Overnight Stay Tax Controversy within the Greek Hospitality Sector
The Greek Ministry of Tourism has implemented the Overnight Stay Tax as from January 1st, 2018; being its main purpose to drive revenues while reducing the national debt.
The Overnight Stay Tax implies an extra fee that adds to the cost of the room which ranges from €0.50 to €4 per night depending on the official rating of the accommodation facility. A tax that guests are expected to pay when checking in.
The tax has been received with reluctance as it goes into effect right after Greece closes a year distinguished by a 9% increase in tourism arrivals, a number that adds to the even better forecasts for 2018, while tourism keeps expanding and numbers also show growth in occupancy in the hotel sector as well as a 13.9% increase in turnover.
Mr. Yiorgos Tsarikis, president of the Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers, has stated thatthis tax is bound to cause a decrease in the demand while the Greek tourism product will be affected.
As many others in the industry believe, the tax will be either directly passed to the consumers or absorbed by the hotels, which will have, in any case, a negative effect.
In Heraklion, Europe’s fastest growing tourism destination for 2017, the news was not well received either.
Mr. Lefteris Karatarakis, CEO of the Lato Boutique Hotel and the eco-friendly Olive Green Hotel, argues that “this is purely a collective measure which will definitely harm profitability and increase tax evasion”, he concluded during a conversation with Greek Reporter.
According to different organizations, it has been estimated that the Overnight Stay Tax might imply a 1.9 % increase in the average accommodation rate, which might result in a reduction in demand of about 2.5 %.
On the other side, the government has stated that it is willing to review the tax in the long run.
The first thoughts coming to mind when you hear the word Greece are whitewashed villages, blue skies, and endless pristine beaches to choose from. However, winter is also part of the calendar in Greece, and snow is not uncommon.
For those interested in winter sports, it will be great to learn that Greece is among the most mountainous countries in Europe, with peaks ranging from 1500 to 2918 m. Greece has some incredible ski resorts, some so unique that offer you unobstructed views to the sea while speeding down the mountains.
The winter season stretches from December to March, so take a look at this list of the biggest ski resorts in the country if a skiing escape is on your list.
Many consider this as the best skiing resort in Greece. It’s on the slopes of Parnassos mountain and its two sites, Kelaria (1750 m) and Fterolakka (1600 m), offer amazing skiing experiences for adrenaline addicts. Parnassos can be reached easily from Athens by car in less than two hours.
This resort is in the Peloponnese, on Mount Helmos. Here it’s also possible to choose between skiing, snowboarding, paragliding, and snowmobiling. Thirteen ski runs offer different levels of difficulty while skiing lessons are also available. The skiing center is 250 km south west of Athens.
The Elatochori Ski Center is located on the Mountains of Pieria, on the northern slopes of Mount Olympus. The center (1450 m) has six ski trails and it’s also possible to try snowboarding in the Snowboard Fun Park. It’s located 300 km North of Athens and 150 km South of Thessaloniki.
Pisoderi is a resort on Mount Verno (1939 m), in western Macedonia and it offers one of the most challenging ski runs in Greece, Oxia (2500 m long). The resort is also equipped with a medical center on the premises.
Vasilitsa is one of the best snowboard resorts in the south of Europe and sits at 2113 m in the middle of Pindos Mountains. Spectacular views of Mount Olympus come in the package when you choose this destination. The resort is 45 km from Grevena, in Macedonia.
This center is near the city of Volos. It’s 1471 m high and it offers unique views of the nearby Aegean. It has seven skiing sites and it caters both to beginners as well as experienced skiers. During the weekends they also organize night skiing. The trip from Athens to Pelion takes about five hours.
Kaimaktsalan is in the Voras Mountains (2018 m), in central Macedonia and has 14 skiing trails with a total length of 15 kilometers. The chalet is a beautiful building made of rock, glass, and wood and it houses a restaurant and a cafeteria as well as seven luxurious mini-suites. Kaimaktsalan is home to the first Speed Trap of the country (1200 m). This resort is 140 km from Thessaloniki.
Tria Pente Pigadia
In the area of Naoussa, on the slopes of Vermion Mountain, this ski center is nestled in a wonderful alpine landscape. It opens from October to April and it’s about 560 km from Athens, Naoussa is only 17 km away.
Seli is a winter sports resort on Vermion Mountain (1890 m) with trails for any difficulty level. In the area, it’s possible to visit Seli, a traditional Greek village with coffee shops, hotels, and stores. Seli is 520 km North of Athens and less than a 100 km away from Thessaloniki.
This skiing center is in the mountains of Pindos. In Metsovo, it’s possible to try alpine ski and cross-country ski. The Profitis Ilias Ski Center is 4 kilometers from Mestovo and ranges from 1360 to 1620 m. Easy and short ski runs make it ideal for inexperienced skiers. The center is equipped with an artificial snow system too.
For One night only these 3 Christmas angels NO! STOP PRESS….we will now be the awesome foursome as Mr Trevor jingle bells Bain will be joining us to rock out some Christmas spirit at the lovely Marouvas Taverna in Vamos. Book your tables early as this venue is known for its great food. Call Manolis on 697 220 0246 or 694 433 6002 Come and make merry this Christmas with Ali, Mike, Nick and Trevor Music starts at 9pm and bring your dancing shoes to rock around the Christmas tree this December with us. NO COVER CHARGE.
Netflix Greece Offers Users Greek Language Support
Netflix has localised its service in Greece, providing local language support and enabling payment in euros in the country for the first time.
The subscription video-on-demand provider said that over 70% of the content on the platform is now subtitled or dubbed in Greek.
The SVOD service is available on a range of devices in the country, including Blu-ray players, LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, Philips and Toshiba smart TVs, computers, game consoles, Apple TV and iOS and Android phones and tablets. Netflix is also making its 4K Ultra HD content available in Greece.
Netflix launched in Greece at the start of 2016 as part of its ‘big bang’ international expansion, but without local language support. Key titles such as the awarded House of Cards were missing from the platform thanks to existing contracts.
Netflix has been progressively localising its offering on a market-by-market basis. In May the streaming service localised its service in Romania.
Across the CEE region, the service is also localised in Poland and Turkey. Netflix has also produced original local series in countries including Spain, Germany, France, the UK, Italy and, more recently, Turkey.
The streaming service also recently struck an agreement with Deutsche Telekom, part owner of Greece’s Cosmote, to give the latter’s TV customers access to the service in multiple markets including Greece.
Raw earth is entirely recyclable, requires very little energy for its transformation into building material and is completely safe for health. Using local earth also means avoiding energy-intensive transportation while combating global standardisation of construction.
Rediscovering the earthen plasters is a chance to actively be aligned with an ethical dynamic, showing that these ancient techniques can easily be adapted to our current needs. It is also a chance to enhance their aesthetic potential.
This time, Spiti Spitaki collaborates with the project Eleuthero-chorapho in Favilla Compostella. Lesson and lunch will be provided on site, in the natural and quite environment of the village of Boutsounaria, close to Chania.
During the two-day workshop ( + 4h on Friday afternoon) we will make a finishing internal earthen plaster with earth, sand and marble powder and discover the artistic potential of it.
Programme of the workshop
• Friday 15 december 13:00 – 17:00 (flexible hours for people with prior engagment) : Preparation of the mortar and wall. • Saturday 16 december – morning : Theoretical lesson – Introduction to earth and its uses as a plaster. • Saturday 16 – afternoon & Sunday 17 december : Application of earthen plasters.
Instruction & organisation
\\Claire Oiry : Architect, graduated from the 2-year formation “DSA Architecture de terre” in the School of Architecture of Grenoble, organised by CRAterre. Based in Chania, she realized plasters with natural and local materials (earth and lime) with the company Spiti Spitaki. Member of Piliko Non-profit organization.
\\Eleuthero-chorapho in Favilla compostella : A project of reconnection with the earth. Our goal is to aid nature to create an ecosystem with the greatest biodiversity possible. This is done through several different paths; from the creation of a forest garden that includes tropical, subtropical and temperate zone plants, the efficient design of ponds and streams or by building with non treated natural materials.
The Hellenic Retail Business Association announced on Monday, the opening hours for stores over the Christmas holidays, starting on December 15; and returning to regular working winters hours on January 3.
According to the announcement, the shops will be open all day from 09:00 to 21:00 on weekdays; 09:00 to 20:00 on Saturdays, and from 11:00 to 20:00 on Sundays 17/12, 24/12 and 31/12.
Airbnb-type Rentals in Greece to Come Under Tax Scrutiny
The Greek government has introduced measures to bring short-term rental owners (like those using Aibnb services) under the taxman’s scrutiny by clamping down on rampant tax evasion.
The owners of short-term rentals in Greece will now be provided a separate section in the tax forms to declare their income from letting out properties to tourists and tenants, on a short-term basis.
The government has warned that severe penalties will be imposed on people who are caught trying to circumvent these tax dues.
The Greek Independent Authority for Public Revenue recently announced that short-term rentals will be taxed at rates ranging from 15% to 45%.
According to media reports, short-term rental owners will have to submit a Short Stay Declaration form for every guest or tenant who stays in their properties.
In the form, they will need to provide details such as the owner’s registration number, rent, the name of the short-term rental site used for booking, the details of the tenant, the period of the lease (start and end dates), and the method of payment.
The popularity of short-term rental websites such as Airbnb and Homestay is growing in Greece, particularly in popular tourist destinations, but even in non-tourist ones, since they provide additional income to people with properties suffering from the recession.
Retiring in Europe is about launching a new life in a new country, starting over in a unique place with Old World culture. But there’s no one way to determine the best place to retire for every person. That’s why we have identified the best destinations in Europe that are each special for their own reasons.
The 13 categories considered represent the most important criteria that retirees must weigh when shopping for the best place to live. The categories are cost of living, crime and safety, English spoken, entertainment, environmental conditions, expat community, health care, infrastructure, recreation, residency options, taxes and real estate affordability and restrictions.
Portugal’s Algarve remains the best place in Europe to retire to today. It has everything the would-be retiree could want – great weather and lots of sunshine year-round; an established and welcoming expat community; top-notch medical facilities and health care; an affordable cost of living, especially when you consider the quality of life; undervalued and bargain-priced property buys, including right on the ocean; endless opportunities for fun, adventure and enjoying rich, full, varied days out-of-doors; a great deal of English spoken thanks to the longstanding British presence; First World infrastructure; a new retiree residency program that rolls out the welcome mat for foreign pensioners; and easy access both from the United States and to and from all Europe.
Chania, Crete, Greece
Crete is a Greek island located in the Mediterranean Sea. It is the largest among Greece’s nearly 6,000 islands, at 161 miles long by 37 miles wide. Crete is thought by many to be one of the most beautiful locations in Greece, if not the entire world. The island offers a lot for both tourists and residents, including sunny, sandy beaches and hospitable people. Most of the tourist areas and cities in Crete have an abundance of shop owners who understand and speak English. Even the lesser traveled areas on the island will have English speakers scattered around and if not, the locals are easy to work with and can help you with whatever you need.
The hotel sector on the islands of Crete will be boosted next year by a number of investments already in process or expected to take place.
According to a report by Greek daily Naftemporiki, it is estimated that in 2018 the bed capacity will be boosted by 5,000.
Crete Governor Stavros Arnaoutakis was recently reported saying that over 5,000 modern 5-star hotels are currently under construction on the island. According to Arnaoutakis, in the next five years the new beds on Crete will reach some 25,000, considering that tourism maintains its good progress.
Among the hotel investments on Crete is the 120-room Nana Princess in Hersonissos of the Karatzis Group. The new hotel will be located next to the company’s 5-star Nana Beach Hotel. The hotel, which will include private pools in almost all rooms, will open its doors in Spring 2018. Additionally, the Karatzis Group is planning to open another 350-room hotel in Ierapetra, Lassithi.
The Hersonissos Group of Hotels Group, which already has seven hotels in the Hersonissos area, as of this summer launched the five-star Abaton Resort of 150 rooms and an estimated budget of 25-30 million euros.
Meanwhile, a new 5-star hotel of 650 beds is under construction at the Madaros area in Rethymno, by Vantaris Hotels.
The Madaros area will also host a new 5-star resort, owned by Pilotos SA, with a capacity of 776 beds in 295 rooms and bungalows. The hotel will be located in Petres, near the settlement of Karoti Municipality of Rethymnon.
In addition, the Mathioulakis Group, which already operates the 5-star “Minoa Palace Resort & Spa” in Platanias, Chania, is investing in a new five-star hotel with a capacity of 690 beds in the area of Skoutelona, Kolimbari.
How an Expat in Crete Created a Website All About Olive Oil
The website for Greek Liquid Gold: Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil has recently had a facelift as described in a press release on the website hellenicnews.com.hellenicnews.com.
It all began with an American living in Crete creating a new website about Greek olive oil that features news, recipes, photos, and information.
Offering the latest news from the Greek olive oil world alongside original renditions of Greek recipes, disclosures on olive oil’s health benefits, and culinary tourism suggestions, Lisa Radinovsky aims to help the ailing Greek economy and solidify friendly Greek-American relations on her website greekliquidgold.com.greekliquidgold.com.
Radinovsky, an English professor turned writer and photographer, has teamed up with Dimitris Doukas, a Princeton-educated Greek computer scientist, and his team at Twin Net Information Systems Ltd. in Athens to create a the website about Greek olive oils.
Researching and writing about Greek olive oil business news for the online publication Olive Oil Times, Radinovsky searched in vain for a comprehensive, up-to-date English-language source on her topic. Struck by Greeks’ use of olive oil in almost everything they cook or bake and impressed by Greeks’ efforts to produce, market, and export a high quality product in the midst of an economic crisis, she decided to create the information source she couldn’t find.
Launched in August, greekliquidgold.com features recipes and photos from Greece, information about olive oil, its production process, the Mediterranean diet, agrotourism and culinary tourism, and news about Greek olive oil—something for everyone with an interest in Greece, cooking, healthy eating, or olive oil.greekliquidgold.com features recipes and photos from Greece, information about olive oil, its production process, the Mediterranean diet, agrotourism and culinary tourism, and news about Greek olive oil—something for everyone with an interest in Greece, cooking, healthy eating, or olive oil.
The new updated site features original recipes from Greece as well as links to a variety of other recipes using olive oil and hints about cooking and baking with it. It includes a description of an olive oil tasting class, photo essays featuring Cretan olive groves and a botanical park, and stories about a Cretan sea-captain turned olive farmer and a Greek-born Italian computer programmer who produced some of the best Greek olive oil of the year, to the surprise of his Italian compatriots.
1. The weather! Greece enjoys up to 300 days of sunshine a year. Winters temperatures are generally mild and you will often find that you are still able to bask in the warmth of the daytime sunshine. Yes, there will be cold and rain, but a lot less of it than in most other European destinations.
2. Avoid the tourist crowds. In winter, everywhere from the Greek islands to cities as well as famous archaeological sites and museums are a delight to experience without having to fight your way through hordes of tourists. Wander through Knossos or the Acropolis in quiet and stillness and allow yourself to be transported back in time.
3. Get to know the locals. Everyone in Greece is more relaxed in the winter season, which is not surprising after the long summer months of non-stop work in hospitality taking care of summer visitors. In winter you can really get to know the locals. The Greek people are incredibly hospitable and friendly, so they also get to enjoy the company of visiting tourists much more out of season. For a start, they have more time to talk in winter, and after all talking is one of the great national pastimes in Greece. Great philosophers, whether ancient or modern rely on the opportunity for regular, deep discussions. Winter is the ideal time to get deep and meaningful, especially over a few drinks and with plenty of music, song and dance thrown into the mix.
4. Cities. Greek cities truly come in to their own in the autumn and winter seasons. The mainland cities of Athens and Thessaloniki spring to life from September onward and offer a vibrant cultural, art and night life scene to savour. The cafe culture is easily one of Europe’s finest, while the winter also provides the opportunity to appreciate the many award winning museums and galleries on offer. Did I mention festivals? Festivals abound in the winter months, from film and art to Christmas and carnivals as well as the famed Easter celebrations are all on offer. Island cities such as Chania and Herakleion in Crete, and Hermoupolis in Syros offer all of the above, simply with an even greater sense of serene tranquillity once you start wandering through the architecturally rich streets and alleys. Many of which are dotted with bohemian cafes and bars. Apart from all of this, glorious countryside and beaches are a heartbeat from most city centres.
5. Deserted beaches. Some of the best beaches in the world are in Greece. Experience all of the beauty and charm of beaches such as Elafonissi and Balos in Crete. In fact, Elafonissi beach in SW Crete and Navagio beach on Zakynthos island have recently been included in a top 50 list of the best beaches in the world by Flight Network. Seriously, it would be a hard task ‘not’ to find amazing beaches anywhere along the Greek coastline, simply seek and find.
6. Walking and hiking. Without a doubt walking and hiking are far more pleasurable in Greece in the cooler months. Wander through forests and orange groves in the Peloponnese and appreciate the huge range of treks available on larger islands such as Crete, which is famed for its multitude of incredible walks and trails. Winter is indeed the perfect time to explore the Greek countryside.
7. Food. Winter is the ideal time to taste the best of the best in terms of Greek food. When the summer season ends, particularly on the islands, the customers at the tavernas and restaurants, which stay open in winter, will be serving mainly local clientele. This means you will really get to savour all the incredible seasonal tastes and dishes on offer.
8. Skiing. In addition to the mountains of the Peloponnese, Evrytania, Kalavrita, Pelion, Delphi and Epirus all have ski centres and Swiss chalet style mountains refuges, with ski lifts and a variety of downhill and cross-country runs. Apparently skiing has become so popular that advance reservations are a must in popular ski resorts such as Arachova, where you can ski all day on Mount Parnassus, then head to the shores of the Corinthian Gulf for your après ski. On some days, even a short swim might be possible!
9. Educational courses and classes. There are an incredible array of holiday classes and courses you will be able to access in Greece in the winter months. Whatever your interests may be, yoga, wellness, art, photography, film-making, organic lifestyle, cooking, trekking and on and on, you are sure to find a suitable course and destination. It’s all at your fingertips with a quick internet search.
10. Relaxation! Enjoy true rest and relaxation. After all, what do most of us want to experience on holiday? Feeling relaxed! Greece is famed for helping stressed and weary visitors relax at all times of the year; it’s just an even more chilled out affair in winter.
In winter, roast-chestnut street stalls are a common sight in Greek cities. The seller has a little portable brazier, a whole heap of roasted chestnuts ready to sell in paper cornets, and a whole heap more roasting.
Every Greek kid has pestered their parents for one of those paper cornets. Chestnuts and the Greek winter are almost synonymous.
As one Australian food critic pointed out, it is amazing that people had learned how to eat them, they had so many layers of protection: the green spikes, the glossy, hard second layer, the flaky skin underneath that had to be rubbed off before you could at last properly use the fleshy nut in the centre.
Yet, chestnuts are so popular, because they are so versatile.
You can try chestnuts on their own, roasted, boiled or baked in the oven; use them also in your recipes and add a unique flavour and colour to your culinary pursuits, as both your sweet and salted creations will gain greatly by this ingredient’s mellow, rich taste.
Although they are the perfect accompaniment to pork and poultry, the Greek traditional confectionery is where they are mostly used in. Enjoy them as a spoon sweet, in jams and spreads and you will certainly love it in cakes such as tsoureki, vasilopita and sweet breads.
Chestnuts grow everywhere in Greece in Macedonian forests in the north and all the way down to the Cretan mountains in the south; the new harvest, usually in October, is cause for celebration in many parts of the country.
Production has increased in recent years and more Greeks in the mountainous regions turn to the cultivation of chestnuts as international demand, especially from Italy, has peaked up.
The sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) was originally a native to Asia Minor and was introduced into Europe from Sardis in Asia Minor. The nut was then called the ‘Sardian Nut’.
It has been a staple food in Southern Europe, Turkey and southwestern and eastern Asia for millennia. It largely replaced cereals where these would not grow well if at all, in mountainous Mediterranean areas.
Alexander the Great and the Romans planted chestnut trees across Europe while on their various campaigns. The Greek army is said to have survived their retreat from Asia Minor in 401-399 B.C. thanks to their stores of chestnuts.
Ancient Greeks like the physician, pharmacologist and botanist Dioscorides and Romans such as Galen, the prominent physician and philosopher of Greek origin, wrote of chestnuts to comment on their medicinal properties.
To the early Christians chestnuts symbolized chastity.
Until the introduction of the potato, whole forest-dwelling communities which had scarce access to wheat flour relied on chestnuts as their main source of carbohydrates.
In some parts of Italy a cake made of chestnuts is used as a substitute for potatoes.
