Vatera - Nifida - Polichnitos
Ten kilometres of outstretched sand, crystal-clear waters and a horizon that does not end but at an endless blue, constitute the best guarantee for sea-lovers. This is Vatera. One of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. A summer resort that promises any guest an unforgettable stay and a summer bathed in sun, light and sea.
Along the coastline there are modern hotel units in business offering all amenities, restaurants and picturesque taverns for tasty gastronomic combinations and night spots for energetic and lively evenings. Furthermore, the region is ideal for beach sports, boat tours to neighbouring beaches and hiking expeditions.
The lush green mountains nearby are adorned with small churches and the remains of a civilisation of long ago. A history spanning thousands of years unfolds before the traveller’s eyes, in the face of marble ruins of ancient temples preserved in the foundations of old Christian churches, unearthed and testament of a glorious past.
On the eastern side of the Kallonis Gulf lies Polichnitos, one of the most scenic towns in the whole island. Imposing noble, neo-classical, public buildings, a beautiful cultural multi-centre and the famed Church of Agios Georgios – an impressive triple-aisle basilica – piece together an image of a city with a rich past in harmony with the present given its active and hospitable inhabitants.
Nature endowed Polichnitos with the hottest natural springs in Europe. These springs have been duly transformed into modern baths which provide ease and many amenities for the comfort of guests which they accommodate every year from all over the world.
The nearby beach of Nifida has also been developed into a tourist beach, slowly developing and transforming its own traditional texture. Any traveller to the island can enjoy the sand and the blue waters of the Gulf, as well as sampling seafood appetisers from the quaint taverns alongside the shore.
A collection of the natural history of Vrissa-Vatera
The region of Vrissa-Vatera, with the most unique beach in the Mediterranean, is characterised as exceptionally rare for its Palaeolithic fossils, unique not only to Greece, but perhaps to the whole of Europe. During recovery excavations in the region of Vatera various fossils were found in lakes, lake-banks and river deposits.
In clay deposits of the river then flowing, fossils of fish of various sizes were discovered, the largest of which was 80cm. It was a freshwater environment and apart from the fish, fossils of various plants were discovered that included aquatic carnivorous plants and various bulrushes, types of which no longer exist today.
The banks of this lake, were a watering-hole where various animals came to drink. Their animal prints have been preserved in certain areas.
The most important of the fossilised animals discovered, include: The jawbone, tusks and other parts of the skeleton of the proboscidean and mastodon Anancus arvenensis, which became extinct more than 1.6 million years ago. In various locations, fossilised horse bones of various size were discovered, one of which had attached hooves of greater dimension than the normal Equus stenosis.
The bones and jaw of the carnivorous Nyctereutes megamastoides were also discovered, a relative of today’s nyctereutis, as well as the bones of camels, rhinoceroses, various sized deer, antelopes, gazelles and other bovine creatures and tortoises.
The fossilised bones discovered belonging to the giant tortoise are amongst the most impressive finds; the tortoise is believed to have been about 2.5 metres in length, a size that can be compared to that of a modern car.
The most amazing amongst all the discoveries however, was the revelation of extremely rare types of animals, including that of a family of giant apes belonging to the species Paradolichopithecus, the earliest in representative age ever found in Europe.
The abundance of fossils of gazelles, horses, deer, tortoises and antelopes indicate an early savannah environment while the deposits point to the existence of river systems which crossed the region’s forest expanse and flowed into the lake.
It is worth nothing the existence of a rich fauna of fossilised freshwater fish, various sized shells and of fossilised flora. The age of the finds using magnetic methods of dating, is 2 million years old.