The stalactite cave where Zeus, the father of the gods, was raised by the goat Amaltheia is located near the Lassithi plateau in the Dikti Mountains.
The entrance to the cave is at 1025 m above sea level. Walkways lead down into the cave, which is illuminated by electric light, through a wonderland of stalagmites and stalactites. From the early Minoan period until late antiquity, i.e. from around 2500 BC to 400 AD, the cave served cultic purposes.
In and in front of it, archaeologists found small altars and numerous votive offerings. Most of them are now on display in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, UK. You will no longer see any cult objects in the cave itself. New finds are taken to the Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos.
According to Greek mythology, Zeus was born in a cave on Crete by his mother Rhea, or at least brought there immediately as a newborn. His father Kronos had the unpleasant habit of devouring all his children as soon as they were born. Zeus was to escape this fate. Rhea deceived Kronos, handed him a stone wrapped in cloth as a substitute after the birth. Zeus gave her into the care of the goat Amaltheia, who nurtured and raised him in the cave. Nine demons, the Kurets, beat their spears against their shields whenever the divine child cried out, so that the evil father Kronos would not hear the cry. As a youngster, little Zeus then left the cave and prepared to kill his father and take his place on the highest throne in the Greek heaven of the gods.
But as it is with myths - they are just scary and beautiful stories. That's why it's also possible that another cave in the Psiloritis Mountains near Anogia, Ideon Andron, was considered the cave of Zeus in ancient times. There is also a compromise offer: Zeus was born at Psiloritis, but then raised here on the Lassithi plateau. You have the choice of what you believe!
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