We drove to Milatos Cave for our walk yesterday.
It's perched high above the hamlet of Milatos, which is on the north coast.
The caves are approximately 200 metres along an old footpath which winds
around the side of a steep ravine.
The sound from the grazing goats and assorted birds is truly magical, echoing through the ravine.
This is delicate white bryony, a poisonous climber.
The hillsides are covered in carob, sage, myrtle and euphorbia.
As we approach the cave entrance it seems unimpressive.
Inside though, it spreads out into a series of caves covering 2100 sq. metres.
In February, 1823, 2700 local inhabitants took refuge here, hiding from
the Turkish troops of Hassan Pasha. They were plundering and pillaging the area.
For 13 days. approximately 150 Cretan rebels fought off the Turks until, starving and desperate the beseiged tried to break out.
They were cut down and massacred by the Turks.
The children were sold into slavery in Egypt and 18 priests were burnt to death.
This church is inside the caves and was built to commemorate this event.
Bones from some of the dead can be seen in this glass-fronted ossuary.
One of the icons in the church.
When I was a member of The Rainbow Choir, we sang here at the commemoration that is held every May.
As we meandered back to the car, we reflected on how such a tragedy could have taken place in such a peaceful spot.