Eileithyia Cave

Location: Amnissos   

The Cave of Eileithya in Heraklion Crete: The cave of Eileithyia is approximately 1 km to the south of Amnissos beach. It took its name after a mythological goddess, who was said to protect pregnant women and help them to have a painless delivery with no complications. Moreover, the tradition says that goddess Eileithyia was born by Hera inside this cave. In fact, this cave was the most important worshiping place dedicated to this goddess, especially during the Minoan times.

The cave extends for over 64m and has an entrance to the east side. Once inside, there is a rectangular anteroom and a rectangular sort of altar surrounded by some stalagmites with cylindrical shape. There is also a courtyard outside, which was probably used for ceremonial activities.

An interesting detail about this cave are the many objects that were uncovered, which prove that it was continuously used during a long period of time, that goes approximately from the Neolithic period to the early Christian era, around the 5th century AC. When it comes to intensive use, the periods that came after the Minoan times are the Neolithic and the late Roman age. In fact, some buildings from the 14th and 13th centuries BC were also discovered in the area, which apparently housed the priests of this worshiping cave.

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