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Agios Nikolaos Archaiological Museum
Agios Nikolaos Archaiological Museum 753 hits

Temporarily Closed due to restoration works in progress.

http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/1/gh151.jsp?obj_id=3523

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Almirida 712 hits

Almirida, a small fishing village, lies along the east of the Souda Bay opposite the cape of Akrotiri, within 25 kilometers from the city of Hania. The surrounding area, with picturesque villages, lovely beaches, and historical sites consists one of the most worth to visit areas in the island of Crete. Kera, Plaka, Kambia, and Kokkino Horio are some of the most renowned and unforgettable places to the numerous friends of Almirida. 

The White Mountains dominate the area and provide a dramatic backdrop to the sandy beaches at Almirida and Kalives. In the last few years visitors from Northern Europe have become so enchanted with Apokoronas that many have bought homes here which has brought new life and tourist facilities to the area. This also means that there are now sophisticated and luxury villas available to rent in this part of Crete. Most of our properties are situated slightly inland, a little bit removed from the madding crowd, in the most sought after locations but with beaches and the sea close at hand.

The area has been just developed the last eight years, in a way that the traditional characteristics which attracts the most demanding guests, remained unspoilt.Historically, it introduces great interest. The whole area used to be a colony of the ancient Foinikes, a place named Finika exists in the area, while some ancient ruins and tombs of the time were unearthed there.Nature lovers will find many foot paths leading to some wonderful secluded beaches. At the entrance of Almirida archaeologists discovered Mosaic and tombs which belong to the Royal Church rhythm of the 5th century A.D. Here the last battle between the Greek revolutionaries and the Turks in 1896 took place.

Almirida village: The old church Almirida village: The old church Almirida village: The old church 

 

Almirida has tourist accommodation of all types and class. Not large hotel resorts but many small family operated and well looked after with friendly and quiet environment, which however can provide all the modern facilities. Fresh fish and lots of Cretan specialties are offered at the small taverns located on the coastal street by the sea. There also many bars, cafes, music clubs etc to offer the visitors unforgettable evenings.

For your shopping there are shops with traditional products and souvenirs of a wide range, and of course many mini markets which remain open until late. There is regular bus transportation service to the town of Hania and the surrounding villages in 24 hour basis.

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Chryssolakkos 656 hits

Chryssolakkos (Greek: Χρυσόλακκος) means the "Pit of gold". This is where the ancient necropolis (royal burial enclosure or cemetery, 1700BCE) in Malia, an ancient Minoan town in Crete, Greece is located.

The famous Bee Pendant now on display at the Heraklion Archaeological Museum was found here. The pendant shows two wasps storing or may be sharing a drop of honey and is of high quality gold-smithery of the Minoan times.

Samaria Gorge
Samaria Gorge 630 hits

Samaria or the Samaria Gorge is one of the main sights of Crete. Every tourist who visits Crete will have heard of this beautiful gorge or soon will. 

Samaria Gorge is found in the White Mountains of south-west Crete in the district of Chania. They are called the White Mountains because the sun shining on the limestone rock of their peaks make them appear that colour.

