Milatos village and Milatos cave

Crete travel guide Explorecrete.com

Milatos

Milatos map

Milatos is located a few km east of Sissi and Malia, approximately 30 km west of Agios Nikolaos and 45 km east of Heraklion.

Milatos beachMilatos Beach is a by-the-sea development with many very good fish tavernas, a fishing port and a nice small beach in it. There are other beach areas, but they are very rocky.

In ancient times, Milatos (Militos) was an important city with various colonies, and was one of only seven Cretan cities that sent troops to fight in Troy.

Milatos Village, with its kafeneion-tavernas, is a picturesque community about a kilometer before the coastal Milatos settlement. Many Europeans have bought old village homes here, and refurbished them in the original style.

Armed with a camera, a walk through the narrow village streets will provide you with many wonderful snap-shot memories of your holiday.

Milatos Cave

Milatos caveLace up your sneakers and grab a flashlight and a bottle of water, and off you go to explore this very interesting site. The entrance to the Milatos cave is about a 200-metre walk over an old footpath from where you park your car, which is quite a site itself with an amazing panoramic view of Milatos Bay.

In the area's intense bas-relief, the gray of the limestone succeeds the red of the ground. Carob trees, rambling prickly and fuzzy bushes, wild olive trees and a score of other lush vegetation provide a green backdrop along the footpath.

Upon entering the cave you will be faced with total darkness, so a flashlight is absolutely necessary. After 10 meters you will come across a little church built in 1935, together with a memorial with the bones of those slaughtered by the Turks. (Every year a liturgy is performed here for those who perished.) The cave itself is large, measuring 2,100 square meters, with eight small and big entrances. It is 73 meters long, and its widest point is 63 meters. The height varies from a half meter to three meters, and its main entrance leads to the cave's central, and largest, area.

milatos cave

Archaeological findings indicate that human activities in the cave date back to the Neolithic period.

However, the Milatos cave is really known for a drama which unfolded with Turkish invaders in February, 1823.

Early in 1823, the residents of the surrounding area took refuge in the Militos Cave to hide from the Turkish troops of Hasan Pasha, who were plundering and pillaging Lassithi.

The Cretan rebel leaders, with a minimal force of about 150 men, fought the Pasha's large army in and around the cave in a brave defense of the 2,700 local inhabitants.

The fighting went on from February 3 to 15, until the besieged, suffering from extreme hunger and thirst, dared a heroic, but devastating escape. The defending warriors were slaughtered, many of the older ones trampled to death by oncoming Cavalry; the captured children were sold into slavery, and 18 priests were brutally killed or burned to death.



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