Dictaean Cave tour: The birthplace of Zeus΄s birthplace is a fascinating self-guided audio walking tour in Psychro Cave at Lasithi, Crete. Discover credible and original stories written by top local professionals after extended research. Take your tour now and enjoy it instantly on your smartphone device.
This tour is not for the faint-hearted. This is a cave, after all, with a long pedigree of visitors who encountered something unexpected.
Ask poor Epimenides. He went looking for a lost sheep and entered the cave to rest. He woke up 57 years later without having aged at all. In a most remarkable demonstration of persistence, he kept looking for that errant sheep before he realized what had happened. And what about the band of young delinquents (Laius, Celeus, Cerberus and Aegolius) who decided to steal honey from the cave and found themselves before the swaddling-clothes of Zeus? It was a good thing they were in a sacred place where a murder was a profanity, otherwise, Zeus would have killed them instantly with his thunderbolt for snooping in his closet.
Fortunately, not all visitors have to suffer for their adventurous decision to enter the cave. Europa found her bridal bed here and an array of impressive wedding gifts: a gold dog that excelled in the hunt, a bronze giant, and a quiver with arrows that always hit their target. Minos, the legendary ruler of Crete, would come here to chat with his father, Zeus, and receive the new laws for humanity. And the archaeologists who used explosives to explore the cave came across a bonanza of Minoan artifacts, scattered all over the floor.
As you descend to the depths of the cave, try to picture a time long ago when these chambers echoed with the clanging armor of the Kouretes, the young male warriors entrusted with the protection of the infant Zeus. Here he was nourished by Amaltheia, the she-goat whose horn could grant any wish. And when you reach the pond at the deepest part of the cave take a minute to admire the stalactite that hangs above the waters like a chandelier. This is the mantle of Zeus and fortunate are those who see it and live to tell the tale.
Cultural Mapping is an ATHINA Educational Network initiative (www.athinaedunet.org). Minoan Routes integrate myth, history, and tradition to highlight aspects of life in prominent focal points of Minoan Crete.
Psihro, Oropedio Lasithiou, Crete
Lasithi, Dictaean Cave
Winter (1 Nov. to 31 Mar.): 8:00-15:00, Summer (1 Apr. to 31 Oct.): 8.00-20.00