The capital of the district of Chania is the town of that name. It`s a very popular tourist destination on the north coast of the island. If you look at a map of Crete you will find the Samaria gorge directly south of the town but on the opposite coast.The White Mountains contain over forty gorges of various sizes. The best known are Imbros Gorge, The Gorge of Agia Irini and the Samaria Gorge which is definitely the most famous of them all. Even though these gorges are all to be found on the same part of the island of Crete, they all have different characteristics.Samaria Gorge is named after a village of that name which is found about halfway down the gorge. The village in turn gets its name from a small 14th century church sited close by. This is the church of the Holy Mary, in the Greek language, "Osia Maria." So it is easy to see where the name Samaria comes from!The village has been deserted since 1962. The last inhabitants had to leave when the whole area was designated as a National Park. Although many of the old houses still remain, they only act as accommodation for the Park wardens. The old church of Osia Maria is still there, a little way out of the village.All the gorges in the Crete Mountains in Chania were formed by the same geological process. Water ate away the soft limestone rocks over thousands of years after the land had been uplifted by seismic activity. This water erosion has also led to huge numbers of caves being formed. There are as many as 3,000 over the island. A lot of these caves are archaeologically and religiously significant. Over a 100 of the caves have churches in them.The Samaria Gorge starts near the small town of Xyloskalo on a level area in the White Mountains called the Omalos Plateau. The name Xyloskalo can be translated as "wooden stairway." This is because the locals had built just that thing to help them enter down the steep opening into the gorge.The Omalos Plateau is over 1,200 feet above sea level and the gorge runs in a southerly direction from there down to the south coast of Crete near the village of Agia Roumeli.Of all the things to do in Crete visiting the Gorge of Samaria is a must for many tourists, especially those on Crete walking holidays. Mnay Crete excursions are based around this great hike.Coaches will collect you early in the morning and take you to your starting point at Xyloskalo in the Crete mountains. Once you have completed the hike and reached Agia Roumeli on the coast, you catch a ferry boat to the nearby port of Hora Sfakion where your coach will collect you once more.The locals call the gorge "Farangas" which means "great gorge." They also like to claim that it is the longest gorge in Europe, but that is debatable.What is certain is that in some places it can definitely be counted amongst the narrowest!The most dramitic part is a a place known as "Sideroportes" or the "Iron Gates." Here the Samaria gorge is so narrow, being about four metres wide, that you feel as though you can reach out and touch both walls at the same time.If you look up at the cliffs, which rise almost vertically above you for 350 metres, you feel totally overawed!The journey down the gorge, from Xyloskalo to Agia Roumeli on the coast, is about 18 kilometres and although the hike is not an easy one, it is extremly beautiful. The path follows a clear stream which goes through heavily scented pine forests of tall Cypress trees. There are many olive trees and some small fields with low stone walls.The Samaria Gorge is only open to visitors between the beginning of May and the middle of October. There a charge for entering the gorge, at the moment it is 5 Euros. This goes towards the maintenance of the National Park. You must keep your ticket and hand it to the warden as you leave the park, this ensures that no-one is left in the gorge overnight.During the winter months you are unable to go down the gorge.This ban can even occur in the summer season if there has been rain. This is because the pretty stream you cross many times on your hike down the gorge can turn into a raging torrent. Rain or melting snow in the Crete mountains can raise the height of the water considerably.In fact the Village of Agia Roumeli, at the bottom of the gorge, was badly flooded in the 1950`s. There are still some ruined houses which are only now being rebuilt.High winds can also cause problems. Although you may not be aware of them when you are down in the gorge they have been known to cause stones to fall from the 350 metre high cliffs. In fact there are signs warning of this danger.Any walk down the gorge usually becomes a competition to spot the rare Kri-Kri.This is a Cretan Wild Ibex with distinctive curved horns. It was introduced into Samaria gorge as a refuge for it. In fact this is only one of two places it is to be found.If you are very lucky you may spot some rare birds such as the Griffon Vulture, Bonelli`s Eagle and the Golden Eagle.One thing about Samaria Gorge you should be aware of is its popularity. During the tourist season there will be lots of people hiking through it every day.The beauty and dramatic quality of Samaria Gorge make it one of the most popular gorges to visit in the world.

 

