Coordinates for navigation of the parking lot in front of the cave entrance:

35.38419, 24.72969

location - see the map in the tile below

 

price for parking; free

 

opening hours:

in summer: daily  8:00 am ÷ 6:00 pm

in winter: daily 8:30 am ÷ 3:00 pm

 

price for the entrance to the grotto:

3, - € / adult

€ 2 / reduced

Connections of the Melidoni cave with Greek mythology

 

The cave was investigated by the Italian archeology school and archaeological service. Both of them found a lot of evidence in the cave that the place was related to the third millennium BC. It was definitely living quarters. Dishes, tools and fireplaces were discovered here. It was also a place of worship, as bronze sculptures, figurines and lamps were found here. Even the Roman period, i.e. the 1st or 2nd century CE, left memories in the form of cuneiform inscriptions.

The Melidoni cave is associated with Greek mythology thanks to the connection with the giant Talos, considered the guardian of Crete. According to legends, the bronze giant statue was made by Hephaestus and donated to Minos, son of Zeus and King Knossos, a place that we visit in crowds every year. Talos himself, due to his size, traversed Crete three times a day, overseeing its security and guarding the island from foreign invasions. Apparently, when he saw someone who was not Cretan, he heated red in his arms to burn a man alive. Unfortunately, he had a "weak spot" on the ankle. As usual, she was the cause of death.

Melidoni Cave

 

"Moral freedom is the most powerful refuge for the human soul." These words were spoken by the philologist Evangelos Vassalos in front of the altar in the Melidoni cave on January 31, 2016, on the 192 anniversary of the Holocaust (Holocaust derives from Greek and means a burnt offering).

The said ceremony took place two months after the actual date, which for the Cretans is one of the many important symbols of the struggle for independence.

The island was under Ottoman rule for about 220 years. The Turks introduced not only their own governments, but also a completely different culture and religion. They bloodily suppressed every act of fighting against the occupant. When another uprising broke out in 1821, the Turks increased their armed forces. They attacked towns and villages to suppress any form of struggle by fear.

In November 1823, 370 inhabitants, mainly old people and women with children, and about 30 men, took refuge in the Melidoni Cave, fearing for their lives. When the Turks discovered the place of their escape, they ordered them to surrender. There were clashes, as a result of which Hussein Pasha's unit lost 24 people.

This infuriated the commander. In retaliation, he attached an explosive to the cave entrance and set it on fire. The smoke that entered the cave choked everyone inside.

The remains of the victims rest in the grave in the main room of the grotto.

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mapa Krety

przewodnik [pdf]

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Coordinates for navigation of the parking lot in front of the cave entrance:

35.16496, 25.44757

location - see map in the tile at the bottom of the page

 

price for parking; 2,- €

 

opening hours:

in summer: daily 8:00 am ÷ 8:00 pm

in winter: daily 8:00 am ÷ 3:00 pm

 

price for entering the grotto:

6, - € / adult

children up to 18 years old and adults over 65 years old - free

Visiting the cave

 

From Psychro there is a short drive to a large car park with even more tavernas and souvenir shops. It is very crowded at any time of the day, but everyone will find their place.

Leaving the car costs 2,- €. Then you have to go on foot or on a donkey. The walk is quite demanding, you have to go uphill a lot and, although you can feel the summer heat in the shade.

A large amount of the drink is a must, but it's also worth a bite to eat. A fee of 6, - € must be paid before entering the grotto as the cave is a monument under the protection of the Ministry of Culture and Sports in Athens.

History of the Dikte cave

 

The cave was used as a place of worship as early as the 3rd millennium BC, although traces of human presence are believed and found from an even earlier period. In the Minoan period, i.e. approx. 2800 ÷ 2200 BC was the burial site. For a long time, since Roman times, homage to the gods was made here. Clay figures of idols, bronze tools and jewels were found.

During the reign of the Ottoman Turks in Crete, the cave was a place of refuge.

In 1886, two archaeologists, Iosif Chatzidakis and Federico Halbherr, became interested in the cave. In 1899, the famous Arthur Evans came here. However, the work was carried out chaotically and without major arrangements. Moreover, research techniques, e.g. using dynamite, were lethal to souvenirs.

Dikte, or the cave of Zeus

           

The Lasithi Plateau is extremely picturesque. Here you can see windmills, wide vineyards and olive groves. All this surrounded by mountains, you can always see the blue of the sea when you pass them. On the outskirts of a small town called Psychro is the Dikte Cave, also called Psychro from the city's name, or simply the Cave of Zeus.

According to mythology, it is here, hidden from the evil titan, that is, the giant god - Kronos, that Rhea gave birth to little Zeus. Titan swallowed all his children because Father Uranus had foretold several centuries earlier that the children would take over his kingdom. Poor Rhea, unable to bear the loss of another offspring, feeling the approaching time of childbirth, hid in a deep cave in the mountains of Crete.

Apparently, the Cretans, realizing how important this moment is and how much it is necessary to protect a child from an evil father, organized loud and wild dances so that no one would hear the moans of the goddess in labor. The child was raised by Amalthea, who, according to various legends, was a nymph or a goat.

The story is known to everyone, as is the fact that the adult Zeus, along with the liberated siblings and Athena, dealt with the evil father and, as predicted, conquered the kingdom.

Crete is very closely related to the king of Olympus, therefore it is considered its mythological guardian.

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