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Greece » Crete » Heraklion Prefecture » Heraklion Sightseeing » The Cave of Eilytheia
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The Cave of Eilytheia

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 Christian era.
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.

Access to the cave is possible after prior arrangement with the guard at the village Nirou Chani; admission is free.
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