Petralona Cave is one of Europe’s most impressive and important caves thanks to its wealth of fossils (one of the richest collections in Europe) and to the discovery of a human scull that dates back approximately 700.000 years and it is located near the village of Petralona, on Katsika Hill.
Nature has always been an unpredictable designer. This is more than obvious entering Petralona Cave, formed around a million years ago. The locals call it “the red-rock cave” due to the colour that the bauxite deposits give to the stone. The natural hollow stretches over a zone of 10,400m² and comprises of a progression of stoas, chambers, high roofs and pools, loaded with stalactites, stalagmites, draperies and shields, segments and different arrangements.
Its disclosure in 1959 opened a window into prehistoric times.
The Cave of Petralona was accidentally discovered in 1959 by a villager. They named it “Red stones” (Kokkines Petres) because of the red earth which coloured the stalagmites and stalactites. It covers an area of 10.000 m2. “The cave is part of an extensive cavern system in calcareous Mesozoic deposits containing large quantities of fossil mammalian bones including horse, cave bear, lion and others,” Encyclopedia Britannica says.
In 1960 Dr Aris Poulianos found a complete skull and part of the skeleton of an erect hominid. It belonged to a woman between 25-35 years old.
The skull is dated as being 700.000 years old and the traces of fire found next to it, around 1.000.000 years old.
It is considered one of the earliest human findings in Europe.
Sani is the first place on the west coast looking from Thessaloniki, 70km away. To begin with, it’s known for the famous Sani Resort, for many years the largest in Greece.
This luxurious complex consists of several hotels and buildings along the beautiful beach, including a fantastically landscaped park, large marina for luxury yachts and a church.
Sani beach is one of the most beautiful in Kassandra. The sea is wonderfully turquoise and the sand is whitish, fine and soft like flour. Shoal is long, making this beach a paradise for families with children.
Afitos is the third village after the isthmus of Potidea. It’s characteristic location, with the endless view to the Toroneos gulf, the architecture of its houses, the goodhearted and sometimes , “archaic” locals, make it such a special village in the area.
The ancient Afitis was a city of Pallini that held a lot of significance and is mentioned by ancient writers such as Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Aristotle, Pausanias, Strabo and others. The sanctuary of Dionysus (8th century BC) and the temple of Ammon Zeus (4th century BC) contributed substantially to the consolidation of its fame throughout antiquity. Afitis was a prosperous city during the archaic and classical times. Athitos made its own coin, which had the head of Amon Zeus, who was their protector. During the revolution of 1821 the village had a dynamic presence with its fighters and victims. In 1859, Agios Dimitrios was built in the center of the square, a three-aisled wooden-roofed basilica church with a dome, it was truly a gem of the village.
It is significantly worth it for the visitor to take a look at the peculiar architecture of the temple, its old icons and the stone carvings on the outside of the south wall. It is also worth walking around the large chapels that, Agios Georgios (1867), The Assumption of the Virgin Mary (1885), Agios Athanasios and Agios Nikolaos (Liosi), followed.
Also worth-seeing are the characteristic old stone houses with the inscriptions of their possesors and their stone carvings (1860 Katsani, 1864 Papavassiliou, 1876 Galani, 1889 Aletra, 1898 Athanasiadis etc.). In the house of Aletra, in the central square, there is now a folklore museum.
However, the most important attraction, which leaves the visitor speechless, is the traditional settlement of Afitos, with a very long history (Afitos has been around for approximately 28 centuries). The people of the community, refused to the anarchic tourist development, which had altered the place in recent years and while aiming to preserve their cultural heritage, they tried to show-off the village through its wonderful culture.