psiloritis geopark

The History

The history of the area is indissolubly linked with the history of Crete. The first residents of the island inhabited places near the coasts of the island during the Stone Age. We come across Minoan habitations across the mountain with important centers those of Tylisos, Gonies, Zominthos, Monastyraki and Apodoulos of Amari.

During the Geometric and Archaic era the city of Aksos in Eleftherna bloomed. After the Roman invasion, Crete became the district of an endless empire. During that period Gortina became the centre of cultural and economic life of the island. The predominance of Christianity demarcates the Byzantine period of the land’s history. Gortina, Aksos, Eleftherna and Syvritos were the centers of bishops. The Byzantine presence in the island was violently interrupted with the Arabic invasion at 823. From the dark ages of the Arabic invasion we do not have essential information for the islands status. At 961 Nikiforos Fokas conquered Crete again. The second Byzantine period in the island began this way. At that time, according to the legend, noble families inhabited the land from Istanbul. During the 4th Crusade (1204) the Byzantine Empire essentially broke down. Crete was then conquered by the Queen of seas, Venice. The Cretans did not stop insurrecting against the Venetians with constant rebellions. Thus, the wider area during the rebellions of the family of Kallergis (1299) abstracted privileges for the Greek orthodox residents.

The area was occupied by Turks in 1645. Similarly to the earliest period, the residents of Psiloritis never accepted to subject to the foreign dynast. They were fighting for freedom with constant rebellions. During this period, the caves of the area of Malevizi offered a hideaway to the legendary insurgents of the mountains (Also known as "Chainides").

During the big revolution for independence at 1824, the area fought with great courage for its freedom. During this revolution for independence in 1824, four hundred people from Melidoni village were tortured to death at the historic place of Gerondospilios.

The center of the revolution in 1866 was at Arkadi that is a humanitarian symbol of freedom and voluntary sacrifice. During the Second World War and the Battle of Crete great battles took place between the allies and the German intruders. During the Nazi years, resistance groups were made up and found their shelter in the gnarled tops of Psiloritis. The revolutionary activity lead to the revenge of the Germans such as the case of the holocaust if Anogia, the villages of Kedros and the execution of fifteen people from Gergeri, Nivritos, Gournolakos and Damasta.