Rethymno Melidoni Cave

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Location: Melidoni

Melidoni Cave, also known as Gerontospilios, is located about 28 km from Rethymno Town at an altitude of 220 meters. The cave can be found in the homonymous village, named after Antonios Melidonis, a hero of the Greek Independence War against the Turks.
During the revolution, 370 unarmed inhabitants found shelter in the cave to protect themselves from the Ottomans but were suffocated to death after its entrance was sealed and set on fire by the Turkish forces. In 1834, the only survivor of the event, Manolis Kirimizakis, explored the cave and discovered the bones of the victims. Today, they’re being kept in a large sarcophagus inside the cavern, and a small chapel has been built at the entrance to honor their memory.

According to Greek mythology, giant Talos, gifted to King Minos by Zeus to protect Crete, used to live inside this cave. Various Neolithic objects have been found inside the cavern, now displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno. During the Minoan period, it was probably the worship site of some ancient goddess. 

The cave consists of many captivating rooms. The first one is called Room of Heroes, where you can see a complex of stalagmites called Mnimion (monument). Moving further, you will come across the Pashley Room, which is also full of impressive stalagmites and stalactites. The final chambers, Room of the Rocks, Chamber of Katavothra, and Iperoon, compose a truly outworldly atmosphere, thanks to their fascinating rock formations. The final room is called The Chamber of Curtains and is adorned with beautiful stalagmites and stalactites.

The biggest part of the cave is closed to the public as it’s being excavated. However, it’s still a sight definitely worth visiting that will leave you astonished.

The cave is open to the public from April to October.



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