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Agios Yakinthhos
Category: Church
Prefecture: Rethymno
Address: Anogeia
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Agios Yakinthhos

The artistic events, which take place every year in the first week of July at the same place called Fourni and in the Cretan village of Anogia are thus called YAKINTHIA.The idea to build a church at the same place came from the Archbishop of Rethymnon, Anthymos, who himself laid down the foundation stone.
The chapel is built in the shape of a Crete "mitato", a circular building made of flat stones without mortar 1.200 m above sea level. The building was realized after the rules of the Late Minoan architecture with a dome. The inclination starts above 2 meters and leaves a hole of 30 cm at the top. The planning and control was realized by the architect Stavros Vidalis.

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Zominthos 3767 hits

Zominthos (Greek: Ζώμινθος, alternative spellings Ζόμινθος or Ζόμιθος) is a small plateau in the northern foothills of Mount Ida (Psiloritis), οn the island of Crete. Zominthos is roughly 7.5 kilometers west of the village of Anogia, on the path from Knossos to Idaion Andron, the great sanctuary cave near the peak of Ida. Zominthos is best known for the large Minoan building discovered there; signs of permanent settlement date back to about 1800 BC.


Professor Yannis Sakellarakis discovered the site in 1982, during his first day of excavations at the nearby Ideon Andron Cave by Psiloritis mountain, close to Anogia Village, when a shepherd told him about his pastures and sheep in an area called “Zominthos.” 

Intrigued by the pre-Hellenic place-name, he began small-scale excavations the following year, which revealed the Central Building that is now believed to have dominated one of the main Minoan routes up to Mount Ida, today called Psiloritis. Zominthos may have been used as a rest stop for visitors making their way from Knossos to the Ideon Cave, the great sanctuary cave near the peak of Ida, as is mentioned in Plato’s Laws (book I, 625B): “I dare say that you will not be unwilling to give an account of your government and laws; on our way we can pass the time pleasantly in and about them, for I am told that the distance from Knossos to the cave and the temple of Zeus is considerable; and doubtless there are shady places under the lofty trees, which will protect us from this scorching sun.”

Zominthos seems to have been occupied beginning the 17th century B.C., with an extensive settlement and a monumental Central Building that covers an area of 1,600 square meters (17,000 square feet). Beneath the Central Building, which was gradually developed from the 17th century onward, the remains of several earlier structures have been identified. Because of the severe climate conditions on the mountaintop—including snow during the winter months—the site may not have been used throughout the entire year, but rather as a seasonal habitat. During the summer months, people likely moved their flocks of sheep here, to higher altitudes, while exploiting natural resources, such as minerals, herbs, and pharmaceutical plants. These products, along with woolen textiles and olives, were the goods most commonly exported from Minoan Crete to Egypt and the Middle East.

The Central Building is extremely well preserved and some of its walls still stand at a height of 2.2 meters (7.2 feet). However, creating the foundation of such a huge building at this altitude is quite a complicated issue. Its unlikely location and size, as well as its careful construction, indicate the existence of a central authority that intended to control the region’s resources, including its flocks and pastures. Zominthos may therefore be considered a well-organized administrative complex—built on a strategic spot for the control of the area—that fully adapted to the inhospitable Cretan mountains. Its location on the ancient route to Psiloritis and the wealth of pottery found at the site indicate that it was likely also a religious and crafts center.

The accounting archives in the Linear B script from the palace at Knossos—about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Zominthos—record thousands of sheep along with shepherds’ names. However, the location of the land where these sheep were grazing has always been a mystery. Zominthos and the neighboring regions have very prosperous pastures, so it could be that the sheep recorded in the Knossos tablets were mainly concentrated here at Zominthos. The Central Building’s importance is confirmed by its asymmetrical facades and orientation to the cardinal points, which are well-known characteristics of Minoan palaces. Zominthos was destroyed by an earthquake around 1600 B.C., which resulted in a fire that devastated the vast majority of building’s structure. But various finds from the Central Building indicate that the site continued to be used in Mycenaean, Archaic, Hellenistic, and Roman times.

