Situated 30 km east of Rethymno near the village of Melidoni, the Melidoni Cave or Gerontospilos (“Old Cave”) is one of the most impressive and historically important caves on the island.
The cave was used as a place of worship during the Minoan period from 1700 BC – 1190 BC, even though artifacts have been discovered such as pottery and animal skin from 3650 BC – 2900 BC where it seems the cave was firstly inhabited.
The interior of the cave separates into three levels. The largest level is 65 m long, 30 m wide and approximately 25 m high. The level is also called Room of Heroes as during the revolt against the Turks 370 Cretan civilians and 30 soldiers were killed in the cave when the Turks blocked the entrance and lit fires that suffocated everyone.
The bones of the martyrs that died that day are kept in a sarcophagus inside the cave. There is also an engraving on a stone that reads “Death but No Surrender.”
Entrance Fee: 2 euro