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Samos Prefecture, Greece

Pythagoras Cave

Cave on extinct volcano, once home to famous mathematician Pythagoras 

On the Greek island of Samos is a cave system that was once home and classroom to famous mathematician and philosopher, Pythagoras. The cave is located on Mount Kerkis, an extinct volcano that forms the second-highest peak in the East Aegean.

Though Pythagoras’ theorems have been fundamental to our understanding of mathematics, relatively little is known about the man who first proved that, in a right triangle, a2 + b2 = c2. According to local legend, however, Pythagoras fled to these caves when he was being hunted by the infamous tyrant, Polycrates, around 400 B.C.

During this time, it is believed that Pythagoras inhabited one small cave and used a nearby larger cave as his classroom. One can only imagine the types of lessons Pythagoras taught while living on Mount Kerkis. After all, in addition to being a mathematician, Pythagoras was also the founder of the esoteric religious movement known as Pythagoreanism.

Rooted in both mathematics as well as mysticism, Pythagoreanism has been described as “a philosophical school, a religious brotherhood, and a political association.” Though it is known that the Pythagoreans followed many of the religious and ascetic beliefs of their master, much of their practices have been shrouded in secrecy.

Today, most of the caves on Mount Kerkis are open to the public. Visitors can explore the old home of Pythagoras, nearby chapels, as well as a series of stalactites which “holy water” allegedly drips from.

Know Before You Go

About 3 km from Campos village, located in the Marathokampos region (southwestern Samos). The cave sits at the foot of Mount Kerkis. A nearby nude beach Sitea, overlooks Turkey

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