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The Waterfalls of Skotomeno Nero – A Natural Monument


The Waterfalls of Skotomeno Nero – A Natural Monument

Behind Vythos, between Stroziavo and Sioupotista, there is a rare natural monument, Skotomeno Nero (Killed Water). The path that used to lead there had been forgotten for many years and has been recently rediscovered through the Pindos program by youngsters of the Ecological Movement of Kozani and painter Argyris Pafilis, who afterwards dedicated a painting to the area. Below there is the mixed forest of Sioupotista with many age-long chestnuts, the oldest of which can be found a little after the dirt road that leads to the area, at the beginning of the path, just before the picturesque hut of Papazisis. The panicked inhabitants of Vythos sought refuge in this forest in July 1944, when the Germans arrived in the village to burn it down. After the end of the forest begins Mavriaha, or Mavri Rahi (Black Slope), which is thus called due to the dark shade of its cliffs. The slope grows continuously higher until it reaches 1,535 meters, just before the peak of Profitis Ilias. In a peculiar way, a stream flows perpendicularly to its rocks and forms a series of waterfalls, three of which are quite large and placed one above the other. This is Skotomeno Nero or Kremasi, whose memory remained alive only in the minds of the old inhabitants of Vythos and of shepherds. Today, the routes that lead there have been signaled and the path has been opened through the deep forest. As a result the waterfalls are now visitable and a landmark of not only the area, but of the entire Voio.

The first is Kato Vathra (Lower Pond), 20 meters high. Initially the water falls vertically and then begins an erratic route among the rocks. There are many who are not aware of the other waterfalls and refer to this waterfall alone as Skotomeno Nero. From here on, the next stop is further up, at Epano Vathra (Upper Pond), which can be accessed either via the smooth, perimetric path (around 40 min.) or a straight, steep path (10 min.). Epano Vathra is 30 meters high from which, remarkably, water falls perfectly vertically and unobstructed. It hovers in the air changing directions according to the direction of the wind. An enormous rocky roof enables visitors to stand exactly behind the waterfall, as well as right opposite, as the path safely reaches there, too. The last to reveal itself is Krymmeni Vathra (Hidden Pond), which is thus called because it is not visible from anywhere. The water falls gradually in stairs, from a height of 10 meters. The landscape here, contrary to the other two waterfalls, is more serene and offers an opportunity for a dive to the more daring at heart.

In spring, as Easter approaches, the stream rushes joyfully through the valleys; during the summer though, it dries up, leaving only vertical rocks, an image quite impressive all the same. The residents of Vythos say that in the old times, when it rained and snowed more, the waterfalls had plenty of water. Although located in an area protected from the northern winds, they are reported to have frozen, due to the high altitude, which even reaches 1,200 meters. You should see it frozen during the winter, crystals reach all the way down, narrates the experienced lumberjack and connoisseur of the area Lefteris Gyftakis.

One reaches Skotomeno Nero by a 2-hour trek from Vythos, via the signaled path Vythos – Ailias. Alternatively, one can use a 4x4 car and follow for about 3.5 km the dirt road that begins from the provincial road that connects Vythos with the Monastery of Agia Triada, passing from the hut of Sakis, from where one can acquire fresh goat milk. The path leads exactly beneath the forest of Sioupotista, from where it is a 30-minute ascend to the first waterfall. The area is accessed even more easily by the upper forest road which goes up Profitis Ilias and leads to the left, to the crest of Mavriaha. This way, one can reach the waterfalls from above and begin the ascend from the drinking fountain and reach his/her destination in just 20 minutes.



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