Idaion Andron is at the eastern sides of Mt. Ida (Psiloreites) in the mountain field of Nida. The cave is 24 km away from Anogeia, Mylopotamos and 78 km away from Rethimno. The cave has a great mythological and cultural value, as it was the cave that, according to the myth, it was the cave in which the greatest god of Antiquity was raised, Zeus. Idaion Andron is at 1538 m altitude.
According to the myth, a foretold mentioned that the son of Rea and Cronos, would steal the power from Cronos, who was the greater god. So Cronos swallowed his own children, for not to lose his power, never. When Zeus was born, in Diktaion Andron, Rea pitted him and wanted to save him. So, she tied a rock with a piece of cloth and gave it to Cronos, who thought it was the baby, and then swallowed it.
After that, Zeus left the Diktaion Andron, where he was born, and fled to Idaion Andron. During the transport of the infant from Dikation to Idaion Andron, according to Diodorus, his omphalus fell to modern called river Carterus, east of Herakleion. According to another, weaker version of the myth, Zeus not only was raised, but also born in Idaion Andron. The native warriors Kourites guarded the entrance of the cave. Also, every time that Zeus was crying, they used to hit strongly their swords upon their mythic shields, so the knocks to cover the sound of his crying, so Cronos not be able to hear it, who lived in the Cronion Andron, and come to eat his son. According to another version, while the Kourites were dancing very fastly, their armors were making great sound, and Zeus was not heard. This dance, some say, is the ancestor to modern pentozalis.
The raising of Zeus was done by the nymph Melissa and the mythical goat Amaltheia, who her horn made every good to be produced through it. When Zeus was grown, took over the throne from Cronos, and the foretold came true. The raising of Zeus in Crete is indicated by the mention to him as Zeus the Cretan- Born.
During the Prepalatial period, the young minoan god was worshipped there, who represented vegetation, who died and ressurected like the annual seasons. Near the end of Minoan period, the minoan god was successed by Zeus, who, according to the myth, was born and reborn every year. As mentioned by Theophrastos, the pilgrims used to hang poplar branches before the entrance to the cave. Finally, Minos himself (p.4) was coming to Idaion Andron every 9 years, in order to kneel before Zeus and receive new orders from him.
Even today, 70 m from the cave entrance, a great rectangular altar of the antiquity’s rituals dominates the place.
If you are a lover of ancient Greece and its culture, Idaion Andron is the ideal place for your dream wedding.