Dictean Cave [Diktaion Andron]

MyCretaCab > Historical > Dictean Cave [Diktaion Andron]

Distance from Heraklion: 60 km

Distance from Chania: 199 km

Opening hours: Summer 08:00-20:00 Winter 08:00-15:00

Amenities: Parking lot, taverns in the surrounding area

Dictean Cave is located on the north side of Dikti mountain on Crete, a bit further away from the village of Psychro, at an altitude of 1020 m in the municipality of Lassithi Plateau, Crete. Most scholars relate the Cave of Psychro with the well-known “Diktaion Andron”, as Hesiod mentions it, where Zeus is said to have been born and raised with the help of the Dictaean Kourites and Amalthea, who nurtured the infant with her goat’s milk. That is why it is also called Bethlehem of the Ancient World. The cave itself has been associated with stories like the one with the seer Epimenides who “slept” here, the rape of Europa by Zeus, the birth of Minos, the Harpies, etc.

The conditions in the cave have created a habitat with a rich fauna. In the entryway, wild pigeons and other varieties of birds nest, while, deeper further, species from arthropods and the Mediterranean Ear Bat live. The cave is rich in stalagmites and stalactites and seems to have been inhabited since the Neolithic era.

As soon as you enter the cave, you will find yourself in the entryway, where you can immediately feel the immediate difference in temperature. The most magical thing in this place, as in all caves, is the absolute silence that make the visitors feel awe and serenity at the same time. A 250-meter trail will lead you to the cave and the large hall. While the most charming part of the route is the lake, full of coins, which is surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites, the “mantle of Zeus”, a stalactite which hangs over the lake like a chandelier and whose shape resembles a cloak, is the main player in the cave.

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