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 5 km long, 3 km wide and is located approximately 7 nautical miles north of Heraklion. Administratively, Dia is part of the community of Elia within the municipal unit of Gouves, Hersonissos municipality in Heraklion.
|Native name: |
The island of Dia
|Area||11.909 km2 (4.598 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||220 m (720 ft)|
|Pop. density||0/km2 (0/sq mi)|
In the south coast of Dia there are four coves, which are (from west to east) Agios Georgios, Kapari, Panagia (Madonna) and Agrielia. One more cove, that of Aginara, is to the east.
The island was formerly known as Standia, by juncture loss in the phrase στήν Δία (Greek for on Dia).
The islet looks like a giant lizard when viewed from the city of Heraklion. Greek mythology tells of a giant lizard that tried to destroy the island of Crete, however, Zeus turned it into 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 Minoans, from Knossos. Because of this, it was sometimes identified as the island that Theseus escaped to after killing the Minotaur.
On Dia there are a number of protected wildlife species 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. Dia is part of the European Network of Nature (Natura) 2000 and is a protected hunting ground. There are also a number of protected plants such as Carlina diae.
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