their cleansing waters. Iphinoe and Iphianassa to avoid the rage of their father when they got pregnant, they fled to Lapitha mountain. Ancient Greek doctors, travelers and geographers mention that in antiquity the area’s residents were the first to use the springs for medicinal purposes. The Kaiafas thermal springs especially, are thoroughly mentioned by Strabo and Pausanias.

photos ©Ilias Christopoulos January 14, 2021

The Kaiafas thermal springs are situated south of the Ilia prefecture, at the feet of Lapitha mountain, in a wonderful area covering about 550 hectares, with a coast of 3.5 km, on the Kaiafas lake, at Loutra, which is just 25 km away from the archaeological site of Olympia. The combination of forest, lake, sea and thermal healing baths, adds unique characteristics to this property. Ancient Greek doctors, travelers and geographers mention that in antiquity the area’s residents were the first to use the springs for medicinal purposes. The water comes out at a temperature of 32-34 °C of the spring contains an important concentration of sulfur compounds, notably Magnesium Sulphate and Calcium Sulphate, and is also rich in minerals

During Byzantine times and the Turkish occupation, we have no information regarding the thermal springs. After the liberation of the Greek state, the Kaiafas thermal springs were used again in a primitive way. (info: Hellenic Association of municipalities with Thermal )

all photos ©Ilias Christopoulos January 14, 2021

Η Λίμνη Καϊάφα είναι προστατευόμενη τοποθεσία του δικτύου Natura 2000. Η χλωρίδα της λίμνης περιλαμβάνει πυκνά κοινά καλάμια, το απειλούμενο είδος Κλάδιο ο μαρίσκος («κοψιάς»)[4] και Scirpetum maritimi. Αποτελεί χώρο αναπαραγωγής για τις χελώνες καρέτα καρέτα. Στην πανίδα περιλαμβάνονται νερόφιδαμεσογειακές χελώνεςγραμμωτές νεροχελώνεςστικτές νεροχελώνες, ρινόλοφοι (Rhinolophus mehelyi), κ.α