About 50 kilometers from Thessaloniki, between Lakes Koronia and Lake Volvi, lies an impressive natural monument known as the Nymfopetres or Nymphs Stones.
About several thousand years old, the Nymphs Stones are a rare geological formation – a series of rocks, standing as if they had leaped from the face of the earth, some reaching heights of 4 meters and creating the impression of ‘a “forest of stones”. .
In total contrast to the surrounding green landscape, the NymfopÃ¨res are even more impressive because they are located around a meadow and flat areas, so they appear to have been placed there by humans.
The spectacle is extraordinary, especially at night in the moonlight, giving the landscape an extraterrestrial, almost mythical aspect.
Perhaps this is why the area has become the subject of local folklore, with a number of legends offering explanations of how this strange geological phenomenon originated.
The most popular myth says that the stones of the nymphs were once a wedding procession that was petrified outside the village.
Legend has it that once upon a time, a groom from Lagadas, escorted his bride with a large escort and her dowries to his village after their wedding.
But suddenly the bride, who had already cleaned everything in her parents’ house for her dowry, remembered that she had forgotten to take the spindle and sent someone to fetch it for her.
Legend has it that when the mother heard of her greedy daughter’s order, she got angry and cursed it, turning the bride and her entourage to stones.
Another myth also claims that the mother cursed her stepdaughter because she got married without her parents’ consent, resulting in the same petrified outcome for the wedding party.
A third myth claims that a group of hunters came across a group of nymphs bathing in the waters of a spring. Enchanted by the beautiful sight, they looked at them, provoking Artemis the goddess of wild animals, vegetation, chastity and childbirth to get angry at their disrespect and petrify them.
Despite the myths, however, the scientific explanation of the phenomenon of the particular rock formations is completely different and provides evidence of the intense geological activity of the region during its geological evolution and the diagenesis of the rocks which constitute the substrate of the region.
The peculiar vertical rock formations called the Nymphs Stones are made of travertine.
Travertine forms when water rich in carbon dioxide seeps through rocks in limestone areas, dissolving limestone and becoming saturated with it. When the environment water passes through undergoes significant changes such as pressure drops or temperature changes, water releases carbon dioxide as a gas, much like soft drinks. The calcium carbonate then recrystallizes; small debris, brush, and living biotic material such as moss, algae, and cyanobacteria become encrusted and layered fossilized over time.
Regardless of the scientific explanation, the beautiful forest of fossilized rock known as the Nymphs Stones remains fictionalized and a popular backdrop for wedding photography, with many newlyweds traveling to the mythical location with their nuptials to take photos. very unique photos of their special day. .
The neighboring village is named Nymfopetra (Nymphopetra) after this rare phenomenon.
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