CAVES CENTRAL CORFU


STAVROS

KAMENI GRAVA CAVE

Above cave Katahosti the Kameni Grava Cave (Burnt cave) is located. Climbing skills and equipment are required in order to visited it. There is an old tale about pirates and Kameni Grava cave.

 

The farmers that worked in the plains initially lived in simple houses next to the olive trees. Small villages were formed with churches and small cemeteries but the most prominent building was the olive mill where the olives were processed.

 

Olives were crushed by heavy millstones and the oil produced was stored in big clay pots on the floor and on the level storage area in the houses. But olive oil was (and still is) gold and gold attracts thieves. The gravest danger in that time was piracy.

 

From time to time armed pirates visited the shores of the island and made their way inland. They destroyed villages, killed their inhabitants and looted their belongings. Olive oil was like a magnet attracting every sea adventurer. Even legitimate sailors were eventually tempted to commit piracy. In those days one could never be sure of the intentions of a vessel that was approaching the shores.

 

Around 1700 a whole village built on the edge of a plain and right at the foot of a mountain was completely destroyed by pirates. That first village, which was the first settlement in the Stavros area, was called Gouloumata and it is believed that it was founded by a community from the island of Cephalonia.

 

When Algerian pirates came into sight, the inhabitants of Gouloumata took what they could carry from their belongings and hid themselves in a cave on a steep slope in the mountains. The pirates, when they arrived and found the houses uninhabited, burnt and destroyed the village and then accidentally followed the path leading to the cave. They saw an old lady who pulled her pig with a rope trying to escape the pirates. The pirates managed to break the secret and the old lady told them that the villagers fled into the cave. The pirates tried to get into the cave but as the slope was very steep and the entrance of the cave very narrow they were forced to climb one at the time and the villagers were able to kill them as they attempted to reach the cave.

 

Then the pirates decided to use gun powder barrels to blow up the cave. After a terrible explosion the villagers found their tragic death amidst the rocks and the flames. Since then the cave is called Kameni Grave. Nowadays the big rock blocks scattered near the entrance to the cave seem to confirm the story.

 

Rumour goes that Kameni Grava cave ends at the opposite shore with an exit between Benitses and Agios Ioannis, but there is no evidence of this.

 

NEXT VISIT: SPRING 2019

 

Literature:

Mαυροπούλος Π. (2006), Καλοκαιρινές διαδρομές & Πολιτιστικές εκδηλώσεις σε παραδοσικούς οικισμούς στο χωριό του Σταυρού, σ. 14  - 15.

 

Mαυροπούλος Π. (2006), Ένα παλιό ελαιοχώρι ξαναζωτανεύει, σ. 16 - 17.