Heraklion Skoteino Cave

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Location: Gouves

The Cave of Skoteino or Agia Paraskevi in Heraklion Crete: The Cave of Agia Paraskevi, close to Skotino village, is located at a distance of about 22 km from Heraklion city and is regarded as one of the three largest caves of Heraklion. Situated at an altitude of 225 m, the cave is 10 meters high and 27 meters wide. It was used mainly as a cult place in ancient times and later as a religious center for the Christians.

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Visitors can view a modern chapel built on the remains of an ancient chapel to the right side of the cave entrance. This new chapel is dedicated to Agia Paraskevi. Every year on 26th July, a large feast is held there.

The Cave of Agia Paraskevi is not officially open to visit, due to its depth which makes visiting dangerous. It goes deep down leading to the formation of extraordinary stalactites and stalagmites. The most interesting feature of this cave is the formation of amazing shapes and rocky structures. Along time, these rocky structures have taken the shape of a smiling child, a bear, a woman's head and many others.

Deeper inside the cave, there is an altar here, where sacrifices were executed during the ancient times for the purpose of cult worship. Lots of peculiar names and symbols have been inscribed in the walls close to this praying room. There are other chambers inside the cave at various depths and heights.

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