19km east of Chania or Hania, Crete.
The cave is close by to the Katholikó monastery. Akrotiri peninsula.
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This cave is called Hermits' Cave of Saint John, as it is said that the Saint has lived here until his death. The legend tells, Saint John had to flee from the Middle East with 98 friends and came to this cave. The cave is smaller than nearby Gouvernéto Cave. It is not clear to us where his friends remained, but obviously not in the rather small cave.
The main sight of the cave is a formation resembling (and used as) an altar. The saint is said to have slept on this stalagmite. It is located on the left wall of the last chamber.
Another legend tells, St. John was killed by the bullet (or the arrow) of a hunter, while he was collecting herbs. The hunter thought he was a bear because of his fur clothes.
The trail leads down into the gorge to Katholikó monastery. Reckon at least half an hour for the way down and one hour for the way back uphill. Be sure to take enough water with you.
There is also a cave church Iero Spiléo (cave church), which is part of the Katholikó monastery. The facade of the church is buit in Venetian style.
A roomy passage ends in a large chamber called The Saint's Bedroom. The saint being St John the Hermit who is reputed to have lived in this cave and after whom this cave is sometimes called. In the left hand wall there is a natural shelf of stalagmite which is called The Altar. Every Autumn a memorial service is held here.
Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.