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Kounaviano Gorge
Category: Gorge
Prefecture: Heraclion
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Kounaviano Gorge

The Kounaviano - Astrakiano Gorge of Karteros is surrounded by a landscape of exceptional beauty. The gorge is located aproximately 15 km south of Heraklion city and is parallel with the Astarakiano gorge, about 1,5km distance (see the map below). 

Recent works in the area, including 18km of walking trails, have made this gorge accessible, with respect to the natural environment. The gorge has several exits to the nearby settlements. There are five main entrances: from Karteros, Aitiana (bridge of Aitiana), Aghies Paraskies, Kato Astrakoi and from the valley of Peza (entrance of Kounaviano gorge). In each entrance there is an information kiosk.

Within the gorge of Karteros there are churches, watermills and a Byzantine period building, all of which are characterized as Byzantine monuments. Moreover, the gorge features a natural environment of rare beauty with a rich flora and fauna and waters streams that continue to flow during the summer season.

Places near Kounaviano Gorge

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Myrtia 2716 hits

Myrtia village belongs to the municipality of Archanes Asteroussia and located 15 km from Heraklion. It is the paternal village of Nikos Kazantzakis and is known for the museum dedicated to the great writer.


Agricultural is the main activity of villagers, mainly viticulture and olive growing. In fact the village is famous for its wine production.

Historically, the existence of the village dates back in centuries. Here settled the foreign soldiers of Nikiforos Fokas after the liberation of Crete by the Saracens in 961,obtaining the village the name Varvari. From the Venetian period until the Turkish census of 1671 the village is mentioned with the names Varvaro, Varvari, Varvarus, Varvaru.

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Nikos Kazantzakis Museum 2646 hits

The museum of Nikos Kazantzakis is located in the central square of Myrtia village, the historic Varvarus village, which is writer's birth place. The museum was founded by George Anemogiannis in 1983.

The rescue and promotion of the writer's work was the purpose of creating this tribute in the memory of this great man of the spirit. The museum's exhibition is dedicated exclusively to the author's work and life, including photographs and personal items, manuscripts, letters, documents, Greek and foreign publications, theatrical material, rare audiovisual material, and works of art depicting the author.

With the building complex including an exhibition building, multipurpose room, conference room and several sections of education and action, the visitor can learn and see the well-known and unknown aspects of Nikos Kazantzakis.