Dia (island)

Native name: Δία

The island of Dia
Coordinates 35°26′53″N 25°13′12″E / 35.448°N 25.220°E / 35.448; 25.220Coordinates: 35°26′53″N 25°13′12″E / 35.448°N 25.220°E / 35.448; 25.220
Archipelago Cretan Islands
Area 11.909 km2 (4.598 sq mi)
Region Crete
Regional unit Heraklion
Population 2 (2001)
Pop. density 0 /km2 (0 /sq mi)

Dia (Greek Δία ['ði.a]), also pronounced locally Ntia (Ντία ['di.a]), is an uninhabited island off the northern coast of the Greek island of Crete. The island is approximately 7 nautical miles north of Heraklion. Administratively, Dia is part of the community of Elaia within the municipal unit of Gouves, Heraklion regional unit, by the municipality of Elias.


The island was formerly known as Standia, by juncture loss in the phrase στήν Δία.

It was the principal port of Crete for centuries.[1]

Islet morphology

The islet looks like a giant lizard when viewed from the city of Heraklion. There is also a legend that a giant lizard tried to destroy the island of Crete, but Zeus turned it in to stone with a thunderbolt, thus creating the island.


The island is visible from Crete's capital city of Heraklion, as it would have been in the time of the Minoan kingdom, from the capital of Knossos. Because of this, it was sometimes identified as the island that Theseus escaped to after killing the Minotaur.

Environmentally protected

On Dia there are a number of protected creatures including: the snail Albinaria retusa, the lizard Podarcis erchardii schiebeli, the wild rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus cnossius, and Eleonora's falcon, known as mavropetritis in Greek.[2] Dia is part of the European Network of Nature (Natura) 2000 and is a vetted hunting ground.[3] There are also a number of protected plants such as Carlina diae.

Ancient port

In 1976, Jacques Cousteau carried out underwater exploration around Dia and found the remains of an ancient port in the waters between Heraklion and Dia.[4]

See also


  1. T.A.B. Spratt, Travels and Researches in Crete, 1:35 (1865)
  2. O μαυροπετρίτης στη Δία της Κρήτης Greek Ornithological Organisation (Greek)
  3. Δίκτυο Natura 2000 Protected areas
  4. Greekislands.com French Rear Admiral's ship "La Therese" (1669)
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