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At a glance

Diktaeon Antron (Diktaean cave) is one of the most impressive caves in Crete, located on the northern slopes of the Dikti mountain range, at an altitude of 1025m.

Archaeological research has shown that for an extended period of time, from about 1800 BC to the 7th century BC, the cave was one of the most important places of worship in Crete, where believers would come even from very distant places to honor the deity and bring offerings.


According to ancient tradition, Diktaion Antron is the cave to which Rhea fled to give birth to Zeus. The goat Amaltheia, who was a Nymph according to another myth, raised Zeus, while the Kouretes covered the infant’s crying with the sounds of their weapons and their wild dances.

The whole cave occupies an area of around 2200m2 and the tourist route inside the cave extends for 250m.

At the entrance of the cave, the visitor can see an antechamber on the right and a large hall at the front. The antechamber has a total length of 42m, a maximum width of 19m, and a maximum height of 6.5m.

The cult probably begun in the Early Minoan period (2800 – 2300 BC)—although there are traces of an earlier human presence in the antechamber. The main finds, however, date from the Middle Minoan period (1800 BC) and later, as the cave’s period of use appears to be extensive. Its use continued uninterrupted until the Geometric (8th century BC) and Orientalising – Archaic period (7th – 6th century BC). From the finds it seems that the cave was still in use even during the Roman period. Devotees dedicated many votive offerings, such as figurines of worshippers, gods, animals, double axes, weapons, and more.

Must see

In the far left of the large hall of the cave, there is a small chamber, in the niche of which Zeus is believed to have been born. To the right, there is another chamber, much larger, which is divided into two sections. In the first, the visitor can see a pond, the water of which is usually preserved throughout the year, and in the second, the “mantle of Zeus”, a large and spectacular stalactite.


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