Milatos Cave

Location: Milatos   

The Cave of Milatos in Lassithi Crete: The Cave of Milatos is located in the Prefecture of Lassithi , 3 km outside Milatos village. Although the cave doesn't have many stalactites and stalagmites, it has a historical and sentimental importance for the locals as this is where about 3,600 people were slaughtered there by the Turks in February 1823, during the Revolution times.

It was then that the Revolution had broken out and the Greeks were trying to deliberate from the Ottoman rule. Crete had also risen and the Turks were trying to suspend the revolutionary actions burning villages and killing people.

In an effort to save themselves, the residents of Milatos found shelter inside the cave. The men were protecting the entrance and the Turks had circled the cave, not letting them out. Two weeks passed, from February 3rd to 15th, and the Greeks were suffering from hunger and thirst. Exhausted as they were, they took a brave decision: to escape the cave and fight the Turks, hoping that some of them would survive. However, the Turks brutally killed most of them, the 18 priests were burned to death and those who survived were sold as slavers to Egypt.

To commemorate this tragic event, a small church of Saint Thomas was built inside the cave in 1935 and a memorial to host the bones of the killed people. A small service is held every year in this cave to their memory.

The cave itself is quite large, 73 metres long and 63 metres wide. Measuring about 2,100 sq.m., it has eight entrances and the height varies from one to three meters. Ancient remains have been found inside that testify the presence of people in the Neolithic times. To go to the cave, you park your car in the valley beneath and then take a narrow footpath on the slopes of a gorge, about 200 metres long.

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