Some 1 kilometer South to Amnissos it is found
the cave of Eilytheia. According to Ancient Greek tradition, Eilytheia
was the protector of confined women and helped them to have an easy and
painless delivery. Daughter of Zeus and Hera, it was believed that her
mother delivered her in this cave and for this reason it was considered
as the most important place of worship of this goddess.
The abundant finds of the cave, dated in various periods, manifest that
the cave was continously in use from Neolithic times up to the Early
Access to the cave is possible after prior arrangement with the guard at
the village Nirou Chani; admission is free.
Excavations in the cave started in 1885 by the greek archaeologist Joseph
Chatzidakis and were continued by the eminent greek archaeologist professor
Spyridon Marinatos, during 1929-1938. The most important monument in
the cave is the temple of Eilytheia, covering a space of some 65 metres
with entrance from the East; just outside the cave it is found the so-called
"Courtyard of the Altars", with remains of buildings dating back to the
14th and 14th centuries b.C., which according to Marinatos were the dwellings
of the priests.