At 1538m above sea level, 20 km. south of the traditional town of Anogia , on the plateau of Nida, of Mountain Psiloritis, lies this sacred cave, where according to mythology, Rhea, Zeus' mother, hid the new born Zeus in this cave in order to protect him from his father Kronos (Saturn), who was in the habit of swallowing his children because he feared they might deprive him of his power. Hidden in that cave Zeus grew up being fed with the milk of the goat Amalthia, while the 'Kourites" covered the child's crying through banging their copper shields.
Being closely connected with the myth the cave of Ideon Andron achieved great fame during ancient times and developed into a centre of worship, which lasted over the centuries from the Minoan up until the Late Roman period. Research and excavation works, which the Italian archaeologist Federico Halbherr started in 1885, proved that the cave had been used as a sanctuary. From 1983 and henceforth systematic research was continued by the archaeologists Giannis and Efi Sakellarakis.
The cave itself is of particularly large dimensions, with a vast central hall and a gallery of 22 m in length.
Since research is still in progress the cave cannot be visited.
An abundance of cult objects have been found here, along with statues and bronze shields and other finds that are now on display in the Heraklion Archaeological Museum.
Copper shield depicting the 'Kourites' banging their shields.