The Melidoni Cave , located between Rethymno and Heraklion, is a place currently associated with the dramatic events that took place here 200 years ago. In 1824, during the liberation fights against the Ottoman troops occupying the island, nearly 370 inhabitants of the nearby village of Melidoni took shelter in this cave. They were mainly women with children who were fleeing from the occupying forces.
When attempts to persuade the Cretans to leave this shelter were unsuccessful, the Turkish leader Hussein Beit gave the order to collapse the entrances to the cave. Cutting off the fugitives from the supply of fresh air also did not encourage them to leave. Finally, Beit ordered a huge fire to be lit in the entrance so that smoke would start flowing into the cave. Anyone who was at least a little interested in the history of Cretan fighting knows that the inhabitants of the island never gave up. So it was this time. Nearly 370 people chose death instead of capitulating to enemy troops.
Last weekend marked 200 years since these dramatic events. To commemorate the victims of this massacre, local authorities organized a special two-day celebration of this anniversary in the Melidoni Cave, attended by crowds of people. An exceptionally touching moment occurred in the evening in front of the cave, when the gathered people released lit lanterns. They were supposed to symbolize the souls of people murdered in the cave flying towards heaven.
Photo source: rethnea.gr
You can find more about the Melidoni cave in this article .