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Vouraikos Canyon

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bouraikos.gifVouraikos canyon is mentioned in the myth of Hercules when he pulled his sword cutting the rock "Portes" in half, which blocked the passage to Eurystheus, oir according to others to his beloved Voura daughter of Eliki. From Voura comes the name Vouraikos, whose ancient name was Erasinos. But the myth is only one reason, and the unique, unsurpassed beauty is another reason, that brings thousands of tourists to the region that has been declared the most spectacular railway line in the Balkans.bouraikos.gif

The valley used to be a lake, like the whole area around Kalavrita. The waters sought outlet to the sea thus shaping this canyon which was later handed over to the river which continues to shape it in a way that the greatest sculptor would envy. Vouraikos canyon begins 3 km north of the village of Lower Zachlorou, at an altitude of 730 meters and continues alongside the river, heading 20 kilometers to reach the village of Diakopto, a journey lasting one hour. Waterfalls streams, caves with stalactites and stalagmites, the rich vegetation of alternating plane-trees, olive trees and oleanders, provides a unique, alomost primitive scenery.

These inaccessible place was "tamed" with absolute respect on March 10, 1896, when the rack railway began its journey.
SDC13743.jpgThe slope of the line does not allow the movement of a typical train, so between the rails there are cogs that allow the operation of a mechanism called "teeth", which allows the ascending from the sea level to Kalavryta station at an altitude of 750 meters. It is shorter in width than European lines (0.75 m). Today the train with two wagons and small diesel- electric power unit begins its journey from the station of Diakopto and climbs to Kalavrita passing at first the normal section of th line and then it uses the "teeth"to enter the first narrowing of the canyon and stops at the village of Niamata. The train runs through small tunnels where, among the small openings the visitor will distinguish the opposite bank of a large rockshelter, with successive cavernous rooms, where the stalagmites have formed upright columns resembling a full courtroom with judges, president and prosecutor. The train stops using the teeth mechanism at the attitude of Triklia village.

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The route continues in the wild landscapes with waterfalls and reaches the closest point of the route called "Portes" where it passes through a tunnel. Going up, again it uses its "teeth" and reaches the station of Mega Spilaion which is situated in the village of Kato Zachlorou. Continuing, on a normal rack it reaches Kalavryta through the open plains. The train continues its journey, giving passengers a great time, passing by conglomerate rocks that cause tremors and awe, through bridges and tunnels, but also places whith serenity and majestic peace.
SDC13753.jpg The narrowest and most beautiful parts of the canyon are at positions Niamata, Portes, Triklia, Sifoni and the "courtyard", a cave of stalagmites rocks that resemble a courtroom. There has never been an accident in the history of the Rack. Next to the train tracks there is a path formerly used by local residents, nowadays the same track is marked with symbols of the European E4 path, which is used by Greek and foreign hikers. The descending path lasts about six hours while the ascending about 7-8 hours. Every year on the third Sunday of May, the Association of Mountaineering and Skiing of Kalavryta, organizes the National Transition with the participation of hundreds of climbers and hikers.

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RACK RAILWAY TIMETABLE

From Kalavryta to Diakopto:
09:28 Daily 
12:27 Daily SDC13661.jpg
14:10 Weekends & Bank Holidays 
15:30 Daily 
16:50 
Weekends & Bank Holidays

From Diakopto to Kalavryta:
08:10 Daily 
11:15 Daily 
12:33 Weekends & Bank Holidays
14:12 Daily 
15:32 
Weekends & Bank Holidays

Information:
Diakopto Station 2691 043206
Kalavryta Station 2692 022245
Train Organization 1110

Price Tickets
9.50 euro
19.00 euro roundtrip
 

Source: www.kalavrita.gov.gr 

 

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