Mount Ida (Crete)

Mount Ida (Crete)
Mount Psiloritis
Mount Ida

View of Psiloritis mountains from west
Elevation 2,454 m (8,051 ft)
Prominence 2,454 m (8,051 ft)
Listing Ultra
Mount Psiloritis is located in Greece
Mount Psiloritis
Location of Psiloritis in Greece
Location Crete, Greece
Coordinates 35°13′38.45″N 24°46′15.22″E / 35.2273472°N 24.7708944°E / 35.2273472; 24.7708944Coordinates: 35°13′38.45″N 24°46′15.22″E / 35.2273472°N 24.7708944°E / 35.2273472; 24.7708944

Mount Ida, known variously as Idha, Ídhi, Idi, Ita and now Psiloritis (Greek: Ψηλορείτης, "high mountain"), is the highest mountain on Crete. Located in the Rethymno Prefecture, it is sacred to the Greek Titaness Rhea, and on its slopes, according to legend, lies the cave, Idaion Andron, in which Zeus was born. As an island high point at 2,454 m, it is the mountain with the highest topographic prominence in Greece.[1] Interesting features are the plateau of Nida and the forest of Ruva on the east side. The observatory of the University of Crete is located on the secondary peak Skinakas at 1750m.

Mount Ida is the locus for a race of legendary ancient metal workers (Dactyls), whose roots are also associated with Cyprus.[2]

Along one flank of Mount Ida is the Amari Valley, a locus settled by expansion of ancient Phaistos, when the settlement of Monastiraki was established.

A small, open stone chapel of Timios Stavros is located on the summit, surrounded by numerous bivouac sites used by mountain walkers. A small, abandoned alpine skiing centre is located on the eastern flank of Mount Ida, accessible by road from Anogeia, which also offers the easiest route of ascent from the Nida Plateau.


Idaean Cave

Mouth of the Idaean Cave

In ancient times the Idaean cave, "cave of the Goddess" (Dea) was venerated by Minoans and Hellenes alike. By Greek times the cave was rededicated to Zeus.[3] The cave where Zeus was nurtured is not this one but Psychro Cave; there the two nymphs who cared for the infant were Adrasteia and Idê.

Votive seals and ivories have been found in the cave.[4] Like the Dictaean cave, the Idaean cave was known as a place of initiations,[5] and it may have served as the site of an oracle, symbolized by the frequent depiction of a tripod on coins of nearby Axos, which presumably controlled the territory around the cave.[6]

East ridge of Psiloritis mountain, Crete.

See also


  1. ^ Topo25 Hiking Map of Mt IDHA (2006 edition)
  2. ^ Pliny (translated by Mary Beagon). 2005
  3. ^ Diodorus Siculus, V.70.
  4. ^ J. Lesley Fitton,Ivory in Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic Period (British Museum. Dept. of Greek and Roman Antiquities),1992
  5. ^ Yulia Ustinova, Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind: descending underground in the search for Ultimate Truth 2009:180.
  6. ^ Ustinova, noting Capdeville 1990, and, critically, Prent 2005:568.


  • Pliny (translated by Mary Beagon). 2005. The Elder Pliny on the Human Animal: Natural History, Book 7, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198150652, 9780198150657 515 pages

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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