Have you ever been to the Thassos Tzines cave?
It is probably the most underrated place in Thassos that is not on Google maps yet!
By the way, if you are wondering how to get to Thassos, here is our complete Thassos Ferry Guide to keep you and your loved ones on the move.
That’s weird, especially if you consider it’s more than 20,000 years of age!
Here is everything you need to know about the ochre cave with the oldest mining activity in Europe.
Prepare to be amazed!
What is Tzines Thassos
Thassos Tzines cave is a prehistoric cave in Thassos, between the villages of Maries, Limenaria, and Kastro. It dates back to 18,000 BC when hunters from the mainland visited the island to collect ochre.
This was possible because, at the time, the island was part of the mainland. The earthquake that gave birth to Thassos as we know it came much later.
Tzines isn’t just another cave; it’s a portal to an ancient world, a journey back in time, where every stalactite and stalagmite tells a story millions of years old.
Picture this: you’re stepping away from the sun-drenched beaches of Thassos, venturing into the cool, mysterious embrace of Tzines. It’s an adventure that beckons the curious and rewards the brave.
What is Tzines cave in Thassos known for?
The 20,000-year-old Tzines is the ochre cave with the oldest mining activity in Europe. Today, Thassos Tzines cave is a somewhat forgotten archaeological destination in Thassos that deserves all the attention you can give.
Not only will your visit allow you to explore such an ancient cave, but it will also be an opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy a short hike. Here is a video of Tzines cave and the view from its entrance:
Tzines Cave History
What sets Tzines apart is not just its beauty, but its history. This cave has been a silent witness to the passage of time, holding secrets of the past within its depths. As you explore, you’re walking the same paths as ancient inhabitants, connecting with a time when humans were intimately tied to the earth.
The cool air inside contrasts sharply with the Mediterranean warmth outside, offering a refreshing respite. The sound of your footsteps echoes off the walls, mingling with the distant drip of water, creating a symphony that accentuates the cave’s serene atmosphere.
What is ochre?
Once you enter the Thassos Tzines cave, you cannot but notice how red its ceilings are. Your hands will even turn red as you may need to grab the ground as you approach its entrance. That red color on your hands comes from ochre, an important earth material that ancient man used for painting and ceremonial purposes.
In more scientific terms, ochre is a mineral consisting of clay, iron oxide, and siliceous materials. In prehistoric times, ochre was as valuable as gold is today. Kings and priests considered it an indispensable part of their formal appearances and ceremonies.
How did Thassos hunters collect ochre?
The prehistoric man used Paleolithic tools made of horn or hematite to extract ochre from the cave walls. Think of deer horns being used as wedges and cobbles as hammers. These cobbles were usually made of marble or slate and were found in the nearby streams.
Archaeologists also found tools made of bones and flint blades. They believe that prehistoric man used spatulas or sharp edges to take the ochre and collect it into specially designed horns. On other occasions, stone percussions or hammers were the main extraction tools.
How did the prehistoric man use ochre?
Although scientists claim we can only speculate, evidence around Europe hints at the use of ochre. When searching ancient tombs, they found ocher pellets and nuggets that probably symbolized blood and life. In other words, ochre may have played a role in funeral rituals.
At the same time, ochre was a vital component of paintings in prehistoric caves. Apart from that, experts also think that ochre could be used to add shadows in ordinary paintings. However, that was most probably an invitation that came later in time.
How to get to Tzines Cave?
The shortest way to get to Tzines cave is to drive until the Maurolakos position, park your car there, and take the path you will see on your left. After you walk about two kilometers, you will see Tzines cave on your left. If you have a keep or 4×4, you can also drive all the way to the cave.
Another option is to rent an electric mountain bike, get to Tzines cave, and explore the area from the comfort of your seat. Once you reach Tzines, you will notice the cave is a bit high, making entering it a bit difficult. So, pay attention to the ground on your way up, use your hands, and you will be okay.
In any case, visiting Tzines cave should be part of your Thassos Island plans. By the way, if you haven’t decided on your Thassos Island itinerary yet, check one of my suggested itineraries for your Thassos holidays: a 7-day itinerary, a 5-day itinerary, or a shorter 4-day itinerary.
Map of Tzines Cave in Thassos
Currently, Tzines is not on Google Maps, but I have requested to be added. In any case, you may need a map of Tzines cave and the nearby area, so you can know where to park and where exactly you will find Tzines cave. For that reason, I have created a specific map you can download for free today. There, you can also find hyperlinks to the exact location of Tzines cave and the parking spot. You can download the map below:
Tzines cave is probably one of the most undervalued attractions in Thassos, especially if you consider it is more than 20,000 years old. You don’t always have the chance to visit such an archaeological venue! If you haven’t been there already, it’s more than worth the effort.
In any case, let me know what you think about Tzines Cave in the comments below!
Remember, the Tzines cave is among the Top 21 Reasons to visit Thassos!
Visiting Tzines Cave is more than just a sightseeing trip; it’s an experience that touches the soul. It’s a reminder of the world’s hidden wonders, waiting just off the beaten path.
So, when you’re in Thassos, take a detour. Discover Tzines Cave. Let it captivate you, inspire you, and remind you of the beauty and mystery that lies just beneath the surface.
To explore more, check out these Top 17 Day Trip Ideas in Thassos.
If you’re convinced you should visit the Tzines cave and the island, here is how to get to Thassos via air and ferry routes.
You also want to be smart about the timing of your holidays, so check the Thassos weather patterns and the best time to visit the island.
My favorite times are late spring and early autumn, but you may also want to visit Thassos in winter.
And when you want to read something fun about the island during your holidays, here are 35 fun facts about Thassos.
To look even cooler in your posts, remember to spice up your Instagram or Facebook feed with one of these 106 Captions and Quotes about Thassos.