Discover Miracles of Kouris Dam: submerged church and Loch Ness of Cyprus

Miracles of Kouris Dam: submerged church and Loch Ness of Cyprus

Kouris Dam is the largest dam of a network of 107 dams in Cyprus. It is located in the Limassol District and is fed by the Kouris River along with other smaller watercourses including the Diarizos River which has its water diverted to Kouris Dam via an underground pipeline. The Kouris Dam was flooded in 1988.

Location

Its construction was opposed by environmental groups concerned about the effects of water diversion on the Limassol Salt Lake, a wetland located downstream to the rivers and used by migratory birds. The dam is part of the Southern Conveyor Project, which carries water from the SW side of Cyprus to the SE part of the island, over a distance of 120 km.

Kouris Dam, Lake, Landscape, Mountains, Nature

The dam has a central clay core zoned earth-fill embankment with a height of 110m and a crest length of approximately 550 metres providing a water storage volume of 115 million cubic metres.

The submerged church of Saint Nicholas

The church is visible only if water levels drop creating this astonishing phenomenon, and with the abundant rains and inflow of water into the dam last and current winter, it is gradually ‘disappearing’ again, with only the spire visible. The church was a part of the old Alassa village. Another church in the name of Saint Nicholas was built when the new village was constructed in 1980s just opposite the Kouris Dam.

Alassa is situated 12 km from Limassol on the road to Platres and was relocated here in 1985 after the village was submerged with the construction of Kouris dam — Cyprus’ biggest.

St. Nicholas Church Kouris Dam Cyprus

Photo: Theodoros Demetriades 

Photo: Theodoros Demetriades 

Since its construction, the dam has overflowed 4 times: in 2004, 2012, and during two consecutive years 2019 and 2020.

“The monster” of Kouris dam

In 2008, rumours held that an “unknown monster” was swimming in the dam, leading to humorous references to a “Cyprus Loch Ness Monster.” Local community leaders authorised a search but did not find such a creature.

In all likelihood the so-called “Kouris Monster” – if it ever existed – could be a crocodile or other reptile that someone first had purchased as a pet and eventually got rid of it releasing in the dam.

Sources:

Wikiperdia

InCyprus

Photos:

Pixabay

InCyprus

Cyprus from air (CYFA)

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