Journey to the Cave of Zeus (Psychro Cave) on Crete
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The island of Crete is known for many things: its kings, mythical creatures, and wonderful history. Crete, Greece is also home to natural beauty that includes gorges, rugged canyons, valleys, mountains, and beaches. Around the island one can also find caves. One of these caves is the Cave of Zeus. Here’s what you should know about the Cave of Zeus in Crete, Greece. Here’s more information about it:
About the Cave of Zeus (Psychro Cave)
The Cave of Zeus is located just 10 walking minutes from Psychro in Lassithi Plateau, 1,025 meters above sea level. The Cave of Zeus is also known as Psychro Cave because of its location to the village of Psychro and Dikteon Cave because of the mountain range known as Dite where the cave is located. The Cave of Zeus is the most well-known and visited on the island due to the myth that says it is the birthplace of Zeus.
It is said that Zeus’ mother Rhea fled the god Kronos to give birth to him. Amalthea, who was a nymph or goat, fed baby Zeus with goat’s milk. In 1886, the Cave of Zeus was first excavated by Joseph Hatzidakis. Ten years later, the excavation would continue after Sir Arthur Evans investigated the site. Findings that include pottery, needles, bronze objects, ceramic cups, and human figurines were found to help prove the site may have been the location of a cult.
The cave is also known as a sacred cave for a bronze leg, which is the only one if its kind to be found in a sacred cave, making it unique. Also found in the Cave of Zeus were stones that included steatite, amethyst, hermatite, and jade. Many of the artifacts found within the cave of Zeus are on display at the Heraklion Museum, the Louvre, the British Museum, and the Ashmolean Museum.
Visit the Cave of Zeus
A visit to the Cave of Zeus should be on your list when you’re in Crete. The cave is located above the Lassithi plateau. When you get to the entrance level of the Cave of Zeus, you will experience the breathtaking view of the surrounding area. The large chamber of the Cave of Zeus is rich in stalagmites and stalactites, which are impressive to see. The cave is also a sacred Minoan site.
When visiting the Cave of Zeus, you will have access to other sites in the area including the small traditional windmills. Around the Lassathi plateau there are a number of monasteries and churches. Some of the monks are wonderful craftsmen and may have workshops you can explore as well.
There are several ways that you can get to the Cave of Zeus once you are on Crete. The buses stop close to the cave or you can take a taxi. Once you’re dropped off, it’s just a short hike to the Cave of Zeus. Another unique aspect of this cave is that you don’t need to walk there. You can take a donkey ride right to the cave. This is an experience you definitely shouldn’t miss.
Make sure you visit the well-known Cave of Zeus when in Crete. Whether or not you believe it’s true that Zeus, the king of the gods, was raised here, the cave is fun to explore.
This post was written by Greek Boston