In the written testimonies from the era of Ottoman rule, there is no reference to the cave, nor is the cave reported in any older historical texts. It is assumed that the existence of the cave had been unknown since its entrance was not visible due to morphology, but also because the lakeside route was not accessible therefore approaching was only possible through the lake.
The cave was accidentally discovered by local scouts in the 1940s when the lakeside road was constructed by General Sougaridis, thus the street was named after him. A few years later (1954) the Swedish explorer Linberg, after wandering through the cave, informed the local community about its fascinating and wealthy interior decoration.
The first serious attempt to highlight the great significance of the cave was made by Tzonis Zervoudakis in collaboration with the Hellenic Speleological Society in 1963; the first rough mapping was delivered as well as the first pictures of the cave’s interior departments. The proceedings escalated in 1966 and the research was completed in 1969 by a group from the Hellenic Speleological Company who registered the cave in the official Annual Bulletin of the Hellenic Speleological Society. At the same time, the leader, Mr. Palikaropoulos, carried out a preliminary study regarding the touristic exploitation of the cave.
Consecutive publications from local stakeholders as well as successive explorations brought about a catalytic effect. Official executive members from the Ephorate of Speleology of the Ministry of Culture were invited by the Municipality of Kastoria. The authorities in charge, in collaboration with the Association “Friends of the Environment”, submitted a formal report (1995) confirming the suitability and the cave’s potential prospects of touristic development.
Subsequently, the Municipality of Kastoria focused on finding the resources for the final elaboration of the study. As soon as the provision of funds was secured by the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace, the survey was assigned (1998) to a group of researchers from Kastoria, who led the whole activity, and the Municipality’s technical services, who undertook its supervision. In due course, the project “Exploitation of the Dragon Cave of Kastoria” was included in the Regional Operational Program (RIP) of Western Macedonia.
The Cave of the Dragon opened its gates to the public on December 13th, 2009. It is one of the most modern and sophisticated caves in the Balkans, equipped with highly advanced facilities and an air recycling and climate maintenance system that allows the cave’s natural state to be maintained while preventing erosion inside and protecting its rare flora.