Caves in Crete

Hosto Nero

Heraklion

Hosto Nero Cave
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The Cave Chosto Nero is found in the region Selia of Giouchtas mountain near the road that leads to the church of Afentis Christos. It is located at an altitude of about 720 meters in the southern top of the sacred mountain of the Minoans 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 spring gave its name to the cavern; chosto nero means “hidden water” in Greek because nobody can easily locate the spring. Inside the cave, one can see an icon of Saint Paraskevi.

It appears that here also the limestone figures and anthropomorphous stalactites and stalagmites attracted Minoans to worship their deities. The cave was used in the Minoan years until the Roman period as a sanctuary, but also as a shelter in emergency situation. Many idols, earthen zodiacs, potsherds and part of a statue that is exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion were found there.

Chosto Nero has a bad reputation, based on the stories according to which a lot of girls entered 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 first described this bad fame of the cavern in 1954. In the book “The sacred caves 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 Nero appears now and then, and later mysteriously disappears, a stone plate with a ring”.

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Additional Info

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

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