Thessaloniki University Launches Russian Language Department
The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki opened the Russian Language and Culture Department. It was organized a few months ago with the support of the Ivan Savvidis Charity Foundation.
In 2016, the university and the Ivan Savvidis Charity Foundation signed a memorandum of cooperation which saw, among other things, the launch of the new department.
Russian history and culture outreach, and teaching Russian as a foreign language are the main objectives of the new department. Aside from that, various activities of scientific and humanitarian nature are planned at the base of this university.
Consul General of the Russian Federation in Thessaloniki, Alexander Scherbakov; Greek Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Konstantinos Zuraris, and the best Russian and Greek Universities representatives were present at the official opening ceremony on October, 5th.
Aside from the Russian Language and Culture Department, University of Thessaloniki is going to open a Pontic studies department.
December 1st 1913: Crete Unites with Greece (video)
On November 1st, 1913, Sultan Mehmed the 5th resigned from every right of domination over the Great Ocean. Exactly one month later, Crete was officially incorporated into the Greek State.
It took almost a century of tears, blood and martyrdom for Cretans to rid of the Ottomans. But in sunny Chania on Sunday, December 1, 1913, it was time for vindication. In the presence of King Constantine and Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, in a very festive atmosphere, Crete was now part of Greece and the blue and white flag was flew proud on top of the fortress of Firka, while 101 cannon shots were fired from Greek Navy warships.
The Ottomans conquered Crete in 1667. Although the whole period was one of a difficult and often bloody struggle, the last 90 years were the most difficult for all Cretans to bear because Greece, after enormous sacrifices following the Revolution of 1821, achieved independence from the Turkish yoke, but Crete remained under Sultan rule.
Even though Cretans fought for their independence as hard as mainland Greeks and made the same sacrifices, the Great Powers had prevented Crete from joining Greece and becoming part of the new Hellenic Nation.
Greece was recognised as a new nation at the signing of the “Protocol of London” on January 22, 1830, but Crete was left out of it. The island was caught in the middle of power politics between the Great Powers that were trying to take as much as they could from the slowly dying Ottoman Empire. Crete was given to the Regent of Egypt to administer in recognition of services provided to the Sultan during the Greek Revolution in Peloponnese.
The Egyptian administration lasted 10 years and it was a relatively quite period in comparison to the previous 10 years. This was primarily due to the Egyptian ruler’s long term plan to achieve permanent control of the island and did not want to give any cause to the Great Powers to interfere with the affairs of Crete during his administration period.
In 1833 there was an uprising but that was put down harshly and swiftly by the Egyptian troops that arrested and hung the leaders of the uprising. The war between the Regent of Egypt and the Sultan in Syria in 1840 and the defeat of the Egyptians put an end to the Egyptian administration of Crete. The Great Powers convened again and still being in favour of keeping the Ottoman Empire intact they signed a new “Treaty of London” in July 1840, ceding Crete from Egyptian control and bringing it again under direct Turkish control.
While that was happening a number of Cretan leaders who had been in exile in Greece, decided to return to Crete to organise a new uprising. Revolution was declared simultaneously in a number of places all over Crete on February 22, 1841. Unfortunately this uprising did not last long as Crete was not prepared for a long struggle. Greece was not in a position to help and the Great Powers were pressing for an end to the bloodshed. By April, many of the surviving rebels left the island for the safety of Greece and a long period in exile.
A number of other uprisings were to follow with the biggest one being the 1866 – 1869 revolt, during which Crete experienced one of the bloodiest and harshest periods of repression. The holocaust of the Monastery of Arkadi was to become a legend and an example of the type of sacrifices that Cretans were prepared to make in their struggle for freedom and for “Enosis”, union, with Greece.
Another Cretan uprising took place in 1897-1898 followed by more bloodshed and Ottoman atrocities in Chania in early 1898. Greece sends armed forces to the island, but the Great Powers turn against the Greek army and Cretan rebels. Yet, thanks to the heroic act of Spyros Kayales, who raised the Greek flag using his body as a pole, the Italian head of the Great Powers navy gives the order to stop bombarding Chania.
Now the Great Powers decide to give Crete autonomy, and on November 2 the last Turkish soldier left Cretan territory. Crete was placed under the protection of the Great Powers and only the Sultan’s high sovereignty. From 1898 to 1913 the Cretan State was founded, under Greek King George and a government of five Christians and a Muslim, as Muslims accounted for about 25% of Cretan population in 1900.
During that period, a dominant political force appeared, a young lawyer, Eleftherios Venizelos, who quickly came into conflict with King George. The “Revolution in Therissos” (March 10, 1905), organized by Venizelos, forced George to resign from his power in Crete. He was replaced by Greek politician Alexandros Zaimis. The main demand of the insurgents was the immediate union of Crete with Greece.
The victorious outcome of the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) for Greece, due to the insightful policy of Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos, has accelerated developments. On May 30, 1913, the Sultan of the Fellowship resigned all his rights to Crete by the Treaty of London (Article 4), and he withdrew from his Sovereignty on the island (November 1, 1913). Crete was free and its union with Greece was finally achieved.
Airbnb Hosts in Greece to Face Hefty Fines for Failure to Enroll in Registry
Hosts leasing out their properties through sharing economy platforms are now required by law to enroll in an electronic registry or face fines of up to 5,000 euros, according to a decision signed by George Pitsilis, the head of Greece’s Independent Authority for Public Revenue (AADE).
The law goes into effect on 1 January 2018 for all short-term leases through online platforms. Income earned in 2017, will be declared accumulatively in the income tax return forms of the year.
More specifically, Airbnb-style hosts, defined as “operators”, will be required to enter the AADE registry, submit a short-term residence declaration for each tenant, enroll in the short-term residential property data system, inform the Deposits and Loans Fund for income attributable to unknown beneficiaries as well as provide information on tenants and duration of stay. According to the decision, there can only be one operator per property.
Properties can be leased out for a total of 90 days per year in urban and popular tourist areas and for 50 days at smaller destinations. Hosts will be taxed at a progressive rate of 15-45 percent for each transaction to be submitted to authorities each quarter.
Violations facing penalties include failure to register in the Short Term Residence Registry, incorrect or unclear inclusion of registry number in online listings, not displaying the legal operation label in online listings.
Orizon Center for Life & Creation – Κέντρο Ζωής και Δημιουργίας, Orizon Center for Life & Creation at Akrimios, Chania
Mandala Painting Weekend Workshop “Circles of Joy” Weekend of 2nd and 3rd of December 2017, Orizon Center for Life and Creation
What is a Mandala? “Mandala” means “circle” and is a word in Sanscrit language. A mandala is an item or picture in the shape of a circle. Many ancient cultures were using forms of mandalas for rituals and contemplation. Mandalas and the technique of making or painting a mandala have a very beneficial influence on our wellbeing.
So, what will we do at this workshop? We will paint, and our inner child will smile and enjoy. You do not need to have any ‘talent’ or ‘skills’ in painting for this blissful experience. Sabine will provide the painting materials, and guide you (and your inner child) through a beautiful progress and experience of meditative creating. And, as this event is within the Christmas season, as a surplus you will find yourself within an enchanting Christmas atmosphere, taking you back to joyful memories of this beautiful season.
When, where, how long? This very special painting workshop will be held at the beautiful place of Orizion Center for Life and Creation on the weekend of 2nd and 3rd of December. On Saturday the 2nd, we will gather at Orizon at 10.30 a.m., and will stay until 7 or 8 p.m., and on Sunday the 3rd we start at 10.00 a.m. and end Sunday evening (the ending time is depending on the painting progress of all the group) with sharing of the painting experience and a little dancing and relaxing.
It is necessary to participate all the 2 days in full, in order to experience a beneficial process and support the group atmosphere. We would like to invite you to do take this “time out” for yourself in a relaxed manner, to give yourself and also the others acknowledgement and appreciation. In other words, be present and do not run nor rush, if any possible.
What must I bring? The material will be prepared and provided by Sabine. Just bring a smile ☺ – and if not available yet, you will sure develop a smile within the creative experience!
Booking and further information? Yes, please, as Sabine has to prepare the material for you! For further information and your reservation/booking of this workshop, please do contact Sabine, email@example.com or phone 694-2595207, or Ingrid-Margarita at Orizon, phone 697-4143598.
Lighthouses are modern monuments that highlight the position of Greece in world naval history. On the shores of Crete there are some masterpieces of lighthouse architecture, unfortunately abandoned by local government, fading out due to salt and sea.
The most important lighthouses of the island are the lighthouses of Aforesmenos (Saint John), Gavdos, Elafonisi, Cape Drapanos, Cape Sidero and the lighthouses in the Venetian harbours of Chania and Rethymnon.
The lighthouse at the old harbor of Chania is the most recognizable part of the city, posing at all travel books of Crete. The story of the lighthouse starts a long ago, although its present form dates back since the Egyptian Occupation of Crete (in the early 19th century).
The Venetians, under the threat of the Turks, in the late 16th century, started fortifying all towns throughout Crete. In the period 1595-1601 they made great interventions at the port of Chania. At the center of the breakwater, they built the bastion of St. Nicholas, which together with the fortress of Firkas, could protect the harbor entrance. At that time they also built the lighthouse.
The current lighthouse tower is mounted on a trapezoidal base which holds since the Venetian Era. During the Turkish Occupation, the harbour of Chania and the lighthouse were neglected and abandoned. In 1839, the Egyptians restored the lighthouse as we see today. Today’s tower stands at 21m height and is visible within 7 miles.
Metsovo: Lakes, Ski Resorts and Bears
Metsovo is a renowned mountainside town straddling the Pindus mountain range where Epirus converges with western Macedonia and Thessaly.
Standing at an altitude of 1,156 metres and overlooking a steep valley below, it ranks as one of the pre-eminent winter and alpine destinations in Greece.
Built like an amphitheatre; its tile roofs and wooden porches stretch out across the slope, and its grand mansions nestle in between beech and fir trees.
Metsovite travellers and traders became prosperous, particularly in the Danubian principalities and Russia, then brought the benefits of their wealth back to their homeland by constructing public buildings, bridges, churches and schools.
Metsovo; in essence a market town, became a cultural and commercial hub for merchants and traders from East and West.
Of its benefactors, particularly noteworthy is the Tositsa Foundation, and Evangelos Averoff, who were the driving force behind the economic boom and an influx of tourism in 1970.
A bit further up, at an altitude of 1,400m, is the Politses ski resort. It may be small, but it offers all the necessary facilities for amateur skiers.
About 20 km north-west of Metsovo, is the magnificent artificial lake at the source of the Aoös River.
In the winter, the blue water sinks into the white landscape and in the summer it’s draped in the foliage of the dense riparian forest.
The beech forest gives way to a forest of firs to the north of the lake, the boundary of the Pindus National Park and the renowned Valia- Kalda.
Dear Friends and Supporters. After 12 Years of working on our Album we are pleased to invite you to our Album and Video Release Party at Megalo O in Chania Crete. In the last weeks we worked hard on our Video for Eclipse and we hope you find time to celebrate the birth of it together with us in ΜΕΓΑΛο Ο – MEGALo O
Swedish Film “Ravens” Wins Top Prize in Thessaloniki Film Festival
Thessaloniki has just wrapped up its 58th International Film Festival and this year’s celebration was again filled with stellar selections from the works of new and first-time directors around the world.
“Ravens” directed by Jens Assur won the Golden Alexander, the competition’s top award. Although the Swedish director couldn’t make it to Greece to pick up his prize, he certainly made his presence felt with his debut film.
“Ravens” centers on Agne; a farmer who is trying to save his farm for his son, but his son has other plans. Reine Brynolfsson; who plays the father, won the Best Actor award.
Hlynur Pálmason took away the Bronze Alexander, the Special Jury Award for Best Director for “Winter Brothers”. It’s the tale of John and Emil; two radically different brothers who work in a limestone factory in a small Danish village.
In “Lucky”, Harry Dean Stanton plays a 90-year-old man who’s trying to come to terms with his mortality. The late, celebrated character actor won the Festival’s special mention. The movie also won the Audience Award.
“Lucky” was the iconic star’s last role and one written specifically with Stanton in mind, according to the film’s director, John Carroll Lynch.
“Any award for this film should be dedicated to both Harry Dean Stanton and the writers of the film,” the director said. “It is a beautiful screenplay inspired by him. It is really a great combination and a great honour and seems audiences all over the world respond to it.”
The 58th Thessaloniki International Film Festival was a huge success again; as it has been since it adopted its international character 25 years ago. This year, more than 80.000 spectators, visitors and film critics attended screenings and parallel events.
The International Jury of the 58th Thessaloniki International Film Festival comprised of:
Chrysokamino is located near the Cave Theriospilios in the area of Kavousi, Ierapetra province. At the site that locals called Golden Oven (chrysokamino), because they frequently found copper pieces, in 1900 the archaeologist H. Boyd spotted a metallurgy workshop that operated from 4500-3500 BC to the Minoan Era. The most important study and excavations since then took place after 1995.
The site was only used for firing copper minerals imported from other regions of the Aegean (possibly Kythnos island or Lavrio near Athens). Other operations, such as cleaning of the mineral before firing or melting the produced copper took place somewhere else. The place was abandoned after 1400 BC.
Chrysokamino is actually the only copper foundry site found in the Preminoan Crete and one of the few met in the Aegean. The point is considered ideal for a copper furnace copper, as due to the strong wind, the coals were heated continuously at high temperature and fumes were removed.
The Minoan Kydonia was built at the current location of the old town of Chania. Kydonia was the third largest town of Minoan Crete. Here developed a thriving craft industry and the town became rich through sea trade, which was favored by its position. Indeed, the ancient writers mention Kydonia as the mother of the Cretan towns.
According to one version, the name comes from Kydon, the mythical son of Minos and the nymph Akakkalida. According to a second, it comes from an old name of Crete (Chthonia).
Most traces have been identified on the Kastelli hill above the old Venetian port. There have also been found plates of Linear A and Linear B. The rest traces, like the palace of Kydonia are located below the modern city of Chania and have not been excavated.
The city continued its course till today, getting elements from all periods of the island. Up to now excavations have revealed Minoan tombs, Mycenaean buildings, small palaces with frescoes, several vases, Roman statues, Hellenistic mosaics, etc.
The Palace of Galatas is located 30km south of Heraklion, near Arkalochori, at an elevated position with views to south Crete and close to the Minoan sacred cave of Arkalochori.
The palace of 4 acres and the surrounding city was excavated in 1992-1997 by archaeologist George Rethymiotakis. The palace was built with some Mycenaean characteristics (eg a central hearth surrounded by pillars). A large number of tools for food preparation was also found.
The palace was being built around 1700 BC, flourished in 1650 BC and in 1500 BC it started declining, till its final abandonment. Excavations have not been completed and the archaeological site is not visited.
The archaeological site of Ancient Tylisos is located 16km west of Heraklion, in a strategic location. Tylissos was a Minoan city that was flourished in 1650-1450 mainly because it was amid the road that led from Knossos to the west Minoan centers and Ida Mount. In 1450 it was destroyed, but was rebuilt and prospered until 1200.
Tylisos has three small palaces (mansions) that have been named Building A, B and C. Their architecture is one of the most impressive in Minoan Crete, matching that of other major palaces. The most well-preserved mansion is Building A that had two floors with a central courtyard, apartments and warehouses with jars. The Mansion B contained very old ruins, while the mansion C housed a central chamber and system for water supply and sanitation.
The excavations at Tylisos began in 1912 by Joseph Hatzidakis, after the accidental discovery of three large bronze cauldrons – boilers. Later, in 1940, Nikolaos Platon carried out extended restoration and maintenance works.
Due to the discovery of the boilers and one impressive bronze figurine of outmost art, Tylisos is believed that was a great center of bronze. Moreover, in Tylisos the archaeologists found several plaques and jars inscribed with Linear A, which is the “language of the palaces”, as it has been detected only in palaces and luxurious Minoan mansions. Other impressive items that were found are the miniature paintings, which are compared in fine art only with those of Knossos. Moreover, many tombs have been found in the area (many of them already plundered) dating back in 1400-1200BC with painted clay sarcophagi, jewelry, stamps, etc.
Zakros is located in a remote area of eastern Crete, 45km southeast of Sitia. Communication with the Mid East was faster from here during the Minoan Age, thus the Minoans built here the administrative center of Eastern Crete, with an important port. The findings are very rich (sheets of gold, ivory, jewelry, pottery, etc.) and prove the close relationship of the city with the ports of Cyprus, Egypt and the Middle East.
The Palace of Zakros was built at the outlet of the imposing Gorge of the Deads and is the fourth largest Minoan palace that has been excavated. The region is full with archaeological treasures, and even the name of the gorge of the Deads is taken after the preminoan graves found on its sides. The site is visitable, although most findings are kept in museums of Heraklion, Sitia and Agios Nikolaos.
The palace covers an area of 4.5 acres, while the surrounding settlements covered a total area of 8 acres. The excavations started in 1900 by the British School of Archaeology and continued till 1940, bringing to light many Minoan houses and objects. But he who first discovered the palace in 1961 was Nikolaos Platon, after seeing three golden objects from Zakros from the collection of a doctor. The palace at Zakros is one of the most important archaeological discoveries, considering that it is the only Minoan palace not looted and found with its treasury vault intact!
The palace, like the rest palaces in Crete, was built in 1900BC, destroyed in 1600BC and re-destroyed in 1450BC. Heart of the palace was a large central courtyard, from where a paved road to the port started. Around the courtyard you can still see the remains of the kitchens, the workshops, the warehouses, the treasury vault, the file room, a lustral basin, skylights, a banquet room, the royal apartments and a large pool-like fountain. Around the palace there were houses with many rooms, probably auxiliary to the palace.
In the region of Zakros someone will see a large number of wells with fresh water. Somehow, in the wells located within the site (and only in them!) many turtles leave. German scientists study this strange phenomenon and believe that their existence in Zakros dates back to the Minoan era. Moreover, north of Zakros, near the cave Pelekita, you will see the quarry form which the materials of the palace were extracted.
Minoan Palace in Arhanes
The palace of Archanes is located in the suburb Tourkogitonia of Archanes town. It came to light only in 1964 by Giannis Sakellarakis because, by then, only a few traces of the palace had been found. Some parts of the palace are still below the houses of modern Arhanes.
The palace was equally rich and powerful with the palace of Knossos and seems to have had strong relations of dependence. The purpose of the palace and the Minoan town of Archanes, which occupied as much land as the modern town, was to control the rich mainland and to coordinate the many religious centers of the region (Anemospilia sanctuary, Giouchtas mount, necropolis in Fourni).
The palace complex followed a similar history to that of the other palaces of Minoan Crete: gets built in 1900BC, in 1700BC gets damaged by an earthquake, it is rebuilt but re-destroyed in 1600BC, gets rebuilt and finally gets destroyed in 1450BC. After the disaster of 1450, the city flourished again under Mycenaean rulers till 1200BC.
In Tourkogitonia, to date, the main core of the palace has been identified, as well as the theater, the File Room (where plaques with inscriptions with Linear A), sanctuaries, an imposing entrance, compartments, tanks, hydraulic system, etc. The palace had probably two floors and the walls were decorated with frescoes. Inside the palace, hundreds of objects and ritual vessels were found, such as figurines, portable altars, decorated jars, vases and cups, seals made of steatite, human heads made of ivory and … flower pots!
The archaeological site of Malia is located 3km east of Malia, next to the wetland of the area and very close to the beach. It was an important Minoan city and housed the third largest Minoan palace, after Knossos and Phaestus. According to mythology, Sarpedon reigned here, who was brother of Minos and son of Zeus and Europa. Sarpedon was expelled by his brother Minos and then took refuge in Lycia in Asia Minor.
Till 1880, the existence of the city was totally unknown when the land owner of the Chrysolakkos area discovered a few sheets of gold a few meters west of the palace. This gave rise for the excavations in the wider area by gold diggers. In 1915 Joseph Hatzidakis started excavations in the harbor, while in 1921 the French Archaeological School continued the works in Chrysolakkos, where they found one gold jewel depicting bees, which is considered the most important finding of Malia.
The city’s name is not known, although it is probable that it was either Tarmaros or Milatos. The city minted its own coins depicting, on both sides, the goddess Athena and two dolphins. Moreover, the town covered an area of 1 square km, with neighborhoods built sparsely around the palace. The first palace was built around 1900BC occupying an area 8800sq.m., but it later destroyed in 1700BC. The palace had two floors with a central courtyard with a rectangular shape and four wings. The most important part was its west side. There were warehouses with many pots and jars, royal rooms, workshops, a weapons room (where the famous royal scepter was found) and altars. The palace was destroyed again in 1450BC, either by an earthquake or by attack.
