Caves in Crete

Hosto Nero

Heraklion

Hosto Nero Cave
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The cavern of Hosto Nero is found in the region Selia of Youchtas mountain near the road that leads to the top of Afentis Christos. It is located at an altitude of about 720 meters in the southern top of the holy mountain and in order for anyone to see it he/she has to enter through a narrow hole. This cavern has 3 rooms and many corridors that connect them all with the first room of 7 meters length that has enough light because of its big opening. Deeply in the cavern, there are small stalagmites and small basins of water. Water runs from the stalagmites all the time in small quantities. The source took its name from the cavern, it was named thus (Chosto nero means “hidden water” in Greek) because nobody can easily locate the spring.

It appears that here also the limestone figures and anthropomorphous stalactites and stalagmites attracted Minoans to worship. The cavern, in which the homonym fountain , exists, was used in the Minoan years until the Roman period as holy, but also as a shelter in an emergency situation. Many idols, earthen zodiacs, vessels’ splinters and part of a statue that is in the Museum of Heraklion were found there. These items testify of a shepherded secret and laborious worship.

Chosto water has a bad reputation, based on the stories according to which a lot of girls went there to find water and did not come back. This, if ever real, could be explained as follows: the girls were lost, because the place was dark with many small corridors. Paul Faure describes this bad fame of the cavern when he visited it in 1954. In the book “the Holy caverns of Crete” he reports: “This cave has an evil fame today. According to a story I heard in Archanes, whoever enters in is in danger of sinking in the black and deep waters, while precisely next to the Chosto water appears now and then, and later mysteriously disappears, a stone plate with a ring”.

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Additional Info

  • Prefecture: Heraklion
  • Type: Horizontal Cave, With archaeological importance
  • Water: Water all year round

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