Melidoni cave was venerated as a shrine
The stalactite cave of Melidoni is located nearby on a hillside northwest of the village Melidoni not far from the old road Rethymnon-Heraklion (22km east of Rethymnon).
Ever since the Minoan period, the Melidoni cave was venerated as a shrine, as it has served as a place of residence of the bronze giant Talos, who ran around the island 3 times daily at a quick pace to guard the island’s coasts.
In Roman times, the god Hermes was worshiped here, and an inscription to the right of the cave entrance attests to this fact. In more recent history of Crete the Melidoni Cave takes a sad place of honor equal to the Monastery of Arkadi.
A little history
In 1824, hundreds of Cretans found tragic death here, who had sought refuge inside the cave from the troops of Hassan Pasha in 1822. His successor, Hussein Pasha discovered their hiding place and tried to convince the inhabitants to a peaceful surrender, but without success. At his command his subjects blocked the cave entrance and set it on fire. 340 women and children as well as 30 armed men choked in the cave.
The first view from the entrance of the cave falls to the marble altar, guarding the bones of the fallen brave Cretans under its plate.
In the cave of Melidoni only the very large central “Hero-Chamber” is open and you can plan about 45 minutes for the total visit.
The village Melidoni
… is a typical Cretan village with taverns at its village square and the usual kafeneions. A short walk through the village streets is worth a stop; whitewashed simple houses alternate with ruins of Venetian and Turkish times and create a rather interesting picture.