At position Gaidourofas, at an altitude of 900 meters, near Anatoli village the archaelogists have revealed the traces of an imposing postminoan villa (1600 BC -1450 BC). The building had two floors and the walls are preserved to a height of 2m. There were found big jars and a crypt with pillars (Minoan sanctuary). Among the most important finds was a bronze ax.
The site was detected by sir Arthur Evans (the archaeologist of Minos Palace) in 1898, but the first systematic excavations started in 2012. The mansion is believed to have served as the administrative center of the region. It is reminiscent of Zominthos mansion, which served as the administrative coordinating center of the mountainous production of Psiloritis Range. From Gaidourofas, the Minoans apparently coordinated the production of livestock products, honey, resin and wood of South Dikti Range.
Phaestus (Phestos or Festos) was a Minoan city on Crete, the ruins of which are located 55km south of Heraklion. The city was already inhabited since 6000BC and prospered concurrently with the city of Knossos, till the 1st century BC.
Phaestus is famous for its Minoan palace, which is a visitable archaeological site and receives thousands of visitors every year. The palace of Phaestus was built on a low hill in the plain of Messara, with panoramic views to the surrounding area. It is the second largest after Knossos and occupies an area of 18 acres.
The palace of Phaestus was built in about 2000BC, according to the legend, by Minos. The palace’s king was the brother of Minos, the mythical Rhadamanthys. Rhadamanthys was second son of Zeus and Europe and was known for his righteousness. Indeed, he is considered the writer of the Cretan Code, the first standards of Justice, which was later adopted by the Spartans. Due to his fairness, after his death, he was assigned as a judge in Hades (like his brother Minos).
The palace was destroyed in about 1700BC by an earthquake, but was restored immediately. Then Phaestus declined and the neighboring settlement of Agia Triada flourished, the archaeological site of which you can visit today. Phaestus remained the most important religious center of southern Crete. After the destruction of 1450BC (possibly due to an earthquake), Phaestus recovered and created its own currency. This new bloom lasted till the first century BC, when it was destroyed by the neighboring Gortys, which then became the new capital of Crete.
The buildings a visitor sees today are in Phaestus date back in 1700-4150BC and, unlike Knossos, have not been restored. The excavations started in 1900 by the Italian Archaeological School under the guidance of Federico Halbherr and Luigi Pernier, while in 1950-71 they were carried out by Doro Levi.
A SHORT TOUR
The entrance to the palace starts from the paved north-western court (1). From there, a staircase leads to the west terrace (4) with the small theater and the tripartite sanctuary (3). Another grand staircase leads to the central courtyard and the western storehouses (6). On the opposite side, you will see the ruins of the altar and the entrance to the royal rooms. On the south side of the court lies the Neolithic kiln and the Temple of Rhea (7). To the east (8) lies the palace of the Prince and beyond that you will meet the mining furnace. The north palace housed an isolated building, called Archive (9), where the famous Phaestus Disc was found. The disc is made of clay and both its sides are engraved with 241 symbols in a spiral direction that has not yet been read by the archaeologists. Next to the Archive, you will see the apartments of the Queen and the King (9), and the reservoir basin.
Crete is the birthplace of the first European civilization, the Minoan, which flourished between 3000 BC and 1200 BC mainly in Central and Eastern Crete. Even today, the majestic palaces of Knossos, Phaestus, Malia, Zakros, Tylissos, Arhanes, Monastiraki, Galatas, Kydonia and the luxurious mansions at Agia Triada, Zominthos, Amnisos, Makrigialos, Vathipetro and Nerokouros reflect the splendor of the Minoan civilization through architectural, pottery, jewelry and painting masterpieces.
The Minoan fleet, the strongest of its era, as evidenced by several findings in the Mediterranean, brought wealth to Crete from the trade of the famous Cretan cypress and agricultural products. Built in large yards, such as the shipyard of Saint Theodori at Vathianos Kambos, ships were loaded with timber, honey, wine, pottery and olive oil from the ports of Dia, Katsambas, Komos, Zakros, Psira, Mochlos, Niros, Petras, sailing towards all directions of the Mediterranean as far as Scandinavia.
Women were equal to men and took part in all religious ceremonies, in sports, hunting, theater, dance, etc. Masterpieces of building architecture, painting, sculpture and goldsmithing continue to inspire even modern civilization. Linear A and Liner B Scripts remind of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, but they were original Greek scripts. Even today, the Disc of Phaestus is one of the most famous mysteries of archeology and deciphering of its symbols remains a riddle.
The worship of deities such as the Mother Goddess of fertility, the Mistress of the Animals, protector of cities, the household, the harvest, and the underworld dominated the religious tradition of the Minoans, who used many caves and mountain peaks as places of worship. Pilgrims from all over the island ascended to the peak sanctuaries of Youchtas and the cave of Hosto Nero to offer their votives, such as Minoan inscriptions or clay idols. Peak sanctuaries were also hosted atop summits Vrysinas, Petsofas, Traostalos, Zhou, Karfi, etc. The Diktaean, Idaean and Kamares Caves also played a prominent role in the worship of gods.
Minos Palace in Knossos
Knossos was the most important city on Crete before the Roman Era and the center of the first brilliant European civilization, the Minoan. The palace of the city is the most visited archaeological site in Crete with more than 1.000.000 visitors per year. The palace is located just 5km south of Heraklion, atop hill Kefala next to the banks of Knosano Gorge. It can be accessed via Knossos Avenue, which connects Heraklion with Skalani village. Apart from the palace itself, the area is full with several more archaeological finds, which makes sense considering that Knossos was a town with more than 100,000 people.
Magazines and pots
The palace was the seat of the legendary King Minos and has been associated with famous Greek myths, like that of Daedalus and Icarus, the Labyrinth and the Minotaur. Minos was not a person, but a series of kings with the same name (as we say Pharaoh in Egypt). He was deified and he was thought to be the son of Europa and Zeus, as described in the story of the Rape of Europe.
The palace of Minos was the heart of the city of Knossos, with constant presence in the historical events of Crete from the Neolithic era till the early Byzantine era. The first excavations at Knossos were made by the Cretan archaeologist Minos Kalokerinos in 1878, who found many old storage pots and other objects.
Tavrokathapsia ceremony in frescoe
However his work stopped shortly due to the Cretan – Turkish wars and was later continued by the Englishman Arthur Evans. The work of Evans started in 1900 and was completed in 1930, with the end of his restorations. Evans has received harsh criticism because of the large-scale restoration works in the palace using cement. However, one can discern that the perception of the palace today would not be so good, if all buildings were kept torn down, as found by Evans.
The earliest traces of habitation date back to the Neolithic period (7th-4th millennium BC). Later, the place was inhabited till 1900BC when the old buildings were demolished to give room for building a bigger palace. The new palace occupied area of 22 acres and appears to have been destroyed by an earthquake in 1700BC. On the site of the old palace, the most magnificent Minoan palace ever was built. In 1600BC an earthquake caused severe damages, which were repaired very quickly with the addition of several new buildings. This specific palace version is the main palace we see today in the archaeological site of Knossos. In 1450BC the palace suffered a devastating damage caused either by an earthquake or a tsunami caused by the eruption of Santorini volcano. Later, when the Achaeans arrived in Crete (1350BC) the palace was flattened forever. However, the city of Knossos continued its history till the 500BC.
Knossos remained the most powerful city on Crete for several centuries after the destruction of Minos Palace. It competed several other Cretan cities, like Gortys (the next capital of Crete during the Roman times) and Lyttos. In 221-219AD Knossos campaigned against Lyttos and flattened it, while its men were missing in another campaign. However, Gortys gradually increased its power and became the new capital of Crete.
The coins of Knossos, which you can see in Heraklion Archaeological Museum, depict the Minotaur, the Labyrinth, ancient gods, etc. Symbol of Knossos was labrys (double ax), while the double bull horns were the symbols of Minoan religion.
A SHORT TOUR
The palace of Knossos is archaeological site can be accessed by bus from the center of Heraklion. On the west side, just after the entrance of the site, you will see the halls of the ceremonies, the storage rooms and the great throne room. On the opposite side, there are the royal rooms, while the north side housed the rooms of the artisans of Knossos. You will see frescoes, pots, objects, etc., throughout the palace, replicas of the real which are exhibited in the museum of Heraklion.
1. West Court. 2. West Gate. (Entrance) 3. Corridor of the Procession. 4. Propylaea. 5. Staircase. 6. Storage Rooms Corridor. 7. Warehouses. 8. Sanctuary. 9. Throne Room. 10. Lustral basin. 11. Open Air Theatre. 12. North Entrance. 13. Central Court. 14. Pot Storehouses. 15. East Bastion 16. Double axe room. 17. Queen Apartment. 18. Grand Staircase. 19. Small Sanctuary with double axes. 20. South Entrance. 21. Draughtboard corridor. 22. Workshops. 23, 24. Customs Office. 25. Paved Road.
The entrance to the palace is on the west court (1) with the west Entrance (2) leading to the processional aisle. Here you will see a copy of the procession fresco found in this area and the south Propylaeum (4) with the dual bull horns. The horns are a symbol of Minoan religion, and therefore are met in many places in the palace.
Throne roomFrom there, two staircases lead to the central courtyard (13) or on the top floor of the Nobles. From the central courtyard, you will see the Throne Room (9). Inside the hall of the throne room, you will see a wooden replica of the throne, while a staircase leads to rooms of ceremonies. In the throne room you will see the stone throne of King Minos. King Minos was linked with justice, thus the main chair of the Hague International Court of Justice is a replica of this throne in Knossos.
In the hall the procession, you will see a copy of the mural of Prince with the lilies, now exhibited in Heraklion Museum. On the west, you will find the eighteen storehouses of the palace (7), built perpendicular to the corridor of the warehouses (6) and the giant store pots.
Queen’s Room and the Dolphins’ frescoeEast of the Great Court, there is the Grand staircase (18) leading to the Royal Rooms. Eastward, you will see the Hall of Double Axes (16) and a corridor leading to the Queen’s Room with its magnificent fresco of dolphins. Further north there are the royal warehouses and the corridor of draughtboard (21), a kind of chess that was found in this position and is presented today at the Museum of Heraklion.
Another corridor, the North (21), runs parallel to the corridor draughtboard and leads out of the palace. You will see the first building that someone first saw when arrived in Knossos, called Customs Office (24), the lustral basin (10) and the Theatre (11). From the theater starts a paved road (25) leading to the Small Palace of Knossos, while south of the warehouses there were several workshops (22).
The necropolis of Armeni is situated 9km south of the town of Rethymnon, on the main road which leads to the south coast of Crete. The greatest Late Minoan III A-B (c. 1400-1200 BC) cemetery was discovered on a shallow hill called Prinokefalo, which means “hild of the wild oaks”.
Systematic excavations started in 1969 and 231, including one tholos, have been uncovered up to 2012. The main characteristic of the Armeni necropolis is that initially there was an overall plan for the cemetery, which included special areas designated for the wealthy timbs and the poor ones. However, this plan was abandoned during the Late Minoan III B Period (1300-1200 BC) and resulted in a mixture of large and small tombs throughout the cemetery.
All the tombs were dug into the rock, and each consists of a corridor and a chamber. The corridor is composed either of a staircase or a ramp. The wealthier tombs possessed tombstones of different sizes.
Each tomb would probably represent a family group. According to the osteological (bone) analysis the average age at death for the adult males and females was approximately 31 and 28 years, respectively. Most of the female deaths occurred between the ages of 20 and 25, probably a result of the dangers associated with childbirth. The chemical analysis of bones showed that the people buried at Armeni had no marine food in their diets, but in general they ate a fair amount of animal protein and plants. They suffered from a range of infectious and nutritional / metabolic diseases, as well as from dental caries.
The main finds in the tombs were clay larnakes, fine decorated pottery, bronze arms, utensils and ornaments, as well as sealstones and necklaces from semiprecious stones. Among the most important finds are a boars’ tusk helmet, a basket made of reeds and decorated with small bronze pins, a steatite pendant with a Linear A and a stirrup jar with a Linear B inscription (mentioning the name wi-na-jo).
“The class explores the history of cheese making and learns how to make rennet, vinegar and plant juice based cheese curds and re-create an ancient Greek goat and sheep cheese recipe.
It is then taken through the many aspects involved in creating different types of period breads- from making sourdough to kneading and from baking to using the bread as an ingredient in various dishes- using archaeological data, period cookbooks and other primary sources. The breads are baked on hot stones, in ash, in a replica of a 5th century pnigeus (portable earthenware oven), on a replica of a Byzantine portable grill and in the heat of a traditional wood fired oven.”
State TV Receives 16 Entries for Upcoming Eurovision Song Contest
The Greek state broadcaster sent out an invite to national record companies in order to submit a proposal with potential candidates for the 2018 Greek Eurovision national final.
The key requirement is that the song has to be entirely in Greek with Greek ethno influence and sound.
The deadline for record companies concluded on October 27 and ERT has confirmed it has received a total of 16 entries from 13 different local record companies for the national final (3 record companies have submitted 2 entries each).
Now a special committee will evaluate all submitted entries and whittle them down to a yet to be determined number of songs which will fight for the golden ticket to Lisbon at the 2018 Greek Eurovision national final.
Among the candidates who have submitted an entry for the Greek Eurovision final are Areti Ketimé, Stereo Soul, Panayiotis Tsakalakos, Vasiliki Stefanou, Xristina Salti, Dimitris Kiklis, Yiannis Moraitis, Chorostalites and Duo Fina.
The official list of competing candidates at the 2018 Greek Eurovision national final will be announced after the special jury has made its deliberation.
The state broadcaster is expected to disclose the names of the lucky hopefuls by late November.
Greece debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with Marinella and won the event in 2005 with Helena Paparizou‘s My number one, thus bringing the contest for the very first time on Greek soil in 2006.
Greece has been one of the most successful countries in the competition in recent years having not missed a single Grand Final, with the exception of 2016 when it didn’t qualify to the Grand Final in Stockholm.
Olympic Torch Handed Over to Pyoengchang for Winter Games
The Olympic torch was formally handed over from Greece to Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games organizers on Tuesday, in a simple ceremony.
Under overcast skies at the Panathenaic Stadium that hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896, the torch was presented to South Korean President of the Pyeongchang 2018 Organizing Committee Lee Hee Beom, by the president of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Spyros Capralos. Attending the handover ceremony was Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
“We are honoured that the Pyeongchang Winter Games represents the second time the Olympic Flame will be in South Korea, since the 1988 Seoul summer Olympic Games”.
“The slogan of the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Torch Relay, ‘Let Everyone Shine,’ means the Olympic flame will shine for each and everyone’s dream, passions and future anytime and anywhere,” Lee said.
He said when the Olympic flame arrives in South Korea ‘we also celebrate another milestone – 100 days to go until the start of the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang’.
“The Olympic Torch Relay will be a very special journey that will shine throughout the host nation, for dreams and passion toward winter sports in Asia and beyond,” Lee added.
“The Olympic Flame is a strong symbol of tradition and values governing the Olympic Movement. It is a beacon for the Olympic values. It is the symbol of universal peace,” Capralos said.
The second to last torchbearer, Kim Ki-hoon, South Korean Olympic champion in short track speed skating, passed the flame to the last torchbearer, Greek skiing champion Ioannis Proios, who lit the cauldron, while thousands of spectators cheered.
The Olympic flame was lit in Ancient Olympia last week and embarked on a week-long 2,129 kilometres journey throughout Greece ending at Panathenaic (Kallimarmaro) Stadium.
Participating were 505 torchbearers, and 36 welcome ceremonies were held in 20 Greek municipalities during the eight days.
From Greece the flame will be flown to South Korea for a relay around the Asian country until the opening ceremonies at Pyeongchang on February 9. They will be held from February 9-25; only 80km from the heavily guarded border of the nuclear-armed North.
European Team Chess Championship Kicks-off in Hersonissos, Crete
The European Team Chess Championship 2017 has opened in the Creta Maris beach resort, in Hersonissos, Crete and will be held from the 27th October to the 7th November.
Forty teams will compete in Open section and 32 teams in Women’s section. Top seeds in both sections are the teams from Russia who will try to defend their titles as European Team Champions from 2015.
The total number of players is 198 in Open section, among whom are 138 Grandmasters and 35 IMs, which is making the event one of the strongest ever.
The Championship will be played according to the Swiss system in 9 rounds, with time control 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game + 30 second increment for every move played, starting from the move one.
According to ECU and FIDE rules, the time control will be 90 minutes for 40 moves + 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30 seconds increment for every move played starting from move one. The total prize fund of the event is €20.00.
The organizers have provided plenty parallel activities during the Championship, such as excursions on the free day to Knossos – Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos – Spinaloga.
The International Open Chess Tournament which will be held in the same playing venue and played as a 9-round Swiss tournament, from October 28th to November 5th.
In an attempt to put a permanent end to illegal building and construction in Greece and also to increase the state’s income during these hard times the government passed a law allowing the declaration of illegal buildings and their “legalization” for the next 30 years for a fine. There has been a lot of interest in how and who should submit their property for “legalization”. I have tried to put together some information related to the process and hope this comes in useful. I would be happy to answer any further queries related to the implementation of this law.
What can be legalized according to this law?
• New buildings or extensions to existing buildings that were built without a building permit. • Buildings that exceed the dimensions of the permit they were built to. The excess can be either or both in footprint or in height. • Buildings that have been placed in the plot in ways not permitted or in different positions than shown in the building permit, or at distances from the boundaries, roads or neighbors that are less than allowed. • Swimming pools that do not have a building permit. • Balconies or roofed terraces that were closed off into living spaces • Basement storage spaces converted into apartments. • Closed parking spaces converted into apartments. • Mezzanines and attics that were not originally in the building permit. • Any kind of space that was not originally part of the allowance and has now been converted into a living space. • Pergolas, BBQs or other open structures or built elements such as boundary walls on rooftops or in courtyards that are not shown on the building permit. • Pergolas on roof tops that are legal but have been closed off to form apartments. Under certain conditions it is also possible to legalize buildings built on land that does not comply with the minimum restrictions of size or distance from roads etc. or was falsely shown larger than it really is in order to get a building permit.
What cannot be legalized according to this new law?
• Buildings or structures built on public municipal or state property. • Buildings that have been built on or too close to roads or streets and therefore pose a safety hazard to transport. • Buildings on forestry land, beaches, or too close to sea lines, or riverbeds. • Buildings within protected areas ie. Archaeological sites, historical sites, traditional UNESCO villages, NATURA areas, national parks etc. • Listed buildings. • Buildings that fall under extremely rare conditions that would be beyond the scope of this article to explain in detail.
• As of the 1st of January 2012 it is impossible to sell, buy, rent or mortgage a property that is in any way illegal and has not been submitted to this process. In order for this to be implemented it has now become compulsory to include in any property related transaction a certificate of legality issued by certified architects or engineers. In the case of false declarations both property owners and architects are liable to big fines. • The value of a declared illegal structure will increase since it can be treated as any other legal structure and can be included in contracts and other documentation. • The cost of legalization with this law is significantly lower than it was previously and the procedure does not incur an annual fee for retaining an illegal structure as it would with previous legislation. • Connection with mains electricity and water is made possible where this was not possible due to the illegal nature of the building. • The procedure is handled by appointed architects or engineers and is submitted digitally through the Technical Chamber and is therefore simple, straight forward and relatively fast. • There is a 20% reduction on the fine if paid in full within eight months of submission or the option of paying in 8 installments over the course of 24 months.
What is the procedure? The five steps of submission.
1. The owner appoints a certified architect or engineer who visits and assesses the property, collects all necessary documentation*, completes the application form and estimates the fine. 2. Following acceptance of the fine by the owner the appointed architect submits the application digitally and gets a unique application code and an invoice for the payment of the application fee, as well as an approved initial fine depending on the chosen method of payment. 3. The owner pays the application fee directly to a bank of his choice and the payment is automatically registered with the system. Following this stage a code is supplied to the owner who can follow the procedure and make all subsequent payments when due. 4. Final drawings are made and full documentation is prepared and submitted by the architect to the Technical Chamber on completion of its relevant system which is estimated to be sometime in late March 2012. At this point a final fine is calculated and installments and payments are finalized. 5. On approval by the Technical Chamber of the completed submission a certificate of submission is issued for the property that is necessary for any legal transaction related to the property.
How much will the application cost and how big is the fine? • The application fee is 500 euros for a structure up to 50 sq. meters, 1000 euros for 50 – 100 sq. meters and it goes up from there. • The architects or engineer’s fees as recommended by the Technical Chamber are 1540 euros plus VAT. Depending on the complicity of each case this is negotiable. • The fine depends on the nature and size of the property as well as the set tax value of the area the property is in. I hope this is useful. I would be happy to answer any queries and to calculate basic fines for whoever is interested, without any further commitment.
