Galas Cavea and has a striking stone decoration. The one above is much deeper and is where the church of Agiogalousaina was built.
Chios is home to the Cave of Agios Galas. It is one of the most visited caves on the island. This cave is a highly important archaeological site because of its unique morphology. Research has revealed evidence dating back to the middle Neolithic period. The Archaeological Museum of Chios displays the results of excavations.
A Byzantine king exiled his daughter from Chio Island to treat leprosy. A cave provided refuge for her, where she was cared for by a woman dressed in black. The king regretted his decision three years later and returned to his daughter. He also arrives at the cave to see that his daughter is completely healed by the water from the cave. To thank God for his daughter’s healing, the king ordered the construction of a church in the vicinity.
The worker faces with huge problems when all of their materials disappeared from the site and discoveries every morning at the cave’s entrance. This happened multiple times a day. The King moves by this sign that he ordered the construction of the church at the cave’s entrance. Because of its healing water, the church is famous for the name Agios Gals. The original name of the village was Agios Theos, but it soon became Agios Galas cave.
This legend explains why the church is called the “strange name”. Superstition transformes into Christian legend. The cave is home to the chapel of Agia Anne, which contains the oldest wall paintings from the island (11th-12th century). This limestone-rich water is milky white, and it is collected in pots.
Agios Gala’s inhabitants are known as Agiogalousos or Agiogalouses in the local language. Although the village may have only 38 residents in 2011, the human presence in the area goes back at least 6000 BC. It believes that the cave is where the current village was located, and it contains evidence of settlements made during the Neolithic period.
Legend behind Agio Galas
According to the story that explains the mysterious location of the church, a Byzantine King exiled his daughter with leprosy to North-West Chios. The girl, who was sick, sought refuge in a cave where a woman dressed in black cared for her. The King sent a ship to rescue his daughter after three years of regret. But a miracle had happened! According to the King’s ambassadors, the water that trickled out of the cave had healed the princess.
The King built a church near the settlement to celebrate his daughter’s miraculous recovery. Each morning, however, the crew found their equipment outside of the cave. The chapel builts outside the cave. They named it Ayo Gala to honour the miraculous water, believing it to be God’s will.
There are three sections to the cave: the entrance with its archaeological remains, the cave chapel Saint Anna and the less-developed cave behind. Excavations revealed Neolithic remains ranging in age from 8,000 to 7,000 years. The cave uses by humans since prehistory. The cave also contained bones of animals, including a cave bear ( Ursus SPELAEO), deer, leopard and wild boar. The Archaeological Museum of Chios keeps the findings, which include ceramic vessels, tools, and statuettes. These remains reveal the ancient diet, which included small animals and fish as well as mussels. There were pieces of pottery from the Bronze Age and Roman periods, as well as some from Byzantine.
- Agiogaloussaina Panagia is a little Byzantine church with a dome that constructs in the 13th century. It practically hangs from a rock near the entrance to the cave. The majestic wooden altar screen and the elaborate frescoes that previously covered the entire cathedral are still visible.
- The chapel at Agios Thlelaios is a modest church with a nicely carved wooden altar screen that dates back to Panagia Agiogaloussaina.
It connects Agios Galas to the abandoned settlement of Agios Gannis, which establishes in 1960. It recommends starting at Agios Giannis so we can make the most of the smooth slope towards Agios Galas. This will allow us to have enough time to visit the points of interest once the route ends.
Access to Agios Giannis’ abandoned settlement accesses by vehicle via a well-passable dirt track, which begins approximately one and a quarter kilometers after Agios Gals. As we travel to Nenitouria, it becomes a two-kilometer stretch.
Because of the morphology and abrupt turns at certain points, it is impossible to use other means, such as a mountain bike. You can also use the unpaved road from Agios Giannis as a circular or alternative route.
Agios Giannis: It is a nearby village that was abandoned. Amani. It’s a beautiful spot with stunning views of the Aegean. These houses are a reminder of the local materials used in the architecture of small villages. The two-story houses had a ground floor that uses as a storeroom or stable. An outside staircase led to the balcony, which reaches from the upper floors. There were two rooms inside. You can still see the chimneys and the thick tree trunks in the middle of rooms that supported the roof.
Agio Galas: This is the most remote village in Chios. It builts on a small hill and ends on a sheer cliff to the seaward. This made it safe from pirate invasions. So, the village had a watchtower.
Why visit Chios Caves?
Chios has many options. From mediaeval villages to beaches with crystal clear water to hikes up the Pellinaio Mountain, and many more. Add Chios caves to your Doing in Chios List! Many bone founds from wild boars, deers, bears, and leopards that no longer exist on the island.
The inferior cave’s findings, which derives from the smaller cave to the right, proved that the cave uses as an antiquity residence. The cave’s deposits, together with archaeological remains, leaked out through an opening in its floor. This funnel formed a large cave within the underlying cave. The top reached the roof and closed it. The cave’s upper section also contains archaeological remains.
With its unique features and beautiful decorations, the cave of Agiou Galaktos is also certain to be a popular tourist attraction in Chios. It will also play a significant role in the development of this otherwise neglected part of the island.