Room of Heroes

by MSO

The chamber in the Melidoni cave holding the white tomb is aptly named the "Room of Heroes">

The Melidoni cave has been inhabited since the Stone Age according to archaeologists who have found artifacts that indicate that the cave was used as a place of residence for early man. The cave was later used during the Minoan civilization – around 15 Century BC – for religious ceremonies to worship the Great Mother Goddess and Talos who was the mythical giant of Crete. Later on ceremonies for Zeus and Hermes were held in the cave during the Greek Age. Today people continue to worship there.

The Melidoni cave is one of three large caves on the Isle of Crete. There are 61 steps that lead to the entrance to the cave which consists of many chambers filled with stalagmites and stalactites.

It’s recent historical importance is focussed on the Ottoman occupation of Crete. In the 19th Century Turkish resistance fighters took refuge in the cave against the Turkish rulers of the time. In 1823 Turkish rulers declared war on the resistance fighters in Melidoni. All 370 of the villagers along with at least 20 resistance fighters fled to the cave in advance of the ruler and his soldiers coming. The cave was surrounded and surrender was demanded of the inhabitants. They refused to give up and a battle ensued. Twenty-four of the ruler’s soldiers were killed.He was so infuriated that he commanded his soldiers to throw burning material into the cave before completely blocking the entrance. Every person in the cave perished from lack of oxygen. In the aftermath of the attack, the people of Crete came together and built a white tomb into which all the bones of the Melidoni people who perished were placed. To this day, people still come together every year at the chapel outside of the cave to remember their dead.

Read more:

Melidoni Cave | Crete.Gr

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