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MLJET Discover myths and secrets of the Odysseus cave By Jaganjac - Vlastito djelo postavljańća, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7202473

MLJET Discover myths and secrets of the Odysseus cave

By  Sep 25, 2016

It's hard not to fall in love with Mljet, one of the most beautiful and the greenest islands in Croatia. This heaven on Earth holds many secrets and carries many myths and legends. One of the most known ones is the legend of Odysseus.

In front of the Odysseus cave there is a rock called Ogiran. During high tide or during strong southern winds rock is completely covered by the sea and is a great danger to the sailors. According to the legend, because of that Odysseus was shipwrecked and swam to the cave where he took shelter. The island was dominated by the nymph Calypso. Odysseus was charmed by her and the island and he was trapped there for seven years before the gods released him. Local people believe that Mljet is ancient Ogigija because Homer in the Odyssey states that the olive trees and vineyards are right next to the shipwreck which is actually the case on Mljet. However, this legend is often atributed to the island of Malta.

When it comes to the facts, Odysseus cave is located on the southern coast of the island, near Babino Polje. Odysseus cave is egg-shaped cave with a few tens of meters in diameter. It’s also called ‘’Pit’’, because looking at the land side, it looks like a big hole in the ground. The bottom is filled with water. Through layers of limestone, which is separated from the open sea, there is a breakthrough in the form of the tunnel so the cave can be approached by swimming or with the small boat. The sea depth in the tunnel of the cave is 8 to 10 meters and the tunnel is about 20 meters long. It’s possible to access it from the coast too, but with very steep improvised stairs.

Odysseus cave is used as a shelter for fishing boats and fishing tools: nets, longlines and paddles, and is the most unusual port all over the Adriatic and beyond.

In the summer, around noon, when the sunlight strikes the cave area, the sea provides a spectrum of colors, especially interesting for tourists and lovers of real natural phenomena. In the pit itself, because of the high rocks, the light never comes.