Geosite of Ithaca

Geosite of Marmakas

The beach of Marmaka, located north of the port of Frikes village, is a geosite where we can observe the outcrops of three lithological sequences, three different formations of the Ionian zone. Specifically, we observe the limestones of the U. Triassic (230-201 My) – M. Lias (190-183 My) "Pantocrator" formation, the U. Lias (182.7-174.1 My) Ammonitico Rosso formation and finally the Dogger (174.1-163.5My) limestones with cherts and clay shales. Also, behind the beach there is a small coastal swamp which is the only wetland on the island.

Cave of Nymphs

The geosite cave of the Nymphs is located west of the capital of Ithaca, Vathi, at an altitude of 190 m above the bay of Dexa, and it constitutes a cave of special historical and archaeological interest. The cave, also known as Marmarospilia (lit. Marble Cave) is believed to be the one mentioned by Homer as the cave where Odysseus with the help of the goddess Athena hid the gifts from the king of the Phaeacians upon his return to the island. Also, archaeological findings indicate that here the Nymphs were worshiped. The Cave of the Nymphs develops in white fine-grained limestones of the U. Jurassic-L. Cretaceous (201.3-100.5 My). The cave has two entrances, one is located at the bottom of the hill near the beach, which today is not accessible, while the second one takes us inside the cave of the Nymphs, which constitutes a cave of special natural beauty where speleothems such as stalactites develop.

Geosite Afales

Afales is a large gulf located in the northwestern part of Ithaca. At Afales beach we have the opportunity to observe a large outcrop of the Paleocene-Eocene (66.0-33.9 My) limestones which come in contact with the thick U. Cretaceous (100.5-66.0 My) limestones, as well as with the Oligocene - M. Miocene (33.9-11.63 My) flysch formation (alternation of sands and clay layers) of the Ionian zone.

Geosite Rizes Cave

The Rizes Cave is located close to Perachori village, in the southeastern part of Ithaca, close to Anemodouri, where a path begins and takes us to the cave. It is a relatively small but impressive cavern which develops in white thin-bedded U. Jurassic-L. Cretaceous (201.3-100.5 My) limestones. On the side of the roof, there is a large opening from which bright light enters. In this cave, we can distinguish also karstification forms.

Geosite Gidaki

Across the beaches Gidaki, Filiatro and Sarakiniko, almost the entire sequences of the lithological formations of the Ionian zone that occur on the island of Ithaca are represented. Initially, at Gidaki beach a very good exposure of U. Jurassic - L. Cretaceous (163.5-100.5 My) limestones can be observed.

Geosite Filiatro

Across the beaches Gidaki, Filiatro and Sarakiniko, almost the entire sequences of the lithological formations of the Ionian zone that occur on the island of Ithaca are represented. At Filiatro beach the exposed sequence consists of U. Jurassic - L. Cretaceous (163.5-100.5 My) limestones, and also of the younger Senonian (U.Cretaceous (100 . 5-66 My) limestones.

Geosite Sarakiniko

Across the beaches Gidaki, Filiatro and Sarakiniko, almost the entire sequences of the lithological formations of the Ionian zone that occur on the island of Ithaca are represented. At Sarakiniko where the sequence of rocks, beginning from the oldest one, starts with the U. Triassic (230-201 My) - M Lias (190-183 My) "Pantocrator Limestone", followed by the U. Lias (182.7-174.1 My) Ammonitico Rosso formation. Subsequently, limestones of Dogger age (174.1-163.5 My) are found. The sequence ends with the appearance of U. Jurassic - L. Cretaceous (163.5-100.5 My) vigla formation limestones followed by brecciated limestones of U. Cretaceous age (100.5-66 My).

Geosite Loizos Cave

The cave of Loizos is located on the Island of Ithaca and specifically in the bay of Polis near Stavros. In the area occur U. Triassic (230-201 M.y)-M.Lias (190-183 My) Pantokratora dolomized limestones and dolomites which come in contact (tectonics) with the Oligocene-M.Meocene (33.9-13.82 My) flysch which consists of alternations of sandstone, clay-silt limestone, breccias-conglomerate, and marl beds. The cave of Loizos (named after the man to whom the area originally belonged and who discovered the first findings) is also known as the Cave of Polis (port of Stavros). Serious damage from an earthquake (probably in Roman times) that caused a collapse of the roof as well as the sea level rising over the centuries, prevented systematic research inside the cave, which is now at sea level. The findings, however, that have been discovered is enough to attest to the cult aspect of the cave from the early Hellenistic to the Roman years. Among the most impressive finds of the cave are twelve bronze tripods (an object that is usually found in worship sites of great importance), dedicatory inscriptions to the Nymphs, masks of the goddess Artemis, a clay mask with an inscription mentioning the name of Odysseus (and probably implies the cult of the king and hero of the Homeric sagas) and a pithos shred upon which the visit of a Roman perfumer in 35 BC is recorded.It is also worth noting the theory that the cave of Loizos was not only a place of worship but also a surveillance point in northern Ithaca, in conjunction with the Roussano acropolis that was discovered on the hill above.