Caves in Crete



Kamares Cave
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The cave of Kamares, also called Kamaraiko Cave, is located at the southern foot of Mount Psiloritis. In particular, it is situated on the slopes of the massif Soros, at an altitude of 1700m and northeast of the village Kamares, after which it takes its name. It is not important in terms of speleology and cave decoration, but the Minoan findings rank the cave as one of the most important worship caves in Crete.

From village Kamares starts an uphill path that leads to the cave, after a steep ascent lasting almost 3.5 hours. The same trail, part of the European footpath E4, leads to the plateau of Nida. As you walk the well-labeled path, you will meet small oak woods and several springs, while the view to the plain of Messara is magnificent. Kamares cave can also be accessed from the plateau of Nida, where the most important sacred cave of the Mount Psiloritis in the Minoan Times is located; the cave Ideon Antron..

The cave was first explored n 1890 by Italian archaeologists and was explored again in 1913 by the British School of Archeology. Pottery dating back in 2000 BC was found, used, possibly by the residents of Phaestus, for worshiping a Minoan goddess. Especially, some specific vases are of excellent art, with very thin walls (“eggshell”), colorful decor and stunning designs. The style of the decorative vases, which have been found in the palaces of Knossos and Phaestus, has been named “Kamares style”, due to the cave they were first found. Today, they are some of the important exhibits in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. The findings from the cave remind of the cave findings of Eileithyia cave at Amnissos where the goddess Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth and midwifery, was worshiped. Thus, archaeologists believe that the cave has been used for worshipping Eileithyia.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: With archaeological importance
  • Accessibility: Walking

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