A visit to Milatos Cave, an easy cave to visit while on Crete
Last Sunday we didn’t have a lot of time so I decide to visit the Milatos Cave together with the kids (actually they are great explorers). Milatos Cave is an easy cave to visit. It’s not as big as the Cave of St. Paraskevi in Skotino, but it’s the history that makes it great. For the locals is known as Rapa cave and lies 50km from Heraklion city and 2.5km east of the coastal village of Milatos, in a great surrounding of a landscape.
First of all, the cave is a remarkable moment in nature and has a rich history. From the history, we know that in January 1823 Hasan Pasha, having concluded the pillage and destruction of a great number of villages in the Lassithi, turn against Merabelo area. The few defenders of the province, along with 2000 women and children went to the cave for protection. The Turks surround the cave and put the defenders under siege from 3 to 15 of February 1823. The defenders, having exhausted their provisions, were forced to an unfortunate but heroic exodus.
Those who wetter was captured and sold as slaves in the Far East. Due to that, a church was erected in 1953 dedicated to Saint Thomas. There, a liturgy (Sunday Mass) is held once a year in commemoration of the Saint; that is on Second Sunday of Easter. This is the church of St. Thomas, to commemorate the mass slaughter by the Turks in 1823.
Here’s the map:
As I said its very easy to visit.There is a parking area for the cave and then a walk of some 300 metres along a footpath clinging to the edge of the cliff. The land plunges away steeply down a deep gorge, but the path is “fenced.”The cave has eight small and big entrances along 40 metres, arranged on three different horizontal levels. Make sure you take a torch as it is very dark inside after the bright sunlight. Also be careful with your head as the roof is very low.
During the winter its more wet that in the summer time, as a result, there are a lot of bats inside there.
Probably, for some people, the photography inside the cave is not always easy. Therefore, you need a tripod and of course the bulb mode on your camera. Don’t forget a flashlight as it is really dark inside. I used a wide lens the canon Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM a really nice and sharp lens, probably one of the sharpest lens, of course with my Canon 5d mark iii. For sure it’s a great place to visit.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed the visit there. It’s something different than the Crete that we all know,most noteworthy, the history of this place.