The Monastery of St. George Apanosifis or Epanosifis is located about 30km south of Heraklion, near Metaxohori village. It is the largest male monastery in Crete (in monk number). The spiritual and social contribution of the monastery during the difficult years of Turkish occupation was invaluable.
The monastery was built at the end of the Venetian Era and it immediately gained fame. According to a written testimony, the monastery was founded by a monk of the monastery Apezana, who once started hiking to the monastery of Agarathos. During the course, he stayed overnight in the Church of St. George in the fief of the family Lagouvardos. He saw a dream with Saint George ,asking him to build the monastery at this position. However, Lagouvardos refused but he was convinced after being punished by the Saint. Lagouvardos paid for the construction of Epanosifis monastery.
The monastery of Epanosifis has many dependencies, such as the ruined monastery of Aistratigos northwest of the monastery, the monastery of St. Anthony, of Xera Xyla near Neapolis and several chapels.
In the monastery there are now precious heirlooms, gospels, carved crosses, a silver chalice of 1842, the icon of Saint George monastery of Xera Xyla and relics of 21 Saints. The monastery also houses a Higher Ecclesiastical School, in a building that was formerly an orphanage. Lastly, the church of St George celebrates on April 23 and November 3.
1590-1600: A monk of the monastery Apezana, named Paisios, founds the monastery of Epanosifi in the fief of Langouvardos.
1697: A Turkish man is found murdered outside the monastery and his family suspects the monks of the monastery.
1718: Matthew Thalassinos, later Bishop of Arcadia (1763), becomes a monk at the monastery.
1758: The monastery acquires the monastery of Virgin Mary in Venerato and starts its restoration.
1821: The Turks kill 18 monks, while the rest ones leave to Sfakia. Manolis Tombazis takes many relics from the monasteries and transfers them to Hydra, where he sells them so as to buy weapons for the Cretan revolutions.
1821: The monk Neophytos from Aydin comes to the monastery and reconstructs the buildings.
1855: The abbot Gregory is elected as bishop of Arcadia and is established in the monastery till 1877.
1856: A strong earthquake levels the church of St. George and the left arm of St. George is lost.
1861-63: The church is restored.
1866: During the 1866 revolution, the monks join the rebels and the elderly ones leave the monastery, transfering the relics of the monastery to Apezana monastery. The Turks destroy and plunder Epanosifis.
1872: The monastery covers all the costs of Heraklion county schools.
1896: The monks take part in the Battle of Archanes.
1941-44: The monks take part in the Battle of Crete. The abbey is converted into a hospital and many families shelter in the monastery. The Germans, in retaliation, loot the monastery several times.
1968: A new complex of monk cells is built
1982: The statue of Eugene, the first archbishop of Crete, who was a monk of the monastery is built
The fortified monastery of Agarathos is located 23km east of Heraklion in a wooded location at an altitude of 538m near Episkopi. The monastery, especially during the Venetian Era, was one of the richest in Crete owning several other monasteries in Heraklion and Lassithi prefectures. It is considered the first in the hierarchy of the monasteries of the island.
The name is taken after the plant Jerusalem Sage (Phlomis fruticosa), named agarathia in Cretan dialect. According to the tradition, below such a plant a monk found once the icon of Panagia (Virgin Mary) and he later built the church of Panagia on the same site. In front of the church you will see a pomegranate tree with a candle near its trunk. The pomegranate is said to be the initial plant of agarathia, which was turned miraculously to a tree.
The male Agarathos monastery is one of the oldest in Crete and we do not know the exact date of its establishment. During the Venetian Era, it was a very rich monastery, with most of its monks coming from Cythera Island (near Peloponnese).
Many great personalities have connected their names with Agarathos. Among them is Meletius Pigas (later Patriarch of Alexandria), Cyril Loukaris (later Ecumenical Patriarch), Yerasimos Paleokapas (bishop of Crete) and the scholar Joseph Vryennios. In the Ottoman period, Agarathos played an important role in the revolutionary movements against the Turks.
The church of the monastery is double-aisled, with one aisle dedicated to the Assumption (celebr. 15 August) and the other to Saint Menas (celebr. 11 November). There is a very old icon of the Virgin Mary. Visitors of the monastery can be hosted in the guesthouse and the dining room of the monastery and admire the library with the old manuscripts. Outside the monastery, there is the old church of St. Raphael.
1504: The sons of Matthew Kalergis, to whom the monastery belonged, grant Agarathos to the monk Nifon Notaras. Nifon turns the deserted monastery to a very rich coenobitic one, thus he is actually considered the founder of Agarathos.
1532: Agarathos is referred in a manuscript stored in the National Library of St Mark’s in Venice.
1566: The ex-abbot of Agarathos, Silvestros, becomes Patriarch of Alexandria till 1590.
1583: The abbot Neophytos Patellaros curses the residents of the nearby village Founarous, as they caused major damage to the properties of the monastery. It is said that a boulder was then torn in two and flames came out. Since then the village is deserted.
1590: The former abbot Meletios Pigas becomes Patriarch of Alexandria till 1601, replacing Silvestros after his death.
1612: The former abbot of the monastery Cyril Loukaris becomes Patriarch of Constantinople till 1638, with some intermediate pauses.
1646: The abbot Athanasios Christoforos participates in the struggle of the Venetians and Cretans against the Turks. The Turkish Pasha Ahmet Kioproulis decides to destroy the monastery, but his friend bishop Neophytos Patelaris intervenes and changes Kioproulis’ mind. Athanasios leaves to Italy, taking several valuable objects with him.
1821: The monks of the monastery together with the Bishop of Hersonissos help at the preparations of the Revolution. The Turks occupy the monastery and set fire, slaughtering those monks who did not manage to escape.
1836: The monk Anthony Kalonas becomes bishop of Cythera and transfers the relics of the monastery (the ancient image of Orphan Panagia and numerous manuscripts) to Cythera.
1843: The Diocese of Hersonissos moves to the monastery of Agarathos.
1845: A mutual learning school starts operating for the children of the surrounding villages.
1856: By signing Chati Humayun, Christians are granted with more privileges. Repairing monasteries is no longer forbidden and Agarathos is extensively reconstructed.
1862: The bell tower of the church is built.
1883: The School of Christ is founded, later transferred to the Monastery of Christ in Sgourokefali village.
1893: A storm destroys the steeple of the church, which gets soon reconstructed.
1894: The new temple is built on the place of the older one and is inaugurated.
1896: The rebel Anthony Tryfitsos or Tryfopoulos uses Agarathos as a base against the Turks. The enraged Turks destroy the monastery, which gets later repaired.
1935: The monastery is declared as Preservable building.
1940: The church is rebuilt again.
1941-1944: During the German occupation, the monastery serves as a shelter for the locals.
1970: The abbot Cyril Chourdakis manages to get back the icon of the Virgin Mary and the old manuscripts from Cythera.
After the liberation of Crete by Nicephorus Phocas from the Arabs in 961 AD, followed a period of cultural renaissance, which is reflected on the monuments of the period and which continued during the Venetian rule.
Most large and small monasteries operating today were established in that period. Apart from serving religious needs, most of them played an important role during the struggles of Cretans for liberation, especially after the conquest of Crete by the Ottomans.
Monasteries were the only places where Christians could find shelter and organize their military operations. Suspicious of the supportive action of monks, the Ottomans destroyed several monasteries that functioned as revolutionary centers.
Even today, visitors admire the story of the Holocaust of Arkadi Monastery in 1866. Then, the besieged Christians decided to blow up the powder keg in order not to surrender to the Ottomans. All the monasteries of that time have similar stories to tell.
THE MONASTERY OF ARKADI
Arkadi Monastery is the most famous monastery in Crete both due to its excellent fortified architecture and because it is a symbol for the liberation of Crete from the Ottomans after the holocaust of 1866. There are more important monasteries around Rethymnon, such as Preveli, Santa Irene, Prophet Elijah in Roustika, Katevati and Arsani. Milopotamos province developed a very important monastic tradition and is home to the beautiful monasteries Vosakos, Chalepa, Diskouri and Attali. Some of the most famous abandoned monuments in Rethymno are the monasteries Halevi, Saint Peter in Gallos, Kaloidena by Ano Meros, Saint Anthony in Veni and the School of Asomati in Amari.
Arkadi Monastery is located near the village Amnatos, 23km east of Rethymno. It is built at an altitude of 500m, on a fertile plateau with olive groves, vineyards, pine, cypress and oak trees. Around the monastery there are several picturesque chapels and from there starts the beautiful Arkadi gorge.
The exact date of the foundation of the monastery is not known, but it is believed that it was actually founded by Byzantine Emperor Arkadios in the 12th century. According to another version, the name is taken after a monk called Arkadios, who first founded the monastery. Moreover, the monastery was called Tsanli Manastir by the Turks (i.e. beneficiary bell), as the Arkadi monastery was the only Cretan monastery that had the right to ring its bells.
The initial church of the monastery was dedicated to Saint Constantine and some ruins of it are preserved in the northwestern part of the monastery enclosure. Arkadi is surrounded by massif walls that made it impregnable from the enemies and its rich fortification attracted the rebellious Cretans. Many Turkish and Greek documents are referring to the life and the adventures of the monastery, that provided educational, national, ethical and monetary support for the locals.
Arkadi is certainly the most historic monastery of Crete and has become the most sacred symbol of the Struggle of the Cretans for Freedom. It is the theater of the tragic battle of 1866, which opened the way for the liberation of the island in 1898. Indeed, UNESCO has designated Arkadi as a European Freedom Monument.
THE BATTLE OF ARKADI
During the Turkish occupation of Crete, the Cretans made many revolutionary movements, such as the Revolution of Daskalogiannis in 1770, of the Janissaries in 1821, against the Egyptians in 1822, of Gramvousa in 1828, of Chairetis in 1811. They all failed but strengthened Cretan morale and hatred against the Turks. The Revolution that opened the way for the Liberation of Crete was the Revolution of 1866, which, combined with the revolutions of 1878 and 1895, put an end to the Turkish Occupation in 1898.
The Cretan Revolution of 1866 brought a blow against the Turkish Empire, caused significant economic damage and stultified its military prestige. The Monastery of Arkadi from the first moment of the Revolution was the center of the Cretan struggle. On May 1, 1866, 1500 Cretan rebels gathered under the leadership of Hadji Michalis Giannaris and elected representatives of the various provinces of Crete. As president of the Rethymno Commission, was elected the abbot of Arkadi Monastery, Gabriel Marinakis.
When Ismail Pasha was informed of these events he demanded that the abbot had to expel the Revolutionary Committee from the monastery, otherwise he would destroy it. The abbot refused and in July Ishmael Pasha sent his troops. However, the Commission had abandoned Arkadi and the Turks only destroyed the icons and sacred vessels of the temple. The committee returned in Arkadi and, in September, Pasha reasked the abandonment of the monastery, otherwise he would destroy it completely!
The message of Ishmael was rejected and the rebels immediately started organizing their defense. On September 24, Panos Koroneos arrived in Bali and visited Arkadi with his soldiers, where he was announced as the General Chief of Rethymnon. He organized the military defense and pointed out that Arkadi is not suitable for defense. The abbot and monks had the opposite opinion, so Koroneos set John Dimakopoulos as commander and left Arkadi. The monastery was a refuge for many women and children from the nearby villages. So, on November 7, in the monastery there were 964 people. 325 of them were men of whom 259 were armed.
On the evening of November 7, an army consisting of 6000 soldiers, 200 horsemen, 1200 Albanians and 30 cannons departed from Rethymnon city. In the morning of November 8, 1866 all that army, led by the groom of Mustafa Pasha, Suleiman Veis, was standing in front of the monastery. The dawn of the same day found the Cretans in the Divine Liturgy (in church). When the abbot Gabriel learned that the Turks were established on the hills around the monastery, he blessed all the rebels and everyone took up battle positions.
Soon, Suleiman Veis asked from the Cretan warriors to surrender. The answer was given by the shooting guns and the raised emblem – flag depicting the Transfiguration of Christ (and now kept at the Museum of the Monastery). The battle started.
Women helped by carrying ammunition and water for the warriors, while the Turks were trying in vain to approach and destroy the West Gate. The battle continued all day with many casualties of the Turks. In the windmill outside of the gate (where the ossuary is currently set) seven Cretans were hidden, who caused the greatest damage to the Turks, but by the evening they were all killed.
At the night, the Turks brought two heavier cannons from Rethymnon. One was the famous bombard koutsahila, famous throughout Crete for its devastating effectiveness. The desperate besieged managed to send secretly the priest Kraniotis and Adam Papadakis to ask for help from Koroneos and the other chieftains of Amari province. The two men managed to escape Arkadi and reach the other rebels, but they could not help. It is worth mentioning that the heroic Adam Papadakis decided to return the monastery, where he knew that he would certainly die.
In the evening of November 8, the bell rang for last time. Warriors, old men, women and children came to the Holy Communion (Blessed Sacrament). Even children had understood that they lived the last moments of their lives.
When November 9 dawned the battle began. The new canons destroyed the western gate. The abbot ordered whoever would manage to be alive when the Turks would enter the yard, to give fire to the gunpowder storage room.
The battle continued relentlessly. The Turks managed to enter the gate of the monastery and the battle was bounded inside the monastery. Those warriors that had run out of ammunition came to the courtyard and fought with their swords. Many girls and women ran to the storey with the powder kegs, as they preferred to surrender their bodies to the flames rather than the atrocities of the Turks. When most of the Turks entered the monastery, Dimakopoulos and other warriors, rushed with swords and killed many Turks from those who were in the yard. After a while their swords were broken and the Turks continued to come from everywhere after the resistance had fallen from all sides.
It was now dark and most women had gathered in the powder room. Kostas Giamboudakis then raised his pistol and ordered anyone who wanted to leave the storey, as he would explode the gunpowder. Hundreds of Turks were trying to break the door to slaughter the Christians. Giamboudakis waited to attract as many Turks as possible outside the door. Then he shot the powder kegs and a huge explosion was heard. Stones, bodies, heads, ruins, soils were all mixed and the souls of the Cretans passed into history forever.
After the explosion of gunpowder, John Dimakopoulos and a few survivors continued to fight against the Turks and the Albanians in the courtyard of the monastery. He decided to surrender when he was guaranteed that the last alive defenders would be left free. However, on the next day, they were all beheaded. Even today you can see the marks of the swords on the dining tables. The result of the holocaust of Arkadi, as this drama has prevailed in Greek History, was: 114 men and women prisoners, 864 dead Cretans and about 1500 dead Turks.
In the cypress of the monastery there are still bullets of that battle. Pasha believed that his victory would stop rebels in Crete. However, this battle was learned in Europe and opened the closed doors of European diplomacy, changed the mindset and tactics of the Great Powers towards Crete and led to its liberation in 1898.
6th century: The Byzantine emperor Heraclitus establishes the monastery of Arkadi.
12th century: The Byzantine Emperor Arcadius rebuils the Monastery of Arkadi in the area owned by Kalergis family.
14th century: The church of Saint Constantine is built, which is now ruined.
1587: Monks and bothers Klimis and Visarionas Hortatzis renovate the monastery of Arkadi and build the present magnificent temple.
1610: The stables of the monastery are built
1645: The Turks occupy the town of Rethymno and the monks find refuge in the Monastery Vrontisi, except two of them who are massacred. The monastery gets looted and destroyed. The abbot of the monastery manages later to distract the privilege of ringing the bell, something forbidden for all other monasteries of Crete.
1658: Mustafa Pasha prohibits bell ringing, but the abbot indicated the permission of the Great Gate and Arkadi is excluded again.
1670: The magnificent dining room of the monastery is built.
18th Century: The great library manuscripts of the monastery are sold and the monastery declines.
1822: Yentim Ali occupies the monastery, but it soon re-conquered by the Rebels and most Turks are killed.
1831-1841: During the brief ten-year Egyptian Era, the monastery flourishes.
7-9 November 1866: The battle of Arkadi, one of the most tragic events of European history.
1870: The ruined monastery is restored.
1933: Timotheos Veneris founds the museum with the historical relics of the monastery.
Driving in Crete – Tips, tricks, and valuable info
The prospect of driving in Crete can be daunting for many people. Even those of us who are used to driving on the right side of the road, driving in Greece may seem a little frightening. This is a shame because you will miss out on a lot by not exploring the whole of the island of Crete with the freedom that only a car can provide.
There are many benefits to driving in Crete. The roads in Crete are quiet on the whole, except in the centre of the large towns.
This means you can virtually guarantee how long it will take you to get somewhere, because there is virtually no congestion or traffic jams!
Driving in Crete
The bus service in Crete is excellent, but traveling this way will restrict you in your ability to explore. They are usually quite infrequent (usually one an hour on the main routes), especially in more remote areas, and off season.
Roads in Crete can sometimes be a problem if there are road works, but the low volume of traffic generally means that queues are the exception rather than the rule.
There is a suspicion that Crete shares the one traffic cone (only joking).
Greek drivers have such a bad reputation, and that reputation seems well founded when you take heed of the statistics for accidents and road deaths in the country as a whole.
There are many reasons for this bad record, and I think these are some of the main ones:
The Greek character
Poor or inadequate road signs and markings
Quality of roads
The Greek Character
I think it helps if you are aware of the Greek personality when it comes to driving in Crete and sharing their roads with them.
An important factor in the Greek personality is their it-will-never-happen-to-me mentality, probably due to the fact they put a great deal of their faith and safety in the hands of God. Don’t be surprised if you see a family of 4 on a scooter, complete with dog in the front basket!
In place of fluffy dice, most cars will have worry beads dangling from the rear view mirror, and many cars (including taxis) will be adorned with pictures of saints and other icons.
So, with this fail-safe back-up, why bother with a seat belt? You’ll also often see children frolicking in the car without being strapped down too.
Surviving hurtling round a sharp bend at high speed is placed in hands of the Almighty!
Unfortunately, we can’t all rely on such Divine attention, and so it’s a good idea to take extra care and maintain maximum vigilance when driving in Crete – always expecting other drivers to behave badly.
Use of the horn is commonplace on the roads in Crete, but don’t take it personally. Driving in Crete and Greece in general the use of the horn is used as it should be used – as a warning signal of their approach. In the UK, the horn is almost exclusively used as an indicator of annoyance or an expression of anger or aggression. Not so much on the roads in Crete. This lays bare the great urban myth of the Greek driver – rude, impatient and aggressive.
It is true that the shortest measurement of time in Greece is the period between the traffic lights turning green and when the first car is expected to move off. Failure to move away quickly often results in a blast of horns. But don’t jump to the wrong conclusion about this either. This is another big myth perpetuated by many ex-pats and foreigners driving in Greece and Crete.
Although this might happen (I know it happens in the UK too), a close look at the Cretan road junction will explain another reason for this apparent “impatience”.
Unlike in the UK and most other north European and American cities, the traffic lights at junctions on the roads in Crete are set close to the waiting car or high above on a gantry. Usually, there are no traffic lights on the opposite side of the road on the roads in Crete. Quite often therefore, the first car can find it hard to see the light change because they are too close or slightly behind.
Hence, the habit of drivers in the queue telling the first car that the lights have changed to green with a toot on the horn.
Although friendly and welcoming, Greeks are generally a volatile and excitable race. They are quick to raise their voice and seemingly unafraid to express their emotions, and this reflects in their driving. Couple this with roads that are often of a poorer quality than most serving the same volume of traffic, and you produce accidents – and one of the worse traffic accident records in Europe in fact.
Roads in Crete
There is really only one main highway in Crete and this is the E45 which runs along its width from Kastelli Kissamos in the west to Sitia in the east. Commonly known as the New National Road, it is not a true motorway that you might be used to in the UK, Europe or North America for example.
In places it has multiple lanes, hard shoulders and a central barrier, but not along its entire length. Often it will appear like a regular road with one lane, no central barrier and regular junctions and crossroads. When driving in Crete you can also shop along the National Road, particularly between Heraklion and Rethymnon. It hosts many fruit and vegetables stalls along the route. You can stop and stock up with cheap locally grown produce.
The Crete driving speed limit can vary too, from 100km/h in some parts and 90km/h in others. Speed limits are further reduced in built up areas it passes through, or where there are junctions joining the main highway. So you need your wits about you when driving in Crete.
Generally this is a good road and is rarely busy. We’ve only seen congestion on the approach to Heraklion from the east, and the area where the road is being upgraded east of the town.
Many other roads in Crete are good too, such as the main roads that branch off to the towns and villages on the southern coast. The Old National Highway runs parallel with the E45 and is a good road that follows the coast and in places is very picturesque.
