The Nevrokopi climate
During the winter months, as you may know, the temperatures in the mountains reach record lows, and the weather forecasts often refer to the area as having the lowest temperatures in the country. A further characteristic of the climate is low cloud and fog, especially in the early hours, which often covers the sun until midday. Snow is common, especially at the higher elevations and ice on the roads may make driving difficult, especially in the early morning.
Spring, which essentially begins at the end of April, is pleasant, as the surrounding hills and mountains are covered with mixed forests in leaf, water flows everywhere and the temperature is rising. Quite often, in the early morning, there are high levels of humidity, and visibility is reduced by thick fog. There are often showers and drizzle.
The summer is warm and humid, but pleasant. There is a lot of greenery and shady and cool slopes. The fogs are thinner, but never completely disappear. The water drains away and the area is ideal for cycling or hiking, especially at the edges of the plateau.
Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of year. The woods are coloured in various shades of yellow, orange, and red. The weather is perfect for walking and trekking, while the light shining on the plane becomes softer, turning the area into an exhibition of natural art.
In short, the area is a little-known paradise of natural beauty not found in much of the country.
Climbing towards the entrance of the fort
During your climb from the museum towards your visit to Cheloni, we would like to drawn to your attention certain issues which regard your safety, the preservation of the monument, and ensure a pleasant and enjoyable visit.
When visiting the theme park, visitors should equip themselves with appropriate clothing for the time of year.
During the summer months, the temperature ranges between 30-40°c, so light clothes, a hat, sun glasses, sun cream, and insect repellent (for the more sensitive) will be necessary.
It is a good idea to remove your sun glasses before entering the Cheloni, so that your eyes can become accustomed to the light in the bunker.
You should also make sure that you have a bottle of water with you.
During your visit inside the Cheloni during the summer, you will need to put on something light due to the difference in temperature with the outside. The temperature inside the bunker remains almost stable, around 20°c all year. During the winter, you may need to remove some clothing for the same reason.
During the autumn months, the temperature ranges between 10-20°c, in the winter it is around, or below, 0. You should therefore bring suitable clothes.
For the climb you should wear athletic shoes or walking boots, which are light with good grip. It is important that you do not carry unnecessary items and it would be a good idea to bring a back pack to keep your hands free.
The pathway up, around 300m in length, has been constructed bearing in mind the absolute preservation of the natural environment. It is therefore quite uneven, with rocky surfaces and points that require attention and concentration. It is advisable to follow the path.
Due to the great difference in altitude between the museum and the Cheloni, the climb is tiring and you are advised to make at least three stops to rest, as well as enjoy/photograph the beautiful Nevrokopi Valley which stretches before you.
Smoking is forbidden during the climb, as is littering. There are special bins at the beginning and end of the climb where you can dispose of your rubbish. Please do not hesitate to collect rubbish left by those less responsible than you.
You are welcome to bring a pet with you on the climb, on the condition that you are prepared to leave it outside during your visit to the Cheloni.
You can use your mobile phone up to the entrance of the Cheloni, but once inside the bunker, the signal will be lost, regardless of your mobile provider.
The descent into the Cheloni
After descending into the entrance to the bunker, wait there a while for your eyes to get accustomed to the low light.
Ahead of you is a steep descent of about 13m (3.5 floors of a modern building) via a stairway consisting of 64 steps. As with all the corridors in the bunker, the stairway is narrow and visitors should go down one by one, leaving at least 3 steps between each other. If during your ascent or descent you meet another visitor going the other way, please stop and let them pass. If you are accompanying minors, please be very careful not to slip or trip as the steps are narrow. Never forget that you are in a military environment that requires special attention and focus. Although the building was the best of its kind at the time, it remains a fortified construction.
It would be advisable to hold onto the handrail as you go down. If you are part of a group going down into the bunker, please let anyone younger and more able go first, so that you have more time to go up or down, without worrying that you are obstructing those behind you. Do not hesitate to take breaks. It is a good idea to take your time, in order to study the details of the construction.
When you reach the bottom of the steps, you will find a long narrow corridor (B1) along which you can begin your tour.
The Areas of the Cheloni
To begin with, the bunker you are visiting is one of the five in Fort Lisse. It is neither the largest, nor the most important, but it is the most accessible and...the most economical to restore. Hill 771, as the site into which the bunkers were dug was known to the soldiers and topographers, is in the shape of a turtle (‘Chelonas’ in Greek). Therefore, as the bunker you are visiting is at the head of this turtle, it was known by the name ‘Cheloni’. Please don’t imagine that all the bunkers are named after turtles!
The chambers were dug out using explosives and hand tools. Thus, there are differences in both width and height. You must wear your helmet at all times and be careful of changes in height, especially at the points where one space joins another. You ignore this instruction at your peril! We have a lot of ‘experience’ of this.
All the spaces in the Cheloni are on the same level, except where the bunker meets the mountain slopes, and there is contact with the exterior. These points are the gun and machine gun posts. Depending on the strategic criteria on which these were chosen, the level at which they are located varies. Sometimes they are reached by climbing just a few steps, at other points 5 or 6, and at others around 40.
For various practical reasons, to do with safety and internal communication, the rooms in the Cheloni have been given names. You will see these names on the diagram below.
It is assumed that visitors with a role know this diagram by heart!
Signs posted at various points in the bunker indicate the rooms/sectors.