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Melidoni Cave

MELIDONI CAVE (alternatively referred to as Gerospelios or Gerondospelios), is situated 4 km to the NW. Aside from the speleological interest it presents (it contains stalagmites, stalactites and columns), the cave was reportedly a place of worship of the mythical bronze figure of Talos (crafted by Hephaestus), who was revered as the indefatigable warden of laws in Minoan times. Later, in the Roman era, the cave was given over to the worship of god Hermes. In recent times, its name became associated with one of the most horrific events recorded in the history of Crete. In 1824, hundreds of Cretans from the surrounding villages died tragically inside Gerondospelios where they had sought shelter since 1822 in an attempt to escape the troops of Hassan Pasha. The latter's successor, Hussein Pasha, discovered their hide-out and tried to talk them into surrendering in peace, but to no avail. After they denied doing so, he blocked the entrance of the cave and set it on fire. 340 women and children and 30 armed men died in the cave from suffocation.

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