Keras Monastery & Diktaio Andron Tour

Greek Orthodox Keras Kardiotissas Monastery is located on the north slopes of Mt. Dikti 50 km east of Heraklion and dedicated to Virgin Mary. According to tradition, during the Ottoman occupation of Crete miraculous icon of Panagia Kardiotissa was stolen several times but always returned to the monastery. On the third time the Icon was chained to a marble column but it get back with it. That column is placed in the monastery courtyard now.
Its initial form was of the citadel type. The catholicon of the monastery was initially a single-space arch-covered church and was expanded with two narthexes and a smaller chapel. The murals date back to the 14th century, while the northern section of the church features 15th century murals with characteristics of the Macedonian school of hagiography.



Diktaio Andron

 The impressive cave of Zeus, the Diktaean Cave, is located just 10 minutes walking-distance from Psychro, in Lassithi Plateau, at an altitude of 1025m. In Psychro there is plenty of parking areas, with plenty of restaurants nearby. Two paths leading to the cave start from the parking area. The easiest path is the left one, because in the right path (the oldest) the stones are worn by thousands of tourists and are slippery. The route to the cave is magnificent as the view to the Lassithi Plateau is breathtaking. If you do not want to walk, there are donkeys to transfer visitors to the cave. Near the entrance of the cave there is a kiosk where you can buy tickets for a small price. The cave, which has an area of 2200 sq.m, is well lit and the paths in it come along a well-designed path of 250m length.
 According to legend, there was a prophecy saying that the king of the world, Cronus (Saturn), will be dethroned by his son. Thus Cronus devoured his children for his protection. His wife, Rhea gave birth to Zeus in the Diktaean cave and kept that place secret from Cronus. She tricked Cronus and, instead of the baby, she gave him to eat a rock wrapped in the swaddling clothes of the baby. Then she left Zeus in the cave, to be raised by the Diktaean Kouretes under the protection and nursing of the mythical goat Amalthea and the nymph Melissa. A secondary legendary tells that King Minos was born in the same cave with his father Zeus, i.e. in the Diktaean Cave.








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