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Ontria – A Rare Geomorphological Phenomenon


Ontria – A Rare Geomorphological Phenomenon

Ontria seems to have come straight out of a fairy tale. It is comprised of Megala Ontria (Big Ontria) to the south, and Mikra Ontria (Small Ontria) to the north. It used to be called Ontra or Lontria. It is the eastern extension of the main body of Voio. It begins abruptly from the col that is formed north of Paliokrimini and concludes after 20 km, just before Argos Orestiko. The spot where the two mountain chains connect used to be called Porta tis Pindou (Doorway of Pindos), as Voio forms an opening allowing entrance to its bosom.

The peaks of Ontria are Megali Ontra and Mikri Ontra, with an altitude of 1,589 and 1,530 meters respectively. Their form, with the triangular shape and multifaceted rocks, is very peculiar. Of course, every mountain is unique and cannot be repeated, Ontria, however, is truly special. It consists of two enormous, forested, canted plateaus, perpendicular to all directions except to the east. The plateau of Megala Ontria has a diameter of 2.5 km, while the one of Mikra Ontria 1.7 km. Around them there are vertical rocks rising from 50 to 100 meters and then deep and steep gorges, allowing few accesses to the peak.

The limestone rocks that are found in the location create intense shapes. Some of the caves that have been recorded are Spilaio ton Neron (Cave of the Waters), Kleftotrypa (Hole of the Rebels), Spilia tou Nanou (Cave of the Dwarf), Spilia tou Kostaki (Cave of Kostakis), Spilaio sti Vrysi tou Mprez (Cave at the Drinking Fountain of Mprez) and Spilia tou Ai-Mina (Cave of Saint Minas). The old legends for the Lakkoi (sink-holes) are impressive, as well as for the paths and the mysterious forests. There are also rare fossils in the area, all the way to Nostimo and Skalohori, as well as waterfalls at Mikra Ontria, near villages Lagka and Petropoulaki, similar to those of Skotomeno Nero at Vythos.


Most of the Kastanohoria of Voio are built on the slopes of Ontria. Near the peak of Orlia, at a high altitude, there used to be the village Gkotsi, which has now been destroyed. This is where Ntourvarostrata would pass, one of the well known, cobblestone but non-signaled paths that led to the mountain peaks. No road can access the heart of Ontria, and that is why it remains unscathed by the passage of time, closed to itself and surrounded by virgin forests.

The southern extension of Ontria is Klepsios, with the same orientation and altitude close to 1,300 meters. Gorges, mountainous valleys and cliffs compose a wild and harsh landscape from the side of the village of Dafni to the south, while the north side, with a view of Polykastano, is covered by so dense forests that the mountain appears inaccessible. Just like Ontria, it consists of a peculiar plateau with vertical cliffs. Klepsios combines all the advantages of an impregnable spot, which is why it used to be a castle. To complete its fortification, a wall more than one meter thick had been built on the east side, remains of which can still be seen today. The old fort, due to the extended view, is likely to have been used for the passage of information through signals of fire that could be seen from peak to peak.

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