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Melidoni Cave east of Rethymno in Crete

Melidoni Cave east of Rethymno is one of Crete's most impressive caves and has been known ever since the New Stone Age. Archaeological findings indicate that the cave was inhabited from the New Stone Age till the Late Roman period. The cave was also a shrine for the Minoans during the Middle Minoan period. Melidoni Cave has, like so many other caves in Crete, also a horrible story to tell.

 

Melidoni Cave east of Rethymno in Crete.

Melidoni cave.

 

 

In October 1823, over three hundred men, women, and children took refuge in the cave to escape the Turkish army. When the Turks discovered their hiding place, they surrounded the cave and requested them to surrender, but they refused. In January, the following year, several attempts were made to force the cave without success. The Turks blocked the entrances with large stones in the hope that the air would run out, and that the Cretans then would surrender. Nor did it succeed because they dug new air holes.


Then the Turks took all flammable material that they could find and placed it at the entrances and at all air holes they could locate, and then they set fire on everything. Everyone in the cave died from asphyxiation. In the cave there is an ossuary with bone remnants from the ill-fated.

 

The ossuary in Melidoni Cave where remains of the dead rest. Rethymno. Crete.

The ossuary in Melidoni Cave where remains of the dead rest.

 

The cave has lots of beautiful stalagmites and stalactites and is worth a visit just for that reason. Outside the cave there is a nice café with a wonderful view of the valley. The cave is open every day between 09.00-19.00. Melidoni Cave is located near Perama, about 30 kilometres east of Rethymno and about 10 kilometres south of Panormos and Bali.

 

Melidoni Cave east of Rethymno in Crete.

Melidoni cave.

 

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