upon a time a young shepherd girl called Melissanthi fell
into the lake whilst looking for one of her lost sheep
. . . from that day on the lake took her name - The
lake of Melissani.
In ancient times it is said that the Nymph Melissanthi killed
herself in this same lake because the Greek god Pan would
not returned her love. (Pan is the Greek god of woods
and fields, of flocks and shepherds).
The cave at Melissani is actually a partially covered subterranean
lake formed during the ice age. The intense tectonic plate
activity that took place in the centuries of its geological
formation, created the perfect conditions for surface water
and seawater to erode the karstified (limestone) centre
of the island. This created cavities that expanded over the
centuries creating this unique cave system connected by the
subterranean water flow that is not known anywhere else on earth.
here, some of which has travelled underground from Katavothres, the
other side of Kefelonia, empty into a lake at Karavomilos, and
then into the sea around Sami, a journey taking two weeks. Out
of curiosity I have tasted the water here and it is definitely
less salty than the normal seawater.
was discovered after the 1953 earthquake caused the
the lake to the skies. Shepherds of Kefelonia have long
known about this subterranean lake, although it was only
that it was first opened to visitors.
Sunrays cause the surface
of the lake to take on many various breathtaking
shades of blue. When the sun is directly overhead, its ray's
the ultramarine water, shattering into a myriad of
The water is ice-cold 15 degrees
centigrade all year long with only eels living in its
36 metre depths.
archaeological treasures have been found during excavations
in the area of Melissani dating from the 4th to the early 3rd
century BC, including a Clay idol
the god Pan, and a clay disk with a Nymph figure
in relief (perhaps the nymph Melissanthi).
Whatever your beliefs, the atmosphere
and colours on the surface of the water of this beautiful