July 19, 2014

Dikti Cave, Crete, Greece

Dikti (Dicte) Cave, aka Psychro Cave or Diktaion Antron, is a show cave in the Dikti mountains on the east of the island of Crete, Greece. A visit to the cave is included on many day trips from the beach villages east of Heraklion on the north coast of Crete. After visiting Knossos, the tours go up into the mountains to the Lassithi Plateau.

The Dikti mountains surround the plateau, which is at about 850 m. The highest mountain is Spathi 2148 m. There are many plateau in these mountains but Lassithi is the largest, lying on the north side of the plateau. At this height, olives and other crops no longer grow. Instead there is a sub alpine flora, with pines, oak, Cyprus, maples.There are many windmills for irrigation.

Dikti Cave is situated near the village of Psychro. It is quite a climb to the cave, up a long and winding road, although you can go by donkey for 10 one way.


The hills do not really look like limestone.
Entrance to the cave is €4. On the day I went there were so many people, there was a queue for the tickets, then it was a case of following a long line of people through the cave. This is the queue for the tickets -

The cave is basically a large single chamber. Many steps lead down to the bottom of the chamber which is packed full of stalagmites and stalactites.

There are electric lights and no flash photography is allowed. Needless to say some people did use flash and a lady working there was shouting "no flash". My photos are not good without flash, also it was hard to stop and take photos with the crowds of people.

There is a raised walkway all the way through and in places the stalagmites are used as handholds. Looking at the survey, it seems there is not much more to the cave, just another chamber off from the top of the steps. Temperature was 18-19° C.

To the right of the entrance is probably the way to the other part of the cave -


According to some Greek mythology, Zeus was reared on this mountain in a cave called Dictaeon Andron (Psychro Cave). Other stories say Zeus was born (and raised) in the cave, although other stories say he was born/raised elsewhere, or even came from the sky.

Zeus is the father of all gods.

Today they refer to it as stalagmite stalactite cave.

Washington Uni did a study on the skeletons found and determined from the DNA they people came from the Iraq area. Pottery from 7000 BC was found in the cave, also  bronze, metal, and clay models of sheep and goats. 100 goats were sacrificed at the cave (each year?) for the rebirth of Zeus.

Now 200,000 visitors a year to the cave. There are 3000 caves on Crete. My camera gps location said Oropedio, Lasithiou, Lasithi Kriti.


 © Liz Price
No reproduction without permission


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