Diktaion Andron Cave
|Distance||48km from Agios Nikolaos|
|Open to the public:||Daily 08:00-19:30 (except Mondays), from April- October|
|Entrance fee:||Adults 4 €, 2 € for senior citizens. Below 18 years of age and students free of charge.|
|Parking space:||Available for all types of vehicles|
|Facilities for people with disabilities:||Not Available. Τhere is the possibility of getting to the entance of the cave on a donkey|
|Supervised by:||Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports|
|Access & walking difficulty:||Difficulty rating 3. The ancient stone alley and the newer paved alley lead uphill from the parking space to the mouth of the cave. The interior walk through the cave includes 200 steps downhill and 200 steps uphill. One can hold on to a metal side bar a|
The Diktaion Andron cave is located 48km from Agios Nikolaos on the south of Lasithi plateau, 1025 altitude. It was surveyed by Halbherr, Hatzidakis, Evans and Demargne at the end of the 19th century; on a more systematic basis by the British archaologist D.G. Hogarth in 1899. It is regarded as Zeus’s birth place. According to Hesiod’s Thoegony, Rhea resorted to a cave near ancient Lyktos to give birth to Zeus secretly from his father Kronos, who swallowed his children. The cave was used as a seasonal residence in the Prepalatial period and a worship place from the old Palatial period (1900 - 1700BC) to the Roman period.
It’s divided in the Upper and the Lower Cave. A temple with a yard of no regular shape and a built alter was revealed after excavations. The Lower Cave takes pride in an impressive stone interior and a pond. A multitude of stalagmites and stalactites in different shapes were used as ritual items, possibly as places of votive gatherings. Unluckily, the first survey of the cave was carried by the two British mentioned above and Bosanquet, towards the end of the Turkish occupation. Consequently, it ended up in systematic defilement and destruction as most of the stalagmites and stalactites of the first part of the cave were broken and siethed in the upper cave, that’s why the alter is no longer visible. So, over 3000 finds were “bought” by the Ottoman authorities of the island. Ranging from the older Minoan to the later Roman items, along with the personal collection of Arthur Evans comprise almost the whole of the archaeological collection in Oxford.
The archaeological museum of Heraklion hosts clay and stone ritual vessels, copper votive bulls and a chariot, clay and copper votives and copper daggers. Some other finds are kept at the Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos. The ancient stone alley and the newer paved alley lead uphill from the parking space to the mouth of the cave. The interior walk through the cave includes 200 steps downhill and 200 steps uphill. One can hold on to a metal side bar along the staircase.