Driving in Crete in towns can be different. In towns and villages roads will often have no pavements, so expect pedestrians to vie for space.
Many roads in Crete are narrow country and mountain roads with blind bends and steep inclines. Sealed roads will turn to dirt tracks, often only suitable for 4 wheel drive vehicles. So if you intend driving in Crete in a hire car, ensure you have the right type for the terrain you want to explore.
Road Signs and Markings
When driving in Crete you’ll need to know road signs and markings are generally poor in Crete, and sometimes downright confusing, so keep your wits about you. It’s not uncommon for some signs to be completely obscured by vegetation, advertising stickers, graffiti – and gun shot holes!
Cretans are generally good at ignoring road signs and speed restrictions. The double solid white line in the centre of the road prohibiting overtaking is frequently ignored, so don’t rely on it as an indication that nothing will be heading at you on your side of the road when approaching hills and bends.
When driving in Crete you might be a little perplexed by some road signs pitted with dents and holes. This is evidence of a Cretan using the sign as target practice with his gun. I am sure it’s not a reflection of his contempt for the rules of the road, rather than a need to express his hunting instincts in the absence of much legal game available on the island!
When driving in Crete you’ll find nearly all direction signs are bi-lingual, showing the place names in Greek and English. They often look nothing like each other, but in all cases (almost) the English equivalent is actually a true phonetic representation of the Greek version. This example shows Chania (Χaνιá) – which is one of the more difficult translations, and is pronounced Han-YA!
Crete Driving Speed Limit
The Crete driving speed limit is indicated by road signs, but be careful when driving in Crete because signs are often obscured by vegetation – and not seeing them is no defence.
50km/h (30mph) is the maximum in cities and built up areas
80km/h (50mph) outside cities, and
(60mph) on the National Road (although 100km/h and less than 90km/h on certain sections)
You’ll need to watch out for some hazards when driving in Crete you might not expect to see in less rural communities, and this might mean going much slower than the speed limit allowed. Shepherds will use the road to move their flocks of sheep and/or goats of course, and you will expect to find many slow and odd looking tractors, carts and some donkeys on your travels when driving in Crete.
Courtesy and some driving conventions
Despite popular belief, and what you might hear from many foreigners living in Greece, the Cretans are courteous drivers. Bad manners are often misinterpreted out of cultural and other misunderstandings.
For example, in the UK it is a rule that pedestrians have priority when crossing at a designated zebra or pelican crossing. This is not the case in Crete. So don’t expect drivers to stop if you are waiting to cross at what looks like a zebra crossing. They aren’t being rude, just following the conventions they and other drivers are used to.
When driving in Crete another convention at traffic signals is important to be aware of. You will sometimes see flashing amber lights, particularly flashing amber arrows. If you are turning in the direction of the arrows, you must expect pedestrians to be crossing (because they will have a green light to cross), and give way to any already crossing the road.
In short, flashing amber means: yes, you can go, but you don’t have priority or right of way.
There is an important driving convention in Crete that really demonstrates the inherent courtesy of the Cretan driver. On the New National Road, the single lane sections are a bit too narrow along the majority of its length to enable overtaking without crossing over to the opposite side of the road. It is the habit of almost all drivers to move over onto the “hard shoulder” to facilitate passing in these circumstances. This is perfectly acceptable, and you will often see slow moving vehicles using the hard shoulder as a matter of course.
Because of the nature of many roads in Crete, it won’t always be possible for vehicles meeting each other from opposite directions to pass safely. This means that one will have to stop and let the other through.
The convention here is the same as the UK. The vehicle on whose side the obstruction is (if there is one) gives way. If you do give way, don’t be surprised or upset if you don’t get a thank you or a smile. Greeks don’t do that, just as they won’t expect or need a thank you from you if they let you pass. Don’t interpret this as rudeness, it’s just why should I expand the energy thanking you for something you should do in the first place!
You can generally put this economy of action and attitude down to the heat! But also a raised open palm often used in the UK as a ‘thank you’ to drivers is a rude gesture in Greece. It is equivalent to sticking up two fingers in the UK!
Are Cretans rude? No!
Road Side Shrines
When driving in Crete you will often come across shrines.
Shrines are a common sight along the road in Crete (and Greece and many other countries), ranging from small glass cabinets on metal legs to elaborate brick built altars.
Mostly these shrines are erected by family members to honour and remember loved ones who have died in traffic accidents, but also the Cretans erect shrines to saints too.
Inside you will often see candles, pictures of saints, icons and often some personal items belonging to the person to whom the shrine is dedicated.
When driving in Crete along the New National Road (and other main roads) you may sometimes see police flagging motorists down. These are the drivers who have been caught speeding by Radar.
The equipment at their disposal is quite sophisticated and often discharged from a concealed police car further up the highway.
For minor speeding offences you can expect a small fine paid at the post office. Going well over the speed limit may result in a court appearance!
It’s true to say that you don’t often see the police in Crete. Certainly they are not as evident as they are in the UK. This has a lot to do with the fact that there is such a low crime rate in Crete.
There is a consequence. Many Cretans will try to get away with some things on the road, so be prepared for drivers going through red lights (especially when the road is quiet). Also, the wearing of safety helmets appears optional – it’s not, but sometimes the police don’t seem to bother!
Drinking and driving is illegal of course, but I’ve often seen men leaving a kafeneion having drunk a couple of carafes of raki and then promptly getting into their cars (or tractors) and driving home.
On the other hand, at one kafeneion near where we lived in Istron, an old man would regularly drink several glasses of raki, but would always get a lift at the end of the night – from his 13 year old grandson!
Drinking and driving is a very bad thing and those who do it can expect severe penalties if caught, and a very good chance of being in an accident.
There’s normally no problems with parking up in Crete until you get into the Big Four Towns (Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos), the smaller towns, and bigger “villages”.
It’s best to try and park just outside the centre, especially of Chania and Heraklion. We have parked with no problem on the Marina car park in Agios Nikolaos (except when getting there late in the day in high season). Also, we usually park on the sea front at Rethymno (just follow the signs), or the huge car park area at the marina – although we have not tried this in July and August!
We don’t mind walking, but some people are less mobile, and so there’s usually no alternative but to seek out parking in the centre of town. There’s plenty of options, but it will cost of course, and car parks do get full in the High Season, so get there early.
If you have a Blue Badge (UK drivers/passengers), or other document showing entitlement to disability parking, then take it with you on holiday as there are some limited opportunities for disability parking in town centres.
The Greeks appear to be quite lazy and will try to get just outside where they want to go, and this will manifest itself in much double (and triple!) parking. The police or traffic warden will come along and blow a whistle, giving the owner a chance to move it. If no one shows, they will write a ticket.
Filling up with fuel is easy in Crete – you don’t have to get out of your car!
Almost always (unless there is a prominent sign saying Self-Service which is very rare) an attendant will fill up for you. Just say how much you want in Euros, or say “Full!”
You don’t have to tip (but you can of course!)- he or she will be happy for your custom.
What you need
When driving in Crete if you are a European Union citizen, your driver’s license works in Greece, otherwise you would need an international driver’s license.
Car hire is freely available and all the big European companies are represented, but there are a wealth of smaller Cretan firms all over the island. Rates are good, and there’s a wide choice of models.
It’s a good idea to book your hire car in advance. During the height of the season in July and August when demand is at its peak booking is essential.
Choose your rental car based on what you want to do. If you are planning a trip to the mountains or over rough terrain, you’ll need a big powerful car to get up the slopes, or even a four wheel drive if the roads are very poor.
Chania Market is said to be the best indoor market in Europe, (and we agree!)…
The daily Chania Market or Agora is very popular with tourists and locals alike; with all manner of ingredients from the Cretan Diet on sale.
The rather grand covered market at the centre of the town of Hania was opened in 1913 by Eleftherios Venizelos as part of the celebrations for the Unification of Crete to Greece.
Modelled after the market of Marseilles, it is said to be the best indoor market in Europe, (and we agree!).
It is both a magnificent building architecturally and a fabulous place inside to shop and eat.
The cross-shaped structure of the building houses 76 shops and cafes grouped according to what they are selling in the four arms of the cross.
It is a fabulous place for all manner of spectacular ingredients that make up the famed Cretan Diet. It is has a lively and vibrant atmosphere and you can buy Greek Mountain tea, Dittany of Crete and numerous other cretan herbs and spices.
Thyme honey, olive oil and Raki are enticingly displayed to tempt the passer by. Cheese stalls, butchers, bakers, fresh fish and fresh fruit and vegetable stalls vie for space alongside small cafes serving local Cretan dishes.
Hania Market is open from Monday to Saturday at 8.00 am to around 1.30pm. In addition, every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday it is also open in the evenings from 5.00pm to 8.00 pm. If you get the chance to visit you must try to buy some of the fabulous foods on offer, or even eat at one of the small cafes there which serve some real Crete dishes – a truly authentic Cretan experience!
There’s a weekly outdoor market every Saturday too, just a short walk along from the indoor market. Here you’ll find stalls full of fruit and vegetables, fish, cheese and some clothing stalls, handbag and shoe stalls.
If you a visiting Crete and the Hania area then this really is a ‘must see’ experience not to be missed! We might see you there!
The wild flowers of Crete are amazing in variety and grow abundantly throughout this beautiful Greek Island. Over 2,000 different kinds of flora are found on Crete of which 150 or so plants and wild herbs are endemic, which means that they do not exist in any other place in the world. Wild Cretan flowers, among them rare orchids, many of which are endemic, add colour and sweet smelling scent all year round to this beautiful Greek Island.
With over 1700 plants and wild flowers of Crete growing all over this wonderful Greek island it is a colourful and aromatic place to spend some time.
There is an infinite variety of colour, scent and size to the wild flowers of Crete. One of my favourites has to be the wild anemones that range in colour from white to pale lilac to deep purple.
Anemones also grow in all shades of pink. In the spring months in Crete whole areas seem to be carpeted by these lovely wild flowers.
There are plenty of other Cretan flowers too. In April and May Crete is abundant in wild flowers. Fragrant wild herbs such as Thyme, Sage and Rosemary add wonderful aroma to the hillsides. Chamomile, poppies, anemones, iris, field gladiolus (Gladiolus italicus) and many species of wild orchids and other wonderful wild flowers of Crete grow all over this fabulous Greek Island.
Meadows of vibrant scarlet red poppies create a colourful and wonderful scene that is breathtaking. You’ll see poppies in March, April, May and June in Crete growing in cultivated fallow fields and amongst olive groves.
Springtime is the best time to see a massive array of beautiful flowers of Crete when the mountains, plains, olive groves, fields and sea shores are covered with flowers.
Brilliant yellow centred chamomile is found all over the island and certainly gives a fresh spring feel and aroma to the island.
The very decorative purple Chaste Tree that flowers throughout the summer months is said to be an aphrodisiac for women – and just the opposite for men!
May Day, Protomagiá (1 May), is a national holiday in Greece and Crete. May 1st is traditionally seen as a flower festival and the flowers of Greece play a central role in this celebration of spring and fertility.
Cretan families will take the day off work and school and go to the fields and hillsides to pick wild flowers.
Families will picnic in the countryside and pick the wild flowers to make into wreaths.
The wildflower wreaths are then hung above doors, on fishing boats, on cars and trucks and other places with the intention of warding off evil and ushering in the spring season.
You’ll see men, women and children with whole armfuls of beautiful and colourful flowers picked from olive groves, meadows and hillsides. Later they fashion them into wreaths.
And if you are a sun lover yourself you’ll love the sun loving little Heliotrope flowering throughout the summer in Crete.
Words alone cannot describe the beauty of the flowers of Crete so we’ve included a few pictures for your enjoyment.
A beautiful deep pink wild field gladiolus (Gladiolus italicus) is a much prized decorative flower that is simply stunning when you see it through the olive groves. You can see it in full bloom in the spring months throughout Crete.
And if you are holidaying or visiting the Greek island of Crete in the height of the summer and spend some time on its gorgeous beaches you may be lucky enough to spot a beautiful pure white flower growing in the hot sand. It is commonly known as the Sea Daffodil and has the Latin name of Pancratium maritimum.
The Aromatic Inula also known as Dittrichia viscosa, Sticky fleabane and False Yellowhead is just one of the many wild flowers of Crete.
The Aromatic Inula belongs to the Asteraceae, (Daisy) family and grows all around the Mediterranean.
This flower grows abundantly in the autumn months all over the Greek Island of Crete. You’ll find it along roadsides and uncultivated fields.
As its name suggests it has a lovely aroma and was traditionally used as a dye of a greenish yellow shade.
To find out lots more about the wonderful wild flowers of Crete we can highly recommend the excellent, well written and informative hand book named Wild Flowers of Crete. It is expertly written and photographed by Vangelis Papiomitoglou. The text and images are a real boon to the explorer wanting to easily identify the many wild flowers of Crete. A crucial and affordable handbook for all nature lovers of the flora and fauna of Crete.
“Crete separated off from continental Greece about 5,000,000 years ago. This isolation, together with the existence of large mountain massifs which have functioned as ”botanical islands” within the same island, explains the great degree of endemism among its plants, since 1 in 10 is indigenous.”
“More than 1,700 different species are met on Crete. Such wealth can be better understood if it is considered that Great Britain, which has a surface area about 30 times greater, has fewer species of which hardly a single one is endemic.”
“This book presents more than 500 plants – the most representative of the island – from the most common to the rarest. Little explanatory texts which focus on the botanical characteristics of the plants, on mythological references to them and often on the etymology of their names, together with a large number of photographs, make the book an essential source of reference for every nature-lover.”
Scary News!! Dog Pound Blues Annual Halloween Party + Music Quiz
VENUE Taverna Loutro, Chania, Greece
SCARY NEWS!! DOG POUND BLUES ANNUAL HALLOWEEN PARTY + MUSIC QUIZ
Dog Pound Blues’ ever popular annual Halloween party will be back at the equally popular Taverna Loutro (the Home of Ghosts & Ghouls during the Hallows Eve season) near Fres on Saturday 28th October…..
Live music from Dog Pound Blues will include those spooky numbers expected from a ghostly evening PLUS!!! a special Halloween music quiz.
Prizes for the scariest/best costumes! (Fancy dress optional but fun, fun, fun!)
Come along if you dare!! Very soon the location, in the wooded dell, by the river will begin to fill with ghostly visitors ……. ??????? Ready to dance at the ‘Freakers Ball’. …….
Full details including food menu from Sifis and Ariadne will be available soon..
To book a table contact Brian on 6978818300 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
ITS PARTY NIGHT! LIVE MUSIC AT YIANNIS TAVERNA – KOKKINO CHORIO
Dog Pound Blues will be back at Yianni’s taverna in Kokinno Chorio on Thursday 19th October playing some red hot Rhythm & Blues, Rock and Blues covers -from Amy Winehouse to the Stones via Howling Wolf and the Beatles plus many more at this great inside venue.
Dog Pound Blues are .. Brian Pound -vocals, guitar and harmonica Chrissie Pound-vocals and percussion Justin James-vocals and bass Gareth Walsh- lead guitar Giannis Zachopoulos-drums…
Come and join us for a great night. The music will start from 8.00pm There is loads of space inside this taverna so ….bring your dancing shoes !!!
Cover 5 euro pp… Good food available.
To book your table please call Brian on 6978818300 or e-mail email@example.com. Or contact Yiannis on 6974700222…
If you are thinking of having a wedding in Crete you can choose between a church wedding and a civil
ceremony, although in order to get married in a Greek Orthodox church in Crete at least one of the partners
must have been baptised into that faith.Marriage in A Greek Registry Office Application should be made with all the relevant documentation (with certified translations into Greek – see below) to the local Town Hall for a Marriage Licence to be issued – this normally takes approximately 8 days after which a date for the ceremony can be set.A British national resident in Greece should apply to the British Consular authorities in Greece for a CNI. This certificate may be issued on the 22nd day after he/she has sworn an affidavit or signed a declaration at the nearest British Consular Office (in Crete, Heraklion ) to the effect that no impediment to the proposed marriage exists. He/she must be resident in the relevant Consular district for at least 21 days before making such a declaration. Alternatively on production of a CNI issued in the UK the Consular Office will issue the equivalent in Greek. In the United Kingdom a CNI may be obtained from a local Superintendent Registrar after 15 days notice has been given.Marriage in A Greek Orthodox Church In the case of a church marriage advice should be obtained from the priest or minister of the church where
the marriage is to be celebrated.
If the marriage is to be celebrated in a Greek Orthodox Church a certificate from an Ecclesiastical Authority to
the effect that there is no impediment to the marriage will be necessary. Advice on this should be obtained by
your Greek partner from the authorities of the church where you intend to marry. St. Paul’s Anglican Church
in Athens will sign a CNI for use in a Greek Church where the interested party is of the Anglican faith.Documentation The documents required by the Greek authorities for both church and civil weddings are:
a Certificate of Non Impediment (CNI)
a certified translation into Greek of the full birth certificate of a British national who intends to marry in Greece
evidence that any previous marriage has been dissolved for example a Decree Absolute or Death Certificate
Legalisation (Apostille stamp) and Certified Translations Documents emanating from a foreign country which are to be used in Greece must be officially legalised with
the Hague Convention ‘Apostille’ (available for UK public documents from the Legalisation Office in London;
contact tel no: 0044 20 70081111) and then officially translated at a Greek Consulate abroad or when in
Greece via a certified translator or the Translations Bureau of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs at: 10
Arionos Street, Psiri., 105 64 Athens, tel: +30 210 3244036.
If you are employed in Greece and your employer has paid IKA contributions (or another National Insurance
such as TAXI etc.) you will be entitled to unemployment benefit, should you become unemployed, when you
have 2 consecutive years of contributions paid.
Seasonal unemployment benefit can be claimed for a specific period of time only, after the first two years of (seasonal) contributions have been paid. Many people with summer employment claim unemployment benefit each winter (or each summer in the case of English teachers )
First time Claims The insured must have at least 80 working days ‘stamps’ for each year of the last two years and this must
include, in the last 14 months at least 125 working days, but not including the last 2 months.
Or the insured must have at least 200 days in the last two years, not including the last two months. Subsequent claims The insured must have at least 125 working days in the last 12 months and not have claimed more than 400
days benefit over the last four years.
How to Claim To make a claim go to the ‘OAED’ (Manpower and Employment Organisation) office within 60 days of
termination of employment , with the following documents.
Tax Return E1 for previous year and a photocopy of this
IKA (or TAXI etc) statement of ‘stamps’ paid for previous 2 years. N.B. It is likely you will not yet have received your official paperwork from IKA, or your other national insurance company, showing the number of days work for the current year. Your local IKA (or other insurance) office can provide a printed list.
IKA (or TAXI etc) health book and any dependants health book, plus photocopies of these
Residence certificate (EU citizens) and a photocopy of residence certificate
A letters from your employer stating when you finished work – when the business has closed at the end of season, or when you were laid off (Apolysei / Απόλυση)
An Unemployment Card from OAED
New copy of an electricity or telephone bill for proof of address.
Proof of income payments for the last three months – usually bank receipts, where your employer has paid your salary directly into your bank account
A copy of your bank book for a National Bank of Greece (NBG) bank account (of which you must be the main account holder). If you don’t have one you’ll need to open a new account at NBG before applying for
Your papers will be taken and processed and you will be told when to return to sign for your first payment ,
usually 4 to 6 weeks later, and thereafter every two months. The benefit is paid directly into your National Bank
Seasonal unemployment benefit is a standard amount for all claimants; in 2016/2017 the amount is 359 Euros per month (reduced due to Greece austerity measures by 22% from 461.50 Euros per month, previously) with a 10% increase for each dependant child.
EU Wide Unemployment Benefit – EU Persons who receive umemployment benefit in the United Kingdom or other European country, and move to
Greece in an effort to find work may continue to receive unemployment benefit in Greece from the local
Manpower and Employment Organisation Office (OAED) for a period of THREE months. They should produce
to their local OAED office (above) form E303, which is issued by their local Benefit Agency in the United
Kingdom or other European country. They must also register themselves at the same OAED office as
unemployed within 7 days of signing off in their home country.
IF THE APPLICANT DOES NOT FIND WORK WITHIN THREE MONTHS HE/SHE MUST LEAVE THE COUNTRY.
As usual there will be a large selection of quality locally-made goods available.
Alison Hatzidakis: Onion bhajis, veggie samosas, veggie sausage rolls, hummus, peanut butter, sausage rolls, pork pie with chicken and bacon, cornish pasties – all made with the best ingredience.
Lydia Papathanos: Handmade jewellery and decoupage.
