48 km east of Heraklion and 52 km west of Agios Nicholaos, near the village of Psichro. From Psichro 800 m walk, or hire a mule.
|Open:||OCT to MAR daily 8:30-15. APR to SEP daily 8:30-19. Daily 8-17. Open 8.30 to 19.00. |
|Fee:||Adults EUR 2.50. Mule EUR 6. |
|Dimension:||A=1,025 m asl|
Georgios I Panagiotakis (1988):
The Dictaean Cave,
In English, published by the author. 118 pp, SB, numerous photos, some in colour, survey etc.
A useful introduction to the cave with 42 refs in the bibliography.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|2000-1700 B.C.||inhabited in the Prepalatial Period.|
|700 B.C.||appeared first in literature.|
|1415||first exploration by a Florentine monk.|
|1851||explored by Captain Spratt (of Malta fame).|
|1895||explored by Evan.|
|1899||explored by Hogarth.|
|1939||explored by Pendelbury.|
|1999||electric light installed.|
Diktaion Antron (The Dictaean Cave) is overlooking the Lassithi Plateau, the view from the cave entrance is marvelous. According to greek mythology, Rhea hid the baby Zeus from the murderous Cronos in this cave. See the link below for the complete legend.
But this is one of two caves claiming to be cave from mythology, the other one is Idaion Andron. The story about Zeus is told here: Zeus Grown Up in a Cave. This cave is also the place of a second story, where Zeus many years later met Europe.
Archaeologists have uncovered many icons and votive symbols, confirming that the cave was an important place of worship during the Minoan era. In the background of the cave is a small pond, where - according to myth - Zeus bathed and around which most of the offerings were found. The excavations were carried out by the English archeologist David Hogarth. The finds are scattered in museums all over the world from the Oxford Museum to the Louvre in Paris, France.
The huge cave portal allows the sunlight into the first chamber. The trail goes down a debris slope to the cave floor. The entrance chamber is followed by two more chambers which are well decorated with speleothems, mostly stalactites and stalagmites. One chamber contains an underground lake.