Crete has an emensly rich mythology mostly connected with the ancient Greek Gods, heroes and mythological creatures, but also connected with the Minoan Civilization.
Several places and landscapes on Crete, are connected to events from the Greek Mythology.
The Paximadia islands were the birthplace of the goddess Artemis and the god Apollo. Their mother, the goddess Leto, was worshipped at Phaistos.
The goddess Athena bathed in Lake Voulismeni.
The islets of Lefkai were the result of a musical contest between the Sirens and the Muses. The Muses were so anguished to have lost that they plucked the feathers from the wings of their rivals, the Sirens turned white and fell into the sea at Aptera (“featherless”) where they formed the islands in the bay that were called Lefkai (the islands of Souda and Leon).
Mythology has it that the goddess Rhea gave birth and hid the god Zeus at the Psychro cave at Mount Dikti. In that cave, Zeus was brought up by the nymphs while the demonical Kourites would strike their shields loudly so that Cronus may not hear the crying of the baby Zeus and eat it.
The ancient greek god Zeus launched a lightning bolt at a giant lizard that was threatening Crete. The lizard immediately turned to stone and became the island of Dia. The island can be seen from Knossos and it has the shape of a giant lizard.
It was also to Crete that Zeus, disguised as a bull, took Europa so that they may enjoy their love together. They made love at Gortys and conceived the kings of Crete, Rhadamanthys, Sarpedon and Minos. The last one, ruled Crete and turned it into a mighty island empire of the seas. In Minoan times, even Attica would pay a tribute tax to Crete, until Theseus, the Athenian prince, killed the Minotaur, at the labyrinth of the Palace of Knossos, designed by Talos.
Icarus and Daedalus were captives of King Minos and crafted wings to escape.
After his death King Minos became a judge of the dead in Hades, while Rhadamanthys became the ruler of the Elysian fields.
The truth behind the myth is the existence of a mighty and wealthy kingdom and of a Civilisation that is considered the most ancient one on the European continent.
For more information regarding the Greek Mythology, you can check the following links :