The Bear's Cave or the Panagia Arkoudospilios is located on the path leading from Gouverneto to Katholiko. A chapel inside the cave is dedicated to Saint Mary. Near the entrance of the cave is a gray stalagmite in the shape of a bear with a small pond in front of it. According to local lore, the Virgin Mary petrified the bear that was trying to drink the monks' water. Legend has it that in ancient times the cave was a temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis, who was transformed into a bear. What we know for sure is that the cave was a place of worship in ancient times. Within the cave carved inscriptions depicting Apollo and Artemis were found. In fact, the Pelasgian "bear-goddess" was worshiped here, a practice that continues today, except that Artemis has been replaced by Saint Mary of the Bear Cave who is celebrated in Akrotiri on February 2nd. The chapel near the entrance of the cave has been given the same name. The cave is an old riverbed of a river that no longer flows and is comprised of a large room containing many damaged decoration and the ceiling is blackened from fires. There is a second, smaller room which can be entered through a very narrow passage. The cave continues but the passages are too small for the human body to fit through.

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Rea Resort Hotel in
Chania, Crete, Greece

Stavros, Akrotiri, Chania
Tel:  +30 28210 39001-4
Fax: +30 28210 97504

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