Pat Myatt: Sublime silk scarves – hand-painted, nuno felted & Indian sari silk – Unique & all at affordable prices. Hand – decorated ceramic tile coasters, ceramic & glass ware. Original silk cards – for that special person.
Francesca Harrison: Greetings cards and prints from her watercolours and original watercolour paintings. There will also a her illustrated children’s fairy books and fairy paper dolls. Plus her latest advent calendar and range of glass earrings.
Vera Collins: With her famous Apfelstrudel, gluten free breads and cakes and other edible delights.
Katerina: Traditional handmade soaps, beeswax creams, face creams, body lotions, etc all without preservatives and made with Cretan olive oil and local ingredients.
Balsam Wood: Various small mosaics suitable for gifts. Larger mosaics pictures available, also orders could be taken for house names or numbers. There is also original paintings,prints and cards .
Yanni: Traditionally made honey in jars and tins.
Cretan Cornucopia Cakes: Helen brings you a selection of cakes all using Cretan ingredients and inspired by the island including carob, rosewater, lemon geranium, walnuts and honey and much more.
Murray Morison will be talking about his latest Young Adult novel, Time Knot. Local poet and playwright Jussi will interview Murray and extracts will be read in English and Greek. Bar and snacks available. The Gallery still has a wonderful exhibition by local artists.
Greek traditional singing workshop CRETE and DODECANESE by Xanthoula Dakovanou 21-24 October, at Vamos traditional village, Crete
In this workshop, we are going to sing the traditional repertory of Crete and Dodecanese islands.
Accompanied by cretan or dodecanese lyra as well as the luth, these songs share the same modes (δρόμοι) and musical rythms. In their respective traditional societies, cretan songs are sang mostly by men and dodecanesian mostly by women. Both cultures share beautiful vocal ornements. The cretan or dodecanesian singer sings with passion all moments of life : being in love, working, dancing and enjoying life, as well as birth or death…
In this workshop, we will focus on repertory, ornementation and phonetics.
A presentation of the workshop will also take place, at the village of Vamos, with musicians’s accompaniement.
Xanthoula is a greek traditional singer and composer, known in Greece but also in Europe for her work related to balkan and mediterranean music, but also rebetiko. Living and working between Paris and Athens from 2005, she has collaborated with various musical formations : she has sang for festivals in Greece, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Turkey, Bulgaria and Albania, in prestigious concert halls like Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris), Romain Agora (Athens) etc. She has participated in numerous radio and television emissions in Greece, France, Turkey and Bulgaria and has collaborated with international musicians and composers as Armand Amar, Richard Galliano, Jean-François Zygel, Ballaké Sissoko but also reknown greek musicians such as Ourania Lampropoulou, Dimos Vougioukas, Alexandros Papadimitrakis.
Her musical work focuses in new compositions inspired from traditional musics. She is also the artistic director of Kerasovo Festival.
Practical information Cost of the workshop : 120 euros
Athens was announced on Friday as the ” Best Emerging Culture City of the Year” by the Leading Culture Destinations Awards (LCDA), during a ceremony at the Trafalgar St. James Hotel in London.
The award scheme, also known as the “Oscars for Museums”, celebrates the vibrancy and vitality of museums and institutions around the world, which are constantly evolving.
The Greek capital city won the award for Best Emerging Culture City in recognition that it managed to support culture and tourism with its strategic choices, despite the ongoing economic crisis in the country.
The award was received by Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis in London.
“The artists of Athens, the city’s cultural infrastructure, its dialogue with the international artistic community and its impressive dynamic this year in tourism, show us that we are on the right track for the city’s recovery and strengthening its international image,” Mayor Kaminis said, adding that the municipality supports and continues to make choices and partnerships that attract awards and distinctions for the city.
2017 is turning into an all-time record year for Athens tourism, with more than 5 million visitors.
“Our city is attractive, safe, open to innovation and ready to take on major new events — such as documenta 14,” he added,
Athens has also been named “World Book Capital” for 2018, a major distinction from UNESCO.
Launched in 2014, the Leading Culture Destinations Awards honors museums, architects, exhibitions and cities around the world. This year’s award winners include the Design Museum in London as the World’s Leading Culture Destination, the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Hurston Museum in Washington DC as the Best Exhibition of the Year and the British Museum for the Best Digital Museum Experience of the Year.
Award-winning Greek cheeses, with their unique taste, explain why in Greece the annual per capita consumption is higher than in any other European country. Soft, creamy and hard, white and yellow, fresh and mature, salty and sweet, each one a nobility, all produced with mastery and skill. Cook them, mix them, grate and sprinkle them, wine-tie them, fry them, stuff them, adore them…Follow us in a tour to each region that has developed its own special varieties of cheese.
Nothing conjures up the dreamy images of Greece better than the Aegean, home to countless islands big and small and to cooking traditions as old as Homer. Islanders have their unique existence, defined by the deepest bond to place and familial roots, in common with one another, regardless of whether they come from places as off-the-beaten track as Ikaria or as cosmopolitan as Rhodes or Santorini.
Let’s take a tour in the Aegean, specifically in the Northeastern Aegean, where cheeses vary. Manoura from Sifnos is aged in wine dregs; Kalathaki from Limnos, a lovely basket-shaped, goat’s milk white brine cheese, akin to feta, takes its name from the basket (=kalathaki) that is used to produce it.
Moving further down, we meet the Dodecanese cheeses, such as Krassotyri and Sitaka. Krassotyri is a specialty of Kos. A log-shaped, ribbed wine-soaked cheese that in recent years has begun its trip off the island. This similar wine-soaked cheeses are also produced in Nyssiros and Leros. Sitaka, one of the most unusual dairy products in Greece, is a tart,creamy spread, not unlike yogurt cheese, made from slightly fermented sheep’s and/or goat’s milk, which has been salted slightly and reduced over low, traditionally wood-burning fire. It is a specialty of Kassos and served with a delicious local pasta dish together with caramelized onions.
Now let’s move a little towards the Cyclades, to meet the Cyclades cheeses. . San Mihalis in Syros island, also a PDO cheese – Manoura of Sifnos’, with a pinkish hue and dark, winy aroma – Chloro from Santorini, to be eaten either fresh (and soft), or aged over pasta? You just name it!
If you find yourself in Crete, the Cretan cheeses you will find that are part of the wellness and long-life ratio causes of the islanders. All Cretan cheeses are made from either sheep’s or goat’s milk or a combination of both. Here’s a short list: Graviera, perhaps the most famous of Crete’s cheeses, ranges from sweet, when young, to nutty and resonant, when aged. Kefalograviera, harder and more piquant than graviera, is a table cheese that is often also used in baked dishes like pastitsio and moussaka. Myzithra, a fresh whey cheese, relatively low in fat, and similar to ricotta. Staka, a cholesterol-rich delicacy only found in western Crete, which is prepared from the cream skimmed off the top of sheep’s milk.
The gorgeous Graviera cheese is by now a tradition. It is made as far north as Macedonia and as far south as Crete, in Corfu to the west, in Mytilini to the east, and just about everywhere in between.
In Epirus, you will find Feta, of course – the shepherd’s cheese par excellence. Dodoni, the district around the ancient oracle and amphitheater, produces some of the country’s best. You will also find Galotyri, literally ‘milk cheese,’ irresistibly creamy and tangy, but hard to find outside the shepherds’ strongholds of Epirus, Thessaly and Roumeli. Hard, pungent Kefalotyriis made from goat and sheep milk, and is mainly used for grating. Sweet Manouri, a smooth whey cheese made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk to which cream has been added, comes in long, pure white cylinders. Delicious with fruit or on its own for dessert.
And, of course, last but not least, Feta: Greece’s cheese for all seasons.
In Greece the cheese course runs parallel to the meal. Feta, the national Greek cheese, is relentlessly nibbled at, be it with a winter salad of boiled bitter greens, or a main course of summer vegetables stewed in olive oil, or a midnight snack hand-in-hand with a slice of crisp, icy, sweet watermelon. As for the unusual storing of Feta, there is a perfectly logical explanation: Feta is a rindless wet cheese. It is aged and cured in brine, and will keep all its flavors if it remains submerged.Greeks (together with the cheese obsessed French) have the highest per capita cheese consumption in Europe.
Feta is the quintessential Greek table cheese, but it is also excellent in all sorts of other dishes. As a main ingredient, it finds its way into savory pies, made with Feta and eggs, or combinations of cheeses, or mixtures of greens and cheese. It is also a staple on the meze table, and can be grilled or baked in paper and even sautéed, sometimes with a crust of nuts or sesame seeds or a simple egg and flour wash.
It’s basically more of a meal in itself.
Over the years, as Greece became urbanized and agriculture increasingly mechanized, new technology reached the dairies and cheese making was no longer a simple local affair. The same happened all over Europe, eventually requiring the European Commission to enact “Protected Designation of Origin” (PDO) labelling regulations for distinctive, traditional foods. Twenty Greek cheeses have been accorded PDO status thus far under these regulations.
The beautiful birds of Crete are still plentiful and of a wide variety. The wide range of habitats, from marine, estuarine, scrubland to alpine and mountainous, especially the coastal cliffs, allows many migratory species and others to find a home in Kriti.
Some of the rare species have been mentioned on our nature and conservation pages and include the Bearded Vulture, the Eleanora’s Falcon and the Golden Eagle.
Below are listed some of the beautiful birds found in Kriti with their scientific names for identification purposes. Birdwatching in Crete is very interesting as it involves exploring some of the unknown and unpopulated areas of the island.
It must be said that birds have been hunted thoroughly in Crete and are shy and in some cases the population in danger because of ongoing practices. Other threats are habitat destruction and other human activities. There is, however, a growing awareness within Kriti of the value of our natural history.
Fresco of the Partridges 1500-1450 BC
The Minoans, an artistic and sophisticated culture dating from 2000 BC in Crete, included nature in many of their artworks, especially the frescoes, of which the one to the left is well recognised. These birds are thought to be partridges or similar. This fresco was discovered at Knossos Palace.
Blue Birds of Knossos
The famous fresco of Blue Birds of Knossos (right) shows beautiful blue birds amidst rocks and flowers, thought to be lillies and roses, the birds are thought by some to be peacocks.
The many inaccessible cliffs and mountainous regions of Crete are ideal for raptors such as these Griffon VulturesGyps fulvus below.
Birds of Crete – Gyps fulvus Griffon Vulture (image by xamogelo)
Birdwatching in Crete
Enthusiasts will find plenty of information here on the website of Colin and Sue Turvey about Crete birdlife and photography.
Below we mention some of the many, many areas to watch for birds in Crete. We begin in the west, in the prefecture of Chania, and make our way east to Lasithi.
Birdwatching in Chania, Crete
Mount Koutroulis, Mount Agios Dikaios (pictured) and Modia Plateau in south-western Crete are an important biotope for the rare Bearded Vulture.
Tiganis Peninsula, in the north-west of Chania, is a breeding area for the Eleanora’s Falcon, and both the Rodopou and Gramvousa peninsulas are good areas for birding, Gramvousa Islet is also a breeding area.
Akrotiri peninsula, close to the town of Chania has good birdwatching near Agias Triadas and Gouvernetou, also Souda Bay to the east of Chania is habitat for shore birds.
The Lefka Ori including both Agia Irini Gorge and Samaria Gorge are a large mountain range with excellent remote habitat for eagles, vultures and buzzards.
The Moronis River Lagoon Biotope known as Pera can be reached on the road between Souda Bay and the Chania airport on the Akrotiri peninsular in Chania and provides a good wetland viewing point.
The Agia Reservoir is a very good wetland site and may be found on the road from Chania to Samaria Gorge, 5 km south of Chania.
Lake Kournas, the Almyrou delta, and Georgioupolis Beach have been identified as one of the important bird areas on Crete. This lake is a unique fresh water lake south of the town of Georgioupolis in eastern Chania prefecture. Species include Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and White Eye Duck Aythya nyroca, as well as Squacco Heron, Greylag Goose, Mallard and Little Grebe.
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Gavdos Island and its little sister, Gavdopoula Island, are important for shore and migratory birds. These islands are located 65 km south of Paleohora in Chania.
Birdwatching in Rethymnon, Crete
Rethymnon has some of the highest ranges in Crete and inaccessible peaks ideal habitat for raptors and alpine species. The Psiloritis Range including Mt Ida and the Nida Plateau.
Also in Rethymnon are the beautiful Kourtaliotis Gorge, Megalopotamos, and southern mountainous area around Preveli, which all make good birding locations.
Birdwatching in Heraklion, Crete
The beautiful mountain village of Zaros and the nearby Lake Votamos and Rouvas Gorge are ideal walks for birdwatching. This village is 44 km from Heraklion town.
Thrapsano Lake near the village of the same name is approximately 25 km south-east of Iraklion after Knossos. This is a good area for spotting the birds of Crete.
Birdwatching in Lasithi, Crete
The Bramiana Reservoir inland from Ierapetra is a good spot to see all birds of Crete especially birds of prey as well as gulls and migratory birds. Keep your eyes alert to see Eleanora’s Falcon.
The beautiful Zakros Gorge and natural areas around Kato Zakros make for good walking and birdwatching in eastern Crete.
The lagoon behind Chionia beach near Palekastro village in Lasithi is good for water birds of Crete.
Our Beautiful Birds of Crete
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos
Bonellis Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus
Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus
Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus.b.
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Lanner Falcon Falco biarmicus
European Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Tawny Owl Strix aluco
Little Owl Athene noctua
Hooded Crow Corvus cornix
Alpine Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus
Red Billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
Hoopoe Upupa epops
European Bee-eater, Merops apiaster (image creative commons Pierre Dalous)
With its crystal clear waters, beautiful beaches and rich history, Crete has been one of Europe’s hottest holiday spots for decades now. But the mountainous Greek island is far from just another pretty beach (although it’s certainly that too): Over the years, it has witnessed the birth of European civilisation, dwarf mammoths, the King of the Gods – and Nana Mouskouri. So whether you’re a beachhead or a culture vulture, Crete’s the place you need to be this summer. Here are a few reasons why Greece is the word, and especially Crete…
1. Because it’s where modern European civilisation began
Don’t let them tell you it was Ancient Rome, Victorian London or Silicon Valley. For Europe at least, civilisation started in Crete. The place is a cultural crossroads, where Asia and the Middle East have continually collided with Europe and Africa over the past five millennia, with the Cretans themselves usually stuck in the middle. Europe’s first advanced civilisation, the Minoans, called the island home from 2,700 BC for around 1,500 years, until being wiped out by a tsunami when nearby volcano Santorini erupted one night. The Minoans were inventing coins, money, trading, urban life and even building a navy when the rest of Europe were still wandering around throwing spears and hoping for the best. Over the years Crete has also hosted the Romans, Turks, Jews, Arabs, Venetians, British and many others. As a result, the local dialect, Cretan Greek, is unusually rich, and incorporates lots of Arabic, English and Latin terms, as well as standard Greek.
2. Because it used to be roamed by dwarf mammoths
Do I need any other reasons? Like a jumbo shrimp, the dwarf mammoth sounds like it shouldn’t exist, but it does. That is, it did. Crete used to have its very own mini-mammoth, unlike (well, smaller than) any other. Contrary to their cousins further north, Cretan dwarf mammoths were not woolly, and were roughly the size of a large dog rather than a small elephant. Crete has no natural predators (something that’s been ascribed to everyone from Hercules to St. Paul over the years), and the Disney-cute mammoths soon became lovers rather than fighters, evolving to be smaller over the centuries, before eventually becoming extinct due to climate change.
3. Because it’s got amazingly clean waters, great beaches and healing air
Crete’s hard to beat when it comes to the dream holiday thing. The island is said (and not just by Cretans) to have the loveliest water anywhere in the Mediterranean: crystal-clear, with underwater views of anything up to 40 metres. For those with little ones in tow, the water is shallow, warm and safe. Back on dry sand, meanwhile, the vast majority of the island’s beaches hold the EU Blue Flag award for their unmatched standards of cleanliness. The best on the island include Elafonissi Beach – beautiful white sand, with a touch of pink from the thousands of broken shells – Bali Beach, so-called because it is reminiscent of the heavenly Indonesian island, and Falassarna Beach, one of the best beaches not just in Crete but anywhere in Europe. In 1980, Anzel Key carried out a groundbreaking survey looking at levels of health around the world, and found that Cretans had the best all-round health in the world. Even in ancient times, the father of medicine, Hippocrates, was prescribing ‘Cretan air’ to his ailing patients.
4. Because it’s got something for everyone
Take Malia, a small resort 32 km east of Crete’s capital Heraklion and 25 km west of the charming historic town of Agios Nikolaos. The sandy beaches of the Sea of Crete to the north, the mountain of Dikti to the south, and a small valley lying between them present visitors with a pretty and peaceful scene. South of the main road, you will find the old Malia with its narrow streets, bougainvillea-clad houses and little tavernas with live Greek music. Coastal Malia on the other hand offers quaint gift shops, lovely cafés and bars and entertainment to keep you up all night if that is what you are after. But this town also has history to boast about in the shape of its own Minoan Palace – the third-largest such palace in Crete, built in a wonderful setting near the sea. To make your holiday dream complete, the town also offers 5-star accommodation directly beside a golden, sandy beach and offering a choice of fun water sports. So whether you want to satisfy your appetite for history, race across the sea on a jet ski or banana boat, enjoy soaking up the sun from your deckchair or simply enjoy sipping a glass of wine and watching the sun set over the Aegean Sea, – the choice is all yours.
5. Because it’s where Zeus, King of the Greek gods, was born
In a cave, to be precise. Zeus’ father, Cronus, had a nasty habit of swallowing his children as soon as they were born, so Zeus’ mother, Rhea, gave birth to the infant king in Crete, hoodwinking Cronus with a rock wrapped in blankets to swallow instead. The baby himself was then raised in a cave on Mount Ida, either by a goat or by nymphs, depending on who you ask, and the cave, with its awe-inspiring stalagmites and stalactites, is just one of the island’s countless ancient excavation sites that have become hugely successful tourist attractions in recent years.
6. Because of Knossos
Undoubtedly the biggest of all these attractions is the Palace of Knossos, Europe’s oldest city and the ceremonial and economic centre of the Minoans. Legend has it that King Minos had Daedalus build a subterranean labyrinth, or maze, beneath the palace to retain the Minotaur, a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a human who dined on human flesh – and his son (it’s a long legend). Minos did not want to kill the Minotaur, so he hid the monster in the labyrinth, which was such a complicated construction that no one could ever find their way in and get out alive. Until, that is, the Greek hero Theseus fell in love with Ariadne, Minos’ daughter, and entered the Labyrinth to kill the Minotaur and save her. He slayed the monster and got out alive by following a ball of thread she had given him to unravel on his way in. The palace, including its frescoes, throne rooms, the labyrinth and a host of other interesting features, have all been tastefully recreated at the site, near modern-day Heraklion, allowing visitors of all ages to connect with the remains and great stories in a way unlike most museums. Knossos is now Greece’s second most popular modern visit, after the Acropolis, and deservedly so.
7. Because it’s got not one but two climates
Another ‘on the crossroads between Europe and Africa’ one; most of Crete enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate, with long, warm summers and mild winters. Up in the mountains, it’s cooler, with snow still on the White Mountains until June. But Crete actually straddles two climatic zones, and the south coast is considerably hotter, with the mountains acting as a break. In the south, it changes to a North African climate, with date palms growing in abundance, swallows sticking around all year instead of heading south, and incredibly fertile agriculture. But speaking as a northern European, either climate works.
8. Because of its mountains and the Samaria Gorge
Crete lies on the spine of a ridge of undersea mountains linking Asia Minor to Africa, and is itself very mountainous. Ranges such as the White Mountains are home to more than 300 sacred caves, peaks, waterfalls, mountain lakes and hidden beaches, all of which can be taken in as part of a day’s hiking or for longer. These are beautifully cool, calm and pleasantly isolated after the coast. The island also boasts some 50 gorges, including the Samaria Gorge – the largest such feature in Europe, 17 kilometres long and part of the national park area that makes up much of the south-west of the island.
9. Because it has its own language, art, literature and culture
Cretans are well-known amongst other Greeks for their fierce loyalty to the regional culture, ranging from their distinctive dress through to art, jewellery, pottery, music, cuisine and more. Technically, the language spoken on the island is not standard, but Cretan, Greek (see above). Important musical instruments to have developed here include the violin, lyre and laouto, the island has its very own poetry, Mantinade, and dancing is a hugely important part of the cultural heritage. Music festivals are held across the island during the summer months. Cretans are fiercely proud of their island and customs, and men often don elements of traditional dress in everyday life, including knee-high black riding boots, breeches tucked into the boots at the knee, a black shirt and black headdress consisting of a fishnet-weave kerchief worn wrapped around the head or draped on the shoulders. Rethymno, Crete’s third-largest city, is the island’s cultural centre, and buzzing with poets, musicians, writers and painters, and the town centre full of students from the Cretan University, jobbing and just, like, chilling all summer.
