Εισαγωγή

Welcome

The island of Crete has been a crossroad between the continents since ancient times, consisting the bridge of Europe towards Africa and the contact point of important cultures.

It is surrounded by the Libyan and the Cretan sea, with the outstanding peaks of the mountains such as Lefka Ori from the western side of the prefecture of Chania, Psiloritis Mountain in between the prefectures of Rethymno and Heraklio and the mountains of the Lasithi area from the eastern side of the prefecture of Lasithi, usefull for navigation.

Crete is a land with intense geophysical changes. From the one hand the high peaks and the sharp rock lands that interchange with gorges and caves and from the other hand the sandy coasts that interchange with cliffs and rock bays, contrasts that are characteristic of the physiognomy of the island.

Crete is the land of myths that gave birth to the Father of Gods, Zeus. It is the birthplace of the Minoan culture, the land of glorious historical monuments, palace edifices, eminent ancient cities, carven tombs, Byzantine churches and monasteries, Venetian castles and Ottoman domes; it is the place where historic battles and sacrifices of heroes took place during its long history.

Crete is the birthplace of significant painters, scholars and poets, such as Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco), Vitsentzos Kornaros, Nikos Kazantzakis, Odysseas Elytis and many others. It is the place in which many great musicians, lyre, lute, violin and boulgari masters celebrated life, love, death with their music, their dance, their lyre and their poetry (mandinada).

The heart of the entire Crete beats in the roots of the ancient mountain of Ida (Psiloritis). This mountain is different from the other mountains of Crete. It is narrowide with just few peaks, the highest of all reaching 2.456 m being also the highest of the island. Snow covers the main mountain chain almost the whole year through. Between the peaks spread coombs, gorges and plateaus such as Evdomos in Malevizi, Livadi in Krousonas as well as smaller such as Kserolimi and Vroulidia in Anogia. Nida is the larger plateau in Psiloritis hosting at its side Idaion Andron, the cave in which, according to the myth, Zeus grew up.

The northern and western part of the mountain from the Mylopotamos side is full of large settlements, cultivations and many feeding grounds.

The southern and eastern side of the mountain, however, seems wilder because vertical cliffs start from the mountain tops and reach the down country of Heraklio and Mesara or end up in the valley of Amari. In this place there are settlements that are built in the root of the cliffs so as to take advantage of the feeding grounds or spread around the fertile and cultivable mountainous areas. The large rivers cross the small valleys of the areas, such as Geropotapos at the northern side, Amarianos and Platis River on the southern side, Koutsolidis that starts from the forest of Rouvas as well as Lithaios that ends up in Ancient Gortina. Gorges that are the exits of the streams start from all the sides of the mountain as the water flows violently towards the sea as well as paths that cross the mountain since the ancient times. Shepherds’ shelters (mitato) are unique constructions in the wild landscape that interchange between rocky areas with kermes oak forests and humble endem¬ic plants and herbs. They are small, round, stone-built houses made of limestones in order to accommodate the stock breeders for dairy production. They spread around the Psiloritis areas.

The rich nature of Psiloritis is ideal for stock-breeding activities in the mountainous areas while in the low lands there are cultivations of olive trees for olive oil, vineyards for wine, dry goods and fruits.

People that live in the root of the mountain grew up listening to ancient and modern myths with points of reference the ancient sacred caves such as Idaion Andron, Kamaraiko and Melidoni caves, the holocausts and the sacrifices for freedom but also the simple, everyday habits and the local customs, sustained and enhanced by the modern way of life.

Psiloritis is the land that inspires the creation and search of values. It is the land that allows you to live ...as high as your dreams.

 

Φυσικό Πάρκο Ψηλορείτη - Παγκόσμιο Γεωπάρκο UNESCO
Psiloritis Natural Park
UNESCO