Tafkos of Petradolakia
Tafkos of Petradolakia in Rethymno prefecture lies south of , at the site of Petradolakia and, at this point, it is the second deepest cave, after Tafkoura, in the area of Psiloritis.
One of the first potholes to be explored by the French speleologists in the 80s and 90s, at an altitude of 1.437 meters, Tafkos of Petradolakia is 475 meters in depth and the length of its corridors reaches 380 meters.
Its entrance is formed in a limestone of Tripoli and after the first 100 meters it digs into limestone plates of Psiloritis. Along the way, the Tafkos of Petradolakia has over 20 precipices with an average depth of 30 meters and, several of them, 45 and 60 meters deep creating waterfalls with large amounts of water. The flow of the water is constant throughout the year, with large variations in flow rate at the depth of 23 meters and below. In winter, the water level in the cave forbids its accessing from November to April, while the conditions are quite difficult even during the summer, since the water temperature is only 6 degrees Celsius.
The Tafkos of Petradolakia, consisting of at least 20 impressive vertical wells with an average depth of 30-40 meters, has rich decoration of all kinds, such as stalactites, stalagmites, columns, stone basins, helictites, corals etc.
Along the largest chamber of the cave, known as “the room of the deer”, fossilized skull fragments of a deer were found, an animal that is considered to have been living in Crete 50,000 years ago. Similar fossils have been found in other caves of Psiloritis.
The Tafkos of Petradolakia ends at the siphon where the French cavers dived in 1991. The water circulating in the cave’s depths probably ends up in underwater torrents in the northern coasts of Heraklio.