10. Famous people to have come from Crete
For a small island, the list is a long one. It includes El Greco, the Greek Renaissance artist who settled in Spain (hence the name), singer Nana Mouskouri, novelist Nikos Kazantzakis, Georgios Samara, star striker for Manchester City and Celtic – and of course, actor John Aniston, star of Days of Our Lives in the 1970s, and father of the fragrant Jennifer.
The gorge of Aradena is located in the region of Sfakia. It runs from the southern slopes of the White Mountains and forms a deep cut to the small beach of Marmara (a little to the West of Loutro).
It is one of the more popular gorge walks in western Crete so you won’t be entirely on your own but it is much quieter than Samaria, Imbros or Agia Irini. Even though the walk is not that long (2½ to 3 hours of walking time for the Aradena village to Marmara section or vice versa) it is a little more difficult than some of the better known gorges and it is not recommended for people without any walking experience: many passages require a good deal of sure-footedness (especially if you are walking downwards) and a head for heights.
The village of Aradena which was abandoned in the 1950s is also well worth a visit and will give you a good idea of traditional Cretan architecture. You can see photos of the houses here.
Since 1986 the village has been connected by road to Anopolis and the rest of the road network via a spectacular Bailey bridge that spans the deep gorge. Note the platform in the middle of the bridge: it is used for bungee jumping (generally at weekends during the summer months).
The old stone path crossing the gorge at Aradena (one of several ancient paths crossing the gorge) is a spectacular example of traditional kalderimia (cobbled mule tracks). This is what you will follow to get yourself into (or out) of the gorge.
The gorge of Aradena is very rich in chasmophyte (cliff dwelling) flowers, many of them endemic to Crete and some quite rare.
Several pairs of griffon vultures nest in the cliffs of the gorge and you will generally see them fly above you.
The walk through the gorge
The gorge used to be considered difficult because of a passage which had to be negotiated with a rope. About 20 years ago a solid metal ladder was attached to the rock face instead of the rope, making the passage easy – as long as you do not suffer from fear of heights (it is a little over 10m in height).
Later on (around 2004?) a path was built which avoided the ladders and made it a little bit more comfortable for people with fear of heights (it’s still exposed though). Unfortunately the path has not been maintained and some parts have become slippery and the handrail is loose or missing in places. Because the path with the ladders has not been used much (or maintained) it has become unsafe as well (the ladders themselves are fine, solidly built and safely anchored but some parts above them are slippery). So slowly we are heading for a dangerous situation unless the “new” path is fixed soon.
The walk through the gorge of Aradena is easier going upwards, starting at the beach of Marmara and heading to the abandoned village of Aradena. There are several slightly tricky passages that require less experience and concentration going up than going down. The fact that you are walking up from sea level to a height of about 600m is not very noticeable because the climb is spread over the length of the gorge.
Marmara to Aradena village – 7.5km / 2½ to 3 hours – 600m ascent
You cannot miss the start of the gorge. Just walk up following the path in the river bed. The beginning of the walk is between high cliffs so you will get plenty of shade unless it’s the middle of the day. There are a lot of oleander bushes (they flower from May to July) in the river bed. Avoid touching them, they are poisonous and some people will develop allergic reactions from simple skin contact. After about 30 minutes walk, the gorge widens a little and you will come to a large olive tree and see a sign pointing to the right with Taverna Livaniana written on it. This path takes you up to the village of Livaniana. This is an alternative if you just want a short walk through the gorge. Otherwise keep going straight up the gorge.
The path is marked with stone cairns and with spots of colour paint. Pay attention to them because there are several places where you might take the wrong route. You would not get lost but might make it a little bit more difficult. In a few spots there are two paths that have been marked. Don’t panic, in this case both routes are OK. The walk through Aradena is a little like walking up a staircase with very wide steps: you walk for a while on almost flat ground, then get to a short steep part then flat again and on like this. There are seven steep passages. These are the parts where you are better off walking up.
At the second steep place, in the middle of large oleander bushes there is a small spring, a little hidden from the path. This is the only water place in the gorge. This spring is really easy to miss (there are two paths that are marked with dots and one of them does not pass near the spring) so do not rely on it for water and make sure that you carry enough for the whole walk. After about one and a half to two hours you will arrive at a kind of fence across the gorge and have to turn left and start climbing a path which was built to avoid the famous (or infamous) ladders. The path climbs up into the western side of the cliff and descends again into the gorge. The path is well built and reasonably wide but you still need a little head for heights as it goes into the side of the cliff.
Note that there has been almost no maintenance on this part of the path for a long time and parts of it are badly eroded and slippery. Some of the wooden railings have gone and others are not stable anymore.
If you want to go the old way continue in the gorge and you will arrive at the metal ladders within a couple of minutes. The higher one moves a little when you are on it but don’t worry, it is really solid. After the ladder keep climbing up until you rejoin the other path. Note that because this path has been disused parts of it above the ladders are slippery and eroded and not very safe.
Soon after this passage you can see the bridge which leads from Anopolis to Aradena high above you. You need to pass under the bridge (where you will often encounter rubbish and assorted nasties) and keep walking for another 10 minutes up the river bed. You then get to the very good path leading out of the gorge. If you go to your left it takes you to the village of Aradena, if you take the one leading up to the right (it starts about 40m further up the river bed) it takes you out on the other side of the gorge towards the village of Anopolis.
Aradena village to Marmara – 7.5km / 2½ to 3 hours – 600m descent
You can enter the gorge from either side of it by following the excellent paved path that was built centuries ago to cross the gorge.
The walk down through the gorge takes about the same amount of time as the walk up and requires a little bit more care to negotiate several steep descents.
What to take with you and what to watch for
To walk safely in this gorge you will need walking shoes with a reasonable grip.
Do not ever walk in the gorge of Aradena when it is raining or has rained recently: the risk of stones falling is very real. On the subject of stones, there are a fair amount of goats in the gorge (no, they are not wild!) and these have a tendency to dislodge stones. Do not pass right underneath a spot where there are goats. If you have no alternative way, wait till the goats have moved away and if necessary chase them away (by throwing stones at them, of course!).
There is a small spring in the gorge but it is easy to overlook it so best take enough water for a 3 hours walk. You can get drinks and buy water at Aradena and Marmara.
Getting to Aradena
Aradena is located 3km from Anopolis and 15km from Hora Sfakion and is connected by a good road. The problem of course if you go there by car is that you will need to get back to it after the walk.
There is generally no public transport to Aradena but since 2013 there has been a daily morning bus in the summer months from Hora Sfakion to Aradena. Enquire in Hora Sfakion or at KTEL.
Alternatively you could get a taxi from Hora Sfakion (around 20/25 Euro) or try to hitchhike.
Getting to Marmara
Marmara is located at around one hour walking time to the West of Loutro. The path is quite clearly marked and splits into two branches after Finix. One branch descends to Lykos then traverses the cliff (more scenic but not so good if you have problems with heights), the other uses the dirt track (that leads to the village of Livaniana) for a little while before heading down towards Marmara.
Alternatively, from May to October there is a small boat taking people from Loutro to Marmara at 11.00 and returning to Loutro at 17.00. Check in Loutro if it is running.
You can also arrange for a taxi boat, either from Loutro or by asking at the café at Marmara.
Greece Looking to Make Crete an All Year Round Tourism Destination
Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura recently presented the national and regional tourism policy for the development of Crete and its promotion as a 365 days a year destination.
Speaking during the 3rd Regional Conference on the Reconstruction of Production, a conference focusing on the development of Greece’s largest island, Minister Kountoura said that 2017 is a “spectacular year” for Greece with record numbers in arrivals and revenue.
She underlined that Crete is a leading destination in Greek tourism and this year welcomed a significant increase in arrivals and revenue, as shown by official figures.
According to the ministry’s plan for Crete to extend the island’s summer tourism season and boost visitor numbers, thematic tourist products are being promoted throughout the island, agreements are being sealed with tour operators and travel agencies and negotiations with airlines are taking place.
In this context, the tourism ministry is seeking to ensure that a sufficient number of hotels, tourism businesses and the local market will operate throughout the year to facilitate visitors.
Moreover, priorities for the island’s development include linking tourism with the agricultural sector.
“Crete has excellent local products and the unique Cretan diet, and their connection with tourism will strengthen the professionals and producers and will give the tourist product a high added value,” Kountoura said.
The minister added that the government and the tourism ministry are promoting sustainable tourism development, aiming for the economic benefits to benefit all local communities, create new jobs and increase investment.
While on Crete, Kountoura also attended a meeting with sector representatives and all the productive bodies of the prefecture, held at the Chamber of Chania.
The tourism ministry is in close cooperation with the Region of Crete, local authorities, chambers, local tourism bodies and the private sector to implement programs and actions for the development, promotion and promotion of Crete, an announcement by the ministry said.
Spinalonga! An abandoned island shrouded in mystery
For decades after it was abandoned, not much was known about the Greek island of Spinalonga or its days as a leper colony – but all that is changing.
I caught my first glimpse of Spinalonga four years ago from a steep hilltop overlooking the sleepy village of Plaka in north-eastern Crete. The diminutive 8.5-hectare islet in the Gulf of Mirabello stood completely in shadow, dark and foreboding as if blackened by coal, while the butterscotch-hued Spinalonga Peninsula that curls around the island like a sleeping cat’s tail basked in the golden light of the setting sun.
A stone’s throw from Plaka, the arid, rocky islet once served as a military stronghold during Venetian (and later Ottoman) rule; a medieval citadel stands testament to that chapter in the island’s history. In 1904, after the Cretans evicted the Turks from Spinalonga, the islet was transformed into a leper colony, where, by 1913, after Crete became part of Greece, anyone afflicted with the disease was sent. At its peak, the colony comprised nearly 400 inhabitants.
Leprosy, which causes disfiguring skin sores and debilitating nerve damage, has long carried with it negative social stigmas. Those burdened with leprosy were shunned, stigmatised and mistreated by their families, communities and even medical professionals. In fact, stigmatisation was often so extreme that since ancient times leprosy has been called the ‘death before death’.
Once diagnosed, these victims had their property and financial assets seized, their citizenship rights revoked and their identity wiped clean. They were then deported to Spinalonga, where they never received treatment for their disease. The sole doctor assigned to the island only made the trip from Plaka if someone was struck by another illness. What’s more, even though treatment for leprosy was found as early as the 1940s, the Greek state kept the colony operational until 1957. Only after a British expert visited the island and compiled a damning report denouncing the island doctor and the state for failing to provide proper medical treatment and housing did the government officially close Spinalonga.
I wasn’t able to visit the island that day four years ago, but since reading Victoria Hislop’s bestselling novel The Island, a melodramatic telling of family secrets, betrayals and star-crossed love affairs set in the confines of the leper colony, I’ve returned to learn what life was truly like for those exiled on Spinalonga.
Viewed from across the teal water of the Gulf of Mirabello on a windy summer afternoon, white speedboats zipping past, Spinalonga paints a pretty picture. But as our small ferry from Plaka approached the islet, the citadel loomed above us like a dark cloud.
I was accompanied by Maurice Born, ethnologist and co-author and translator of Vies et morts d’un Crétois lépreux (Lives and deaths of a Cretan leper), which he wrote with Epaminondas Remoundakis, a leprosy survivor who advocated for improved living conditions and fair treatment of those living on Spinalonga.
“You see,” Born said as we passed through a multi-arched tunnel in the fortress walls known as Dante’s Gate, “the story of Spinalonga is the story of a massive lie.”
For decades after the 1957 closure of the leper colony, little was known about the island. The government, anxious to erase any trace of the colony’s existence, burned all its files. And the surviving lepers refused to speak of their experiences. For years it was as if Spinalonga had never existed.
But Hislop’s 2005 novel – which spawned a hit television series – changed all that. Suddenly, people were talking; everyone was an expert. The government, thrilled at the author’s rose-tinted portrayal of the colony, let them talk, and a romanticised, erroneous story of life in the leper colony was born.
We emerged onto a sunny village street lined with the crumbling remains of Venetian and Turkish homes. Born paused to point out a frontless, roofless stone ruin that had once housed a bistro run by lepers. “The state, seeking to erase the stain on their reputation, wanted to destroy all evidence of the leper colony. But then, in the 1980s, they realised that the tourists were coming with the specific purpose of visiting the leper colony,” he explained, laughing at the irony.
Another arch opened onto what was the commercial street, a shaded strip with shops (something the lepers were only authorised to have as of the 1930s), a cafe and a small school. One side of the strip has been restored for tourist purposes, with storefronts now sporting wooden shutters in a rainbow of colours. Not far away stands a cavernous stone building that still houses the incinerator used to burn infected clothing.
As we walked through the abandoned village, Born continued to reveal details of life in the colony. Before the 1930s, Spinalongians “lived in a frantic state of selfishness, thinking only of survival,” he explained. “No-one looked after one another, the priest had difficulty finding people to help bury the dead.”
It wasn’t until Remoundakis arrived and formed the Brotherhood of the Sick of Spinalonga, a society dedicated to improving conditions on the island, that conditions began to improve. The group lobbied the Greek government for the right to marry and to operate businesses.
“Until the Brotherhood, all that counted was food, gambling and raki (a strong grape-based spirit popular in Crete),” Born said. But the Brotherhood worked to establish order and a better quality of life on the island. Sometimes concerts were held by musically-talented residents. Someone donated a record player, which was kept at one of the cafes, and patrons would listen to music.
One of the Brotherhood’s most important rules was a ban on mirrors; no-one wished to see themselves. But it was impossible not to observe the ravages of the disease in the other residents.
“They sought solitude in order to escape the face of the other,” Born said.
And so, in 1938, colony residents received permission from the state to dynamite part of the medieval fortress wall and clear a path around the island’s perimeter, navigable even by those who had been handicapped by their illness. The new path provided those banished to the island some semblance of liberation.
We made our way past the pile of boulders left by the demolition. The suffocating feeling I felt in the village vanished as we followed the trail. Strong winds whipped off the Aegean Sea and across the path like a prisoner freed from handcuffs. I took in the spectacular view of the Bay of Mirabello and inhaled the salty scent of the sea.
We passed the lonely Church of St George, built centuries ago by the Venetians, and arrived at a small cemetery. “When tourists began coming to the island in the 1980s, many of the visitors would desecrate the cemetery,” Born said. In 2013, the bones of the deceased were placed in a proper ossuary next to the cemetery and covered with new concrete plaques.
The island was silent save for the rustling of the wind moving through the grass and the faint whiz of passing motorboats. At the cemetery’s entrance, a small plaque urges respect for the poor souls buried on that rocky hillside overlooking the sea and the mountains of Crete.
It has taken several decades for their story to be told, but perhaps those who never escaped Spinalonga have found peace at last.
Crete Gorges are the magnificent monuments of nature and will give you a flavor of the beauty of this wonderful Greek Island. If you are an adventurous traveler, there are many opportunities to explore the great gorges and mountains in Crete. The options for hiking in the island are countless, so we have selected only the most popular and beautiful Crete Gorges.
1) Samaria Gorge, the most famous of all Crete Gorges
Samaria Gorge is one of the most famous Crete Gorges. It is located in the sierra of White Mountains in Chania. Its length is 18 km and is the longest gorge of Crete and Europe. It has a width from 150 meters to 3 meters, which is the narrowest point of the gorge, called “Doors”. In 1962 it was declared a National Park of Greece and residence of many endemic birds and different species. The most famous of the animals that find refuge in Samaria Gorge is the Cretan goat (Kri Kri). There also herbs and rare plants growing there, such as the wild burning bush and wild flowers.
The entire trail is very well marked and is the most walked path in Greece. The path to the gorge begins from Omalos, at Xyloskalo point, at an altitude of 1,200 m. It is a narrow path that descends. From the very beginning you feel the awe dominating you: majestic mountains and an endless ravine gush in front of you! The end of the route is beautiful, as you face the Libyan Sea and the magnificent beach of Agia Roumeli! A refreshing dip in the sea and relaxing on the shore of the beach is the beautiful end of our tour in the beautiful and majestic Gorge Samaria – the most famous of all Crete Gorges!
2) The Gorge of Agia Irini in Chania
The gorge of Agia Irini (St. Irene) in Selino is located in the west of the White Mountains, 43 km from Chania. The gorge has a unique beauty , it was named like this from the village of Agia Irini located near the north entrance. It has a length of 7.5 km and is part of the European E4 path. The time required for crossing it is about 3 hours. The village of Sougia with its beautiful beach is 5 km from the southern entrance of the gorge. In the gorge shelter many animal species like the Cretan wild goat (Kri Kri) and grow several species of trees, plants and herbs.
During the Turkish occupation in the gorge found refuge many Greek rebels. In the surrounding area is the beautiful church of Christ, built in 1358 AD and the church of St. George, which was built in 1460 AD, and other important monuments and sights worth seeing. The Gorge of Agia Irini is the second most important of the Crete Gorges after Samaria Gorge.
3) Imbros Gorge In Chania
Imbros Gorge is certainly worth a visit, since it is one of the most beautiful and famous Crete Gorges. Its landscape will enchant you! It is near Sfakia, south of Chania. It starts from the small plateau of the village of Imbros and ends at the village Komitades offering wonderful views of the Libyan Sea. Its length is 7 km and is easy to be crossed any time of year. The time required is approximately 3 hours.
It is a gorge with rocky formations, narrow in some points and wild vegetation with trees, literally growing through the stones and rocks! The most beautiful part of the gorge is in the middle of the route where the rocks are very close to each other and the distance that separates them is only 2 meters.
4) Kourtaliotiko Gorge In Rethymno
Kourtaliotiko Gorge is located in the prefecture of Rethymnon about 22 km south of the city. It starts from the village Koxare, follows the river Kourtaliotis and ends in the beautiful beach of Preveli. Halfway through your journey you will meet the road that passes through the gorge with parking and paths leading to the beautiful church of St. Nicholas. Towards the end of the gorge there is a point that resembles a tropical lagoon and is called the beach of the palm trees.
The gorge has incredible beauty and the scenery is wild. It has rich flora and fauna and the river is divided into five streams which then are united and form small lakes and a huge waterfall! Throughout the route you will notice that the gorge is narrow and the rocks are huge and full of small caves. Kourtaliotiko Gorge is a miracle of nature, as many other Crete Gorges! It is really worth a walk to see the beauty and wildness of the Cretan landscape!
5) Patsos Gorge In Rethymno
The impressive, wooded Patsos Gorge located inland of Rethymno Prefecture, in the northwestern part of the municipality of Amari. It is a beautiful gorge, crossed by a small river. Its length reaches two kilometers and you will need 2 hours in total to cross it. The height difference between the entrance and its highest point, reaches 240 meters. In the gorge, you will find rest areas and a bird observatory.
You will be impressed by the huge trees and lush vegetation, the high rocky walls and the chapel of St. Anthony, built in a large cave. It is one of the most popular Crete Gorges for hiking adventures.
6) The Gorge of Agios Nikolaos (St. Nicolas)
The gorge of Agios Nikolaos or Rouvas Gorge is located in Heraklion. You can start from the Lake Zaros, and after 1.5 km you will come across the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos (St. Nicolas). You follow the path to the left and ascend towards the entrance of the gorge. The spectacle is not very pleasant since in 1994 that point burned (it is about the 1/3 of the gorge). But when you skip this point and keep hiking, you will see the real beauty!
The length of the gorge is 4 km and the route can be uphill or downhill. During the winter months and the early days of spring, the stream of the gorge is still flowing. All along the gorge there are resting places and fountains.
7) Agiofarago Gorge In Heraklion
Agiofarago Gorge, one of the special Crete Gorges, is located in Heraklion, between the Monastery of Odigitria and the seaside village Kaloi Limenes. It will take you about 20 minutes to cross. At the beginning of the route, you will see the church of Agia Kyriaki which is in a cave! In the gorge is also the church of St. Anthony which is also partly in a cave and was the center of the ascetics of the region. The several archaeological findings in Agiofarago, show that there has been activity in the Minoan and Venetian times. Characteristic is the Minoan, circular, domed tomb near the church of St. Anthony. Shortly after, you will find a cave with a low entrance and a large room. The Abbot of the Monastery of St. Anthony lived there.
According to history, Agiofarago was inhabited by hermits since at least the 11th century. When you cross the gorge you will reach a beautiful beach overlooking the Libyan Sea! We recommend good to keep water with you, as in the gorge there are no sources of water.