Astrakiano - Karteros Gorge
Astrakiano - Karteros Gorge 625 hits
The Astrakiano gorge (or gorge of Karteros) is one of the longest gorges in the region, with a total length of about 12,5 km. The entrance is after the settlement of Kato Astrakoi and its exit is in Mesa Karteros, a recreational area situated in a site of exceptional beauty. There is also a parking area, where we suggest you leave your car so you can continue your route to the beach of Karteros. The gorge is crossed by the river Karteros. There is a well-marked walking trail and the total duration of the route is about 3.30 hours. There used to be 10 watermills in the gorge and the locals were fishing eels and crabs in the river.The route in Astrakiano Gorge (or Gorge of Karteros)You can reach the village of Astrakoi by bus from Heraklion (18.5 km) and from the village of Myrtia. In the village you will find mini markets and coffee shops.  On the eastern extremity of the settlement, and specifically on the central plateau, starts the road that leads to the abandoned settlement of Kato Astrakoi, 2 km away. The village of Kato Astrakoi was abandoned in the beginning of the year 1930. From there, follow the downhill path that leads to the gorge (10 min walking). On the side of the path you will see the ruins of a Basilica, dedicated to Saint George (Aghios Georgios). It is a Byzantine Basilica with three sections. 100 meters further from the Basilica stands the church of Mary (Panaghia), featuring a unique symbol of the Byzantine two-headed eagle over its windows.  A bit further from the church of Aghios Georgios you will find a north intersection leading to an olive grove, where you will find a path with stone stairs that leads into the gorge, in the position of "Neraidospilo". Look for the signs.  The path crosses the entire gorge of Karteros, where you will see beautiful churches, watermills and a rest house of the Byzantine period.Walking down the gorge, you will encounter a stone-built water reservoir, and a 3 min walk from there you will see the cave "Neraidospilo" (fairy cave). It is a natural cave associated with many legends about fairies and witches. Nowadays, the cave has been constructed and its entrance is closed with a gate, so you cannot visit it. Deep in the cave there is a water spring. The landscape around the cave is wonderful, with a small artificial lake, wild vegetation and a relaxing environment. In the gorge, follow the path by the river of Karteros until you reach the bridge of Aitania. The path often crosses the closed pipe of the aqueduct. A wooden construction covers the closed pipe of the aqueduct, in order to protect it.  Small lakes, watermills, small waterfalls and the sounds of nature (frogs, birds, wind blowing through the trees) will accompany your route.One hour and twenty minutes away from your starting point (the cave "Neraidospilo") you will reach the open area of the bridge of Aitania, characterized by fields and dirt roads that lead to the bridge. This bridge connects the village of Skalani with the one of Aitania. The last 20 minutes of walking on the trail are especially beautiful. Moving away from the gorge, you will continue your route uphill the east wall of the gorge. The view from this point is breathtaking. Skip the bridge and move north, following the signs in order to find again the walking trail that will take you back into the gorge. 10 minutes later you will encounter the intersection that leads to the village of Kounavoi to the west, through the homonym gorge (kounaviano gorge).Continue walking with a direction to the north, passing by old watermills, water pipes and small lakes. In one hour you will arrive at the end of the route, in the location "Mesa Karteros", where you will find an information kiosk and a beautiful recreational area. Just before the end of the route, you will see the two chapels of Aghios Nikolaos.  In the first chapel of Aghios Nikolaos you will also see the ruins of watermills. A wooden door marks the entrance to the gorge. Close the door behind you and follow the path down to the rover bank, where you will encounter the Byzantine rest house on your left, and further you will reach the recreational area of "Mesa Karteros". Here you will see the second chapel of Aghios Nikolaos and a ruined settlement. You can read more information about the gorge and its monuments on the information sign and map placed there. There is also a parking area there, where you can leave your car and drive to N. Alikarnassos or to the beach of Karteros.
Lake of Aghios Nickolaos
Lake of Aghios Nickolaos 624 hits

Lake Voulismeni  is a former sweetwater lake, later connected to the sea, located at the centre of the town of Agios Nikolaos. It has a circular shape of a diameter of 137 m and depth 64 m. The locals refer to it as just "the lake". The lake connects to the harbour of the town by a channel dug in 1870. A panoramic view of the lake can be seen from a small park situated above it. According to legend, the goddess Athena and Artemis bathed in it. Every year at midnight turning to Orthodox Christian Easter day, the majority of the population of the town gathers around the lake to celebrate with fireworks, and firecrackers thrown by the people attending that highlight event.It was reported that the German army during their withdrawal from the area at WW2, disposed parts of their weaponry and/or vehicles into the deep lake.A local urban legend has it that the lake is bottomless. Based primarily on locals noticing disturbances at the surface of the water during the Santorini earthquake of 1956, many assume a possible geological relation of the two locations.