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Information on the Island of Crete

Caves - Loupassis S.A.

The Greek Speleological Society has recorded over 3.000 caves in Crete. Not only astounding examples of nature´s talent for interior decoration, many of them are also of great scientific value, being of archaeological, paleontological and historical interest. Man used caves as places of worship as well as dwellings from the Paleolithic era on.

The Minoans began the custom of worshipping their gods in small palatial or house shrines, in sacred caves and in shrines built on mountain peaks and the tops of hills

The Diktaian Cave (Dicteon Andron)

The legendary birthplace of Zeus, this cave can be reached by going to the outskirts of the village Psihro (48 km, east of Iraklio and 52 km. west of Agios Nikolaos), where there is a path ascending to it. Significant archaeological finds indicate that the cave was long a place of cult worship. One can go from the village to the cave on foot or by mule or donkey, which can be rented from the locals. The descent into the fascinating cave demands some caution. Stalactites of various shapes adorn the lower cave.

The Idaian Cave (Ideon Andron)

20 km south of Anogia on the upland plain of Nidas, on Mount Psiloritis, lies this sacred cave, where according to mythology, Rhea hid the baby Zeus from the murderous Kronos. Cult objects have been found here, along with statues and bronze shields and other finds now on display in the Iraklio Archaeological Museum.

The Gerani Cave of Rethimno

6 km from Rethimno, this is a cave of prehistoric, paleontological and archaeological interest. Finds from this cave may be seen in the Rethimno Archaeological Museum.

The Melidoni Cave

3 km from the village of Melidoni (26 km east of Rethimno), this was used for cult worship during the Neolithic, Minoan and Archaic periods.

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