Caving in Crete

Paul Faure


Paul Faure Cave
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The cave is located north- east of the village Nithavris at an altitude of 700m. at position Kalikas. Its dimensions are 100m x 40m and has a maximum height of 20 meters. Apart from its many names (Onymahos, Kallika Trypa, Notiki Tripa Nithavris, Paul Faure Cave), the impressive entrance with the inscription with the ancient name ONYMAXOC, it hosts beautiful stalactites and hides a rich history that testifies that it was inhabited since ancient times.

At the center of the first room of the underground (20x10m) stands a huge stalagmite column that might was worshipped, because the ground around is full with pottery traces, dating from the 2nd millennium BC to the Roman times. It seems that it initially was a sacred cave of a Minoan settlement of the area.

From the main hall, two tunnels start. The first one goes down a sinkhole and heads northwest. The other one, narrower and less steep, heads eastwards. The two tunnels are quite inaccessible, the humidity is high and the risk of landslides is great.

During the Ottoman period the cave was used as a shelter for the rebels of Tsoupogiannis and Lantzouromarkos, who fought the Turks. The same cave was used for hiding the German General of Crete, Kreipe. After his kidnap in Heraklion, through the mountains, we was moved to Africa from the south coasts. He stayed in this cave for four days yet and was later moved to another cave, Vorini Tripa.

On September 30, 2006 the West Crete Department of Greek Speleological Society named the cave Paul Faure, after a French archaeologist, who dedicated most of his work to Crete.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Rethymnon Prefecture
  • Type: Sinkhole
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