After a gap of 17 years, archaeological work at the site of Zominthos resumed in the summer of 2005. Although only the ground floor is visible today, archaeological evidence suggests that the Central Building had at least two floors built of large blocks of local stone, some coated with white plaster and decorated with frescoes. Only 10 of at least 45 rooms of the ground floor have been partly or fully explored up to now, and the results can be summarized as follows: The rooms contained pottery, masses of animal bones, numerous fragments of carbonized wood, and several small artifacts. The vast majority of the pottery includes conical cups, cooking pots, and pithoi. Also, several ceramic water conduits have been found, probably indicating a central drainage system. In the western part of the Central Building, a complex consisting of at least two workshops was discovered.


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Zoniana Gorge 2827 hits
The canyon of Zoniana is located south of Zoniana village at the north side of Idi or Psiloritis mountains, Rethimno prefecture. Starting at an altitude of 950m, it ends at the south side of the village at an altitude of 650m.


 Through the gorge runs the "serpentine" Oaxis river that has water till spring. The gorge is easily accessible and safe for hiking, as its slope is small. Zoniana village is a mountainous village of Milopotamos province belonging to Rethimnon Prefecture in Crete. It is built on an altitude of about 640 metres. It has a population of about 1,500 inhabitants, the majority of whom are occupied with agriculture and cattle-breeding. It is situated 43km away from the capital city of Heraklion, but it is also a nice excursion from Rethymnon.
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Tafkoura 2809 hits

The most important among the potholes-caves of the Anogia - Petradolakia area (close to Nida Plateau), and one of the most important of Greece, is Tafkoura. It is the second deepest cave in Greece and one of the deepest in the Balkans, reaching -860 meters below the surface.

It was formed within the platy marble of the Psiloritis area, probably having started on one of the many faults that fragment the rocks of the area. However, water followed the upward movements of Psiloritis, digging the rocks deeper and deeper to reach sea-level, finally forming this long pothole-cave system. The total, mapped length of the cave is about 6,5 kilometers and it is the longest of Crete. Tafkoura, together with the nearby caves Tafkos (-475 m.), Diplotafki (-400 m) and Mythia Kampathoura (-270 m.) caves form the deepest karstic .water conduits of Psiloritis, though which rain and the snow water goes to the Almyros spring near Heraklion.

Life adapted in these underground worlds giving rise to species that can survive in the ageless darkness as easily as their ancestors did on the surface. Apart from the different species of bats; snails, spiders, false-scorpions, woolise and insects are the main groups which constitute the fauna of Psiloritis’ caves.

The caves however are closely related with the people of the mountains and their diachronic activities. From their first appearance on the island the caves were their places of worship, the houses, the cheese-dairies, refuges during difficult periods and also sacred places. That’s why most caves have a significant archaeological and historic value (and like all the caves in Greece are regarded as potential archaeological sites).


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Tafkos of Petradolakia 2671 hits
Tafkos of Petradolakia in Rethymno prefecture lies south of Anogia, at the site of Petradolakia and, at this point, it is the second deepest cave, after Tafkoura, in the area of Psiloritis.
One of the first potholes to be explored by the French speleologists in the 80s and 90s, at an altitude of 1.437 meters, Tafkos of Petradolakia is 475 meters in depth and the length of its corridors reaches 380 meters.
Its entrance is formed in a limestone of Tripoli and after the first 100 meters it digs into limestone plates of Psiloritis. Along the way, the Tafkos of Petradolakia has over 20 precipices with an average depth of 30 meters and, several of them, 45 and 60 meters deep creating waterfalls with large amounts of water. The flow of the water is constant throughout the year, with large variations in flow rate at the depth of 23 meters and below. In winter, the water level in the cave forbids its accessing from November to April, while the conditions are quite difficult even during the summer, since the water temperature is only 6 degrees Celsius.
The Tafkos of Petradolakia, consisting of at least 20 impressive vertical wells with an average depth of 30-40 meters, has rich decoration of all kinds, such as stalactites, stalagmites, columns, stone basins, helictites, corals etc.
Along the largest chamber of the cave, known as “the room of the deer”, fossilized skull fragments of a deer were found, an animal that is considered to have been living in Crete 50,000 years ago. Similar fossils have been found in other caves of Psiloritis.
The Tafkos of Petradolakia ends at the siphon where the French cavers dived in 1991. The water circulating in the cave’s depths probably ends up in underwater torrents in the northern coasts of Heraklio.