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Big Tree
Category: Site
Prefecture: Heraclion
Address: Κράσι 700 05, Ελλάδα
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Big Tree

The Monumental plane tree is located in Krasi village at Malia, in the central square of the village. The tree is considered to be over 2,400 years old and is the trademark of the village.


It is not the only perennial plane tree of the village, as there are two more plane trees nearby, but it is the oldest as it is calculated from the perimeter of its trunk which is 14 meters. In 2011 the tree was designated as a Natural Monument and is considered to be one of the 5 largest European trees.

Its branches and dense foliage cover the entire square, offering shade. Very close to the tree there are two springs that run water all year round and explain the existence of the perennial trees.

Places near Big Tree

Kera Kardiotissa Monastery
Kera Kardiotissa Monastery 2708 hits

The Monastery of Kera Kardiotissa: Female monastery located on a slope of Lasithi mountains, next to Kera village. After the village of Gonia, the road climbs steadily up the western slopes of Mount Dikti or Lassithi Mountains, which are covered with low vegetation (bushes and wild flowers) and with sparse trees. 

Just before the village of Kera, you will see on your right, next to the road, the Monastery of the Virgin Mary of Kera (closed between 1.00-3.30 p.m.).

The picturesque monastery of Kera, which is dedicated to the birth of Mary, the Mother of God and dates back to 1333, is situated among the settle­ments of Ano Kera, and Kera. Initially, it used to be the glebe of the Monastery of Agarathos, but subsequently it became stavropigiaki, which means that it belonged to and came under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Since and during the Cretan revolutions it was a point of assembly for the rebels, it was ravaged by the Turks many times.

The monastery is famous, mainly due an icon of Virgin Mary, which is believed to have performed many miracles.As the legend goes, the icon itself returned from Constantinople by flying, after being stolen by the Turks twice. Desperate of this, they stole it for the third time by chaining it onto a pillar. That time, the icon returned to Crete on the pillar, which is currently enclosed within a rail and it is exhibited in the courtyard of the monastery for worship. As for the chain, it is considered to be working miracles and it is kept in the church.


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Krassi 2687 hits

Village Krassi Or Krasi (being also the homonymous municipal borough of Pediada region) lies 600m above the sea level in the municipality of Malia in Heraklion Prefecture. It is built on the northwest foot of Selena mountain (h. 1559 m.) and it is 46,3 km away from Heraklion city. The main profession of the inhabitants is the cultivation of olive trees and dairy farming.

Krasi is quite an old village. Some reports run back to 1280, whilst another mentions that the village numbered 169 inhabitants in 1583. An interesting fact about the village is that the Turks did not invade it during the times of the Turkish occupation.Northwest of the village, at the foot of Selena mountain one finds forests of different types of oak tree and maple trees. At the highest spot of the village the “Great Fountain”, a water source with plenty of waters, saturates an extensive area with fruitful trees, mainly walnut trees.

Close to the fountain, nearby the main square of the village, grows an enormous oak tree (the ambit of its trunk being 22m.) casting its shadow on the biggest part of the square, making it a very pleasant stop for the summer traveler when the heat sizzles every inch of bare land. This oak tree is well known for its size and for its age, which, as estimated by the locals, must be over 1000 years old.

Nikos Kazantzakis makes reference to the old oak tree in some of his books, as Krasi is a place he visited himself for his holidays. Today’s visitor can spot the stone that is placed by the fountain, informing him that great men of the Greek literature, such as N. Kazantzakis, K. Varnalis  and M. Avgeris were frequent visitors of the village.

What follows is an incident that took place in the summer of 1911, when N. Kazantzakis, his friend H. Stefanides, K. Varnalis, M. Avgeris, Elli Alexiou and Galateia (all of which are important figures of modern Greek literature) spent their summer holidays in Crassi.Elli Alexiou, only 17 years old at the time, remembers, as she describes later in her book, (a biography of N. Kazantzakis called “In order to grow up”) the “invasion” of painting in her life. “Every now and then…”she writes “came the carrier from Heraklion and along with rice he would drop the tubes I had ordered…” referring to the paint tubes she needed for her painting attempts. “I remember with such love the inside of our home…the corner with the fireplace…and the middle room. A couple of bottles on the shelf, a spindle and a cotton ball forgotten on the old chair in front of the fireplace, lying on the side”. This is the picture she painted in one of her paintings.

She also recalls that “Nikos (Kazantzakis) enjoyed very much that painting. «What shall we call it, Galateia asked, what shall we call it?» she asked whilst looking at it. And he without saying a word, took his pen and wrote in ink in the right hand corner «Crassi, Sweet Home, July, August, Sept. 1911, Lilika»” They used to call Elli Alexiou, Lilika at the time.

Varnalis asked Elli to marry him but her father was clear: “You ‘re still kids, you need to wait for another four years!” “Another four years! What on earth are you talking about? Do you think love is like Methuselah?” was Varnalis’ reaction. “Superior than, Methuselah.  Love lasts for a lifetime in honest men!” And as we know, this love never meant to lead Elli and Varnalis to church. Elli offered this small painting with Kazantzakis’ note on, to her beloved K. Varnalis.

In 1915 Varnalis came to Keratea and took over the school’s management. His house is still there. The current owner of the house Manos Pothetos told us that the painting (Elli’s gift) and a vase Varnalis owned are still in the house. It remains unclear how these objects were left in that house, as Varnalis had moved out when he was sent to another school in 1917 and left Keratea. Elli Alexiou, the respectful teacher, did not take up painting after her early teenage attempts. This aspect of her life is not even known at all.

As we were informed, during the last few years of her life, in 1985, Elli found out about the painting, still being in Keratea. She visited the house and was deeply touched when she looked at the painting. But the owner of the house, despite Elli’s generous offers, refused to give her the painting. So she decided to take a photograph of it; she placed that photograph, that induced very dear memories inside her, in her personal corner of her house.