8) The Gorge of Tripiti
The gorge of Tripiti in Heraklion is located south, near the village of Lentas. It got its name from the church of Panagia Tripiti, which is built inside the cave of the gorge. It is relatively small in length and you can cross it even by car or motorbike. The scenery is magical and the tall cliffs that rise in many parts of the gorge are breathtaking! To get there, you have to cross by your car a part of Asterousia Mountains and passing from Vasiliki village.
The entire route is amazing and quite difficult at the same time, because of the dirt road. But it is worth a visit and the scenery will amaze you! The wild nature of Crete Gorges, once again, will leave you speechless with the few trees that grow inside the stone slopes of rocks and the high mountains surrounding the area! After you have passed the gorge, you will see the beautiful beach of Tripiti with crystal clear waters! There, you can spend a day of relaxation or even to camp under the trees!
9) The Gorge of the Dead In Heraklion
The Gorge of the Dead or else, the Gorge of Zakros is located in the municipality of Itanos, 39 km southeast of Sitia. It begins shortly after Pano Zakros and ends in the beautiful Kato Zakros with the crystal beach! When you arrive at the entrance of the gorge, leave your car at the designated area and start hiking. At the end, you can take the bus from Kato Zakros to take you back to your car.
The gorge is very nice and all along the route you will come across many small caves which, in Minoan times, were used as tombs. That’s why it is called the Gorge of the Dead. The duration of the hike is about 1.5 hours and the scenery is breathtaking! Every year, the gorge welcomes hundreds of people from abroad and Greece that come to enjoy the beauty of the imposing landscape and then, swim in the beautiful Kato Zakros! It is an excursion highly recommend to lovers and fans of the wild beauty offered by Crete!
10) The Gorge of Ha In Lasithi
The gorge is located in Ha, north of Ierapetra. The entrance of the gorge is located at an altitude of 370 meters and the output goes down and ends at an altitude of 140 meters. Towards the end of the gorge there is a large waterfall at a height of 215 meters. The gorge has also rich flora and fauna. It is one of the famous and magnificent Crete Gorges. It has been visited by many travelers from around the world since it belongs to the 10 most beautiful gorges of Europe! It is a wild gorge, most appropriate for experienced hikers having all necessary equipment.
The visit to the gorge of Ha is a challenge! If you accept it and you will be rewarded with an incredible view and an amazing Cretan experience!
European Heritage Days Celebrated with Free Entrance to Museums over the Weekend
Archaeological sites and museums throughout Greece will be open to the public for free, on the weekend of September 23-24, to share the history of their locations, and to celebrate European Heritage Days, said a statement from the Ministry of Culture on Thursday.
“Through books and photographs, sounds, songs and dances, walks, performances and fairy tales, cities will reveal themselves through short or long stories, private or public, real or imaginary,” the ministry said, at 117 sites throughout the country.
The annual event is organised by the Council of Europe and the European Union to promote the cultural heritage of Europe. It will run between 22-24 of September, with free entrance for two of those days.
Crete Hotels Give Senior Travelers Fall, Winter Discounts
Aiming to boost year-round tourism, hotels on Crete are launching a discount holiday pilot program for senior travelers this fall and winter.
Applicable at a number of hotels in Rethymno, Heraklio and Georgioupoli in Chania, the initiative will offer some 50,000 German pensioners seven-day holidays at four- or five-star hotels at a discount starting October 15 to December 15 and then again from January 15 to May 7.
According to Rethymno Hoteliers Association president Manolis Tsakalakis, hotels in the said regions are fully booked for the first period and 90 percent booked for the second.
The initiative, a collaboration between a Germany-based Turkish-owned travel agency, Crete hoteliers and carriers offering charter flights, comes within Crete’s tourism authorities’ efforts to enhance winter tourism to the island. The holiday package deals will include visits to archaeological sites, excursions to Cretan villages and towns as well as shopping outings.
Local tourism professionals hope to extend the program – which has successfully been implemented in Cyprus, Turkey, Morocco and Dubai – to Scandinavian, French and other European senior tourists. The goal, they say, is for sales to offset the losses of lower accommodation rates.
The Gorge of Milonas starts between the villages of Agios Ioannis and Schinokapsala, at an altitude of 500m, and ends 7kms down at the beach of Kakia Skala. It’s not possible to walk the entire gorge, because of the waterfall(s), but from the beach up you can walk to the waterfall of Milonas. The waterfall is 40m high and lies at an altitude of 300m.
In winter/early spring there is more water and another waterfall forms next to the big one making it more spectacular than in summer. But even in summer it’s a nice place to go, although it can be hot walking up there. At the bottom of the waterfall is a small pond, surrounded by rocks, making it a nice place to cool down after the walk if the weather is warm. Go on a weekday, early in the morning or later in the afternoon and you don’t meet anyone else. Nice place for a visit before (or after) going to one of the beautiful beaches around, like Agia Fotia or Galini beach.
How to get there:
Driving east from Ierapetra, on the road to Makrigialos, after passing Koutsounari and the big Kakkos Bay Hotel, you come to a serpentine bend. In the middle of the bend, on the left side of the road is a sign ‘Milonas Waterfall’. Follow the dirt road up, which is accessible for all cars, until you come to a sign again. There you can park your car, and follow the path for about 20 minutes up to the waterfall. The path is clearly marked and climbs up for about 10 to 15 minutes. It follows a concrete ditch, now empty, that was build in the 60’s to carry the water from the waterfall. You can also walk all the way up from the beach, following the riverbed, which takes about 1,5 hours. The view towards the Thrypti mountains is beautiful from here.
There are a number of opportunities for buying or starting a business in Crete; popular businesses include bars,
tavernas, shops or a hotel/apartment complex.
Local Crete estate agents advertise businesses for sale on the web so that’s a good place to start your search, and
there are also business listings for sale on our website forum
Whether you are setting up a business from scratch or purchasing an existing business, it is vital that you employ the
services of a Greek lawyer and a local accountant to advise you on the legalities, liabilities and taxes.
Opening your own business takes time and determination – finding premises, registering the business at the
chamber of commerce, the tax office, the national insurance office and applying for operational licences (if required)
– but it can be achieved with the help of a local lawyer and good accountant who will guide you through the whole
Most small businesses in Crete manage to make a steady income but don’t expect to make a small fortune and be
aware that the economic crisis, austerity measures and tough new tax obligations has forced many small
businesses to close.
The tourist orientated businesses in Crete resorts close during the winter months and rarely do small summer
businesses make enough money to see the owners comfortably through the winter months when they close.
Generally the most successful businesses are those that are in a position to cater to the needs of tourists and locals
with a year-round clientele.
Professionals and tradesmen must register with the appropriate professional or trade organisation to operate legally
in Greece. For help with getting qualifications recognised and translated go to any KEP Centre (citizens service
centre) or lawyer.
In many trades a course and an exam in Greek must be undertaken, irrespective of whether you have the equivalent
or higher qualifications from another country, in order to legally work a trade in Greece.
You should use the services of a local accountant to register, and you will need his services year-round as a self
employed individual to deal with national insurance contributions, VAT and taxes.
Due to the hassle and expense for tradesmen and professionals to become legally self employed many non Greek
tradesmen and professionals practice their trade ‘off the books’, particularly amongst the expatriate community, but
be aware that it is illegal to practice a trade or business without being registered and you could find yourself on the
wrong side of the Greek tax authorities.
Once you register a business or as self employed you are obliged to make monthly contributions to the National Insurance fund for the self employed, OAEE (it used to be called TEVE) or TAE – the Merchants fund.
Running a bar or taverna can mean very long hours and hard work with little time to enjoy the lifestyle that you are probably moving for.
For any business dealing with food and drink the owner and staff must undertake a series of health checks and obtain a health certificate / book.
Information about the Beaches in Crete island, in Greece but also information about beaches in many locations of the island: Crete is the largest island of Greece and its coastline of 1,046 m (650 miles) provides hundreds of beautiful beaches. Located between the southern side of Aegean Sea and the northern side of the Libyan Sea, Crete gets very popular in summer due to the gorgeous beaches, the traditional lifestyle of the locals and the beautiful nature. Among the most exotic sandy Crete beaches is Balos, a wonderful place in Chania with crystal Caribbean-like water. This place amazes visitors with the stunning natural beauty. Another of the most beautiful beaches of Crete is the exotic beach of Elafonissi in Chania, on the westernmost spot of Crete, as well as the long, sandy beach of Falassarna. Finding a perfect beach is not a problem for visitors, as there are nice clean beaches in Crete all around the island. Some Crete beaches are organized and others are secluded, but all are clean. Occasionally in August, strong winds blow on the northern side of Crete creating large waves. These days the beaches are not appropriate for swimming except for skilled swimmers. Beaches on the southern side of Crete are less windy but sometimes they can also be affected.
List with the best 10 beaches in Crete
The large island of Crete is famous for its fantastic beaches. Small or large, organized or secluded, the beaches of Crete are wonderful places to spend a long day under the sun. Discover our best beaches of Crete: Balos, Elafonissi and Falassarna in Chania, Preveli in Rethymno, Vai in Lassithi, and more.
1. Balos beach in Chania Balos is a fantastic location on the north western side of Crete, in the region of Chania. This amazing place is like the Caribbean side of Crete. With exotic waters, soft white sand and a huge island with a Venetian Castle on top, Balos amazes all visitors at first sight. It can be reached by car through a track road from Kissamos or by excursion boat from Chania Town and Kissamos.
2. Elafonissi beach in Chania Located on the south western side of Crete, Elafonissi is a fantastic beach with exotic crystal waters. This place is a heaven on earth, with soft white and pink sand and with cedar trees reaching the coastline. Elafonissi means the island of the deer and is a magical place that should not be missed during your trip in western Crete. Part of the beach is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas.
3. Vai beach in Lassithi On the north eastern side of Crete, in the region of Lassithi, is a fantastic beach called Vai. The special thing about this beach is that it is surrounded by the largest palm tree forest in Europe, consisting of 5,000 trees. The soft sand, the crystal water and the natural beauty make this beach an inviting place for families. In the past, Vai was a free camping site but now free camping is prohibited there.
4. Falassarna beach in Chania Falassarna is a large sandy beach on the western side of Crete, in close drive from Kissamos town. This fantastic place is ideal for families with kids due to the organized facilities and the soft sand. It is also nice for windsurfing and in fact, there is a windsurfing station there in summer months. Above the beach there is the archaeological site of Ancient Falassarna.
5. Preveli beach in Rethymno On the southern side of the prefecture of Rethymno is a place of great natural beauty, Preveli. This beach is actually where a river flows into the sea, passing through many palm trees and forming a lake close to the sea. There are water sports in this lake to explore the river, while the sandy and unorganized beach of Preveli is a wonderful place to swim.
6. Matala beach in Heraklion Matala was famous in the 1960s and 1970s as a hippie place. In fact, many hippies would come and spend many days or even months in th caves above the beach of Matala. Today the hippies are long gone and the nice seaside village attracts many families for the long, sandy and organized beach. Matala is a convenient place to stay during your holidays in Crete and a nice base for excursions in the region.
7. Rodakino beach in Rethymno On the southern side of Rethymno, close to the tourist village of Plakias, is the large and sandy beach of Rodakino. Partly organized with sunbeds and umbrellas and partly secluded, Rodakino beach has soft sand and crystal waters, making it ideal for families with kids and for people looking for some calm moments. Some seaside taverns and apartments line up this beautiful place.
8. Plakias beach in Rethymno Plakias is a lovely tourist place on the southern side of Rethymno, Crete island. The seaside village has many tourist facilities and a calm environment, away from the noisy world. Just in front of the village, there is a large and sandy beach with crystal waters. Part of Plakias beach is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, while there are also some fish taverns and apartments lining up the beach.
9. Tymbaki beach in Heraklion A vast beach with both sandy and pebbled parts, Tymbaki is located on the southern side of Heraklion. Also known as Kokkinos Pyrgos, Tymbaki has an organized part with sunbeds, umbrellas and few seaside taverns with delicious local recipes. Geographically Tymbaki is located between two large tourist places of southern Crete, Matala and Agia Galini, which makes it a convenient base for excursions in the region.
10. Istro beach in Lassithi In close distance to the town of Agios Nikolaos, in the region of Lassithi, is a nice beach with golden and white sand. Istro beach in eastern Crete is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas and provides a nice family place to swim. The crystal waters and the relaxing environment amaze all visitors at first sight. Due to its large size, Istro also offers some spots for privacy.
The seaside resort of Bali is located in a large gulf, 30km east of Rethymno and 43km west of Heraklion. Next to the village passes the National Road linking Heraklion and Rethymno, making Bali accessible from any part of the island. It is ideal for family and romantic holidays. Bali has four beaches, which are formed in sandy coves with nice greenish waters. The beaches are almost always calm, since the direction of Bali is western. They all are suitable for children and well organized. Moreover, water is cool because of the several springs that carry fresh water into the sea.
Livadi is the first beach you come across as you enter the village and is the largest in the region. It is formed in an open bay, which is more susceptible to winds than the other three. It is very well organized and always crowded, but less scenic than the others. Because of the valley near the beach, it is called Livadi (i.e. meadows). At the east end of Livadi, there are the two separate small beaches of Kouskouras.
Continuing, in front of the village center, there is the enclosed bay of Varkotopos with a beautiful beach with sand and gravel in front, which is very well organized and busy. It is ideal for young children, since the waters are shallow and all the necessary amenities are nearby.
LIMANI (HARBOR) BEACH
Further north, you reach the picturesque port of Bali, which is next to a clean beach. Limani, as it is called, is organized and close to many restaurants and shops.
Finally, Karavostasis is the last beach you meet. It is the most beautiful beach of the area. It is much smaller than the other bays, which makes it almost always seem crowded. It’s well organized, but less than the rest ones.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT BALI
Bali is built on the site of the ancient city Astali, which was the port of Axos. Astali is linked to the town where the legendary giant of Crete, Talos, stopped during his journeys. Thus, the mountains south of the village are called Talean Mountains, after Talos. During the Venetian Era, this name was paraphrased to Atali, a name that is still live in the nearby monastery of Atalis. The present name is derived from Turks. Balli in Turkish means “honey” and the area was named so because of the many beehives. According to other beliefs, the fishing village was name Bali after the Turkish word ballik, which means fish.
Today, Bali is a modern resort with a wide variety of taverns, restaurants, small shops, a diving school, bars, discos, clinic and pharmacy. Moreover, buses from Heraklion and Rethymnon run to Bali. The station, however, is located about 1km southern. Furthermore, from the local harbor, excursion boats run daily to Rethymnon. The passengers have the chance to admire a unique coastline with beautiful caves and rock formations. Main attractions of the region are the Monastery Atali (1635), dedicated to St. John, and the church of Panagia Charakiani.
International Sculpture Symposium. An Important Event For Heraklion In Crete (Video)
The International Sculpture Symposium of the Municipality of Heraklion, Crete, is held every two years in the village of Venerato. Sculptors from Greece and various countries are participating. Sculptors create their sculptures in marble or stone. The symposium is held out in public. The works remain at Venerato and the municipality of Heraklion. In the video, you can see shots and sculptures from the symposium that took place in 2014 and 2016. You can also see and photos of creations from earlier symposia at Venerato.
One of the first things you should do when settling in Greece or buying property or a car in Greece is to register for a Tax number (A.F.M. – pronounced aa – fee – mee).
An AFM number is required to buy a car or motorcycle, to rent or buy property and to legally work in Greece (for National Insurance and tax), and to open a bank account, amongst other things.
The local Greek Tax Office (Eforia) is the place to do this. An accountant or lawyer can obtain one for you or you can apply yourself in person at your local tax office.
Documents usually required to obtain a Tax number (A.F.M) are:
passport and a photocopy of passport
birth certificate and a photocopy of birth certificate
marriage certificate if married
Tax Returns Once you have an AFM (Tax) number, you are registered with the Greek authorities and are required to submit a yearly tax return in Greece (Form E1) regardless of income or residency i.e. even if it is a nil return. Property owners may also be required to file a property declaration (Form E9) yearly.
The tax year runs from January to December in Greece. Tax returns are due between February and May of the following year, according to whether you file as a business or an individual.
Although married persons are taxed separately in Greece, they must nevertheless file a joint tax return.
Tax Resident or Non Resident? A new law introduces and clarifies the definition of “tax residency” as follows: An individual is classified as a tax resident of Greece provided that: a) he maintains in Greece his primary residence or habitual abode or the centre of his vital interests or he is a consular or diplomatic employee or public servant working under a similar regime or a public servant of Greek nationality working abroad or b) is physically present in Greece for a period exceeding 183 days during a given 12-month period consecutively or sporadically for the fiscal year, during which the above 12-month period is completed. This paragraph is not applied in case that the individual spends more than 183 days only for tourist or health reasons or other private reasons.
A tax resident in Greece is liable to be taxed for the worldwide income in the Greek tax office. International tax agreements are applied for avoiding the double taxation. So the individual is liable to cover the cost of living and the imputed income, and also must collect income receipts.
NON RESIDENTS in Greece
When buying property, land, a car or boat on Crete. In order to avoid paying income tax on money transferred from abroad you must obtain proof of an international bank transfer ( a pink or white slip ) from your Greek bank.
Open your own bank account in Crete and make any payments in Crete from this account. When transferring money into your Greek bank account from abroad make sure that you get a copy of the money transfer order and a ‘pink (or white) slip’ from the Greek bank for tax purposes. This will prove where the money originated and that tax has already been paid on it.
Transferring cash to Greece – IMPORTANT RULING In the past, any important amount of cash transferred on your person could be declared to the customs authorities at your point of entry into Greece, and they could issue you a receipt. Since 24/3/08 the customs NO LONGER issue this receipt and any cash which you wish to declare to the tax authorities must always to be transferred only through a bank.
If you own a home in Greece You must advise your accountant how many months you reside in your home each year. You must ensure that you keep the electricity bills for the last 6 years because the tax authorities can ask for them as proof of the number of months the home was closed. If you have more than one home in Greece, which is not covered by a lease contract or an EOT license you must keep a copy of the electricity bills to give to your accountant. The tax authorities check the electricity consumption in order to ascertain whether the home was rented illegally.
Income Tax – more detailed information can be found here (worldwide-tax.com)
Tax scale for payroll and pension income The taxable payroll and pension income is subject to tax according to the following scale: Income tax bracket from 01/01/2016) Range of income € Brackets Tax rates Taxes per bracket of income
0-20,000 20,000 22% 4,400
20,001-30,000 10,000 29% 2,900
30,001-40,000 10,000 37% 3,700
Over 40,001 Over 40,001 45%
Tax Credits (tax free allowance) * For income up to 20,000€, the income tax is reduced up to 1,900€. (i.e. in fact for income up to 20,000€ there is a tax allowance of 8,636€). For income more than 20,000€ the reduced tax of 1,900€ is reduced 100€ for every 1,000€.
Only employees and pensioners who are permanent tax residents in Greece are allowed tax credits for personal expenditure in the form of receipts for shopping etc. and in order to qualify the transactions must take place electronically (credit or debit card or bank transfer). . Minimum worth expenditure required by the tax office in order to qualify for the above tax bracket is: 10% of the total income. Non tax residents in Greece are not allowed any deductions or tax credits from their Greek income.
Property Tax The owner of a property is liable to pay property tax if the value of his property exceeds the threshold allowance of 400,000€. (Since 1/1/2010, the previous real estate duty (ETAK) is no longer applied).
New Property Tax – ‘ Special Property Duty’ ENFIA
For 2016/ 2017, real estate owners in Greece will pay the new Property tax (E.N.F.I.A.) in five monthly installments starting in September 2016. The payment process replaces the previous extraordinary/ special property tax that was paid via electricity bills between 2012 and 2014.
Car – Road Tax (Τέλη Κυκλοφορίας) See Driving in Crete:
Tax Offices in Crete
Open 8am to 1pm Monday to Friday.
Heraklion ‘A’ Theotokopoulou and Koronaiou Street ‘B’ Knossou and Natheria Street
Chania 2nd Floor 3 Tzanakaki Street
Rethymnon Hygoum Gabriel 111
Agios Nikolaos Epimenidou 20
The information on these pages is for guidance only and should not be taken as tax advice. Taxation legislation changes frequently and this information may not reflect the latest changes, while tax status and liabilities differ according to individual circumstances. Always consult a Greek accountant regarding your personal tax
status and obligations if you live, work or own assets in Greece.
Of all the Greek islands, Crete is one of the most distinctive and beautiful. Our guide lists great places to stay (from campsites to boutique hotels), the best tavernas and the island’s must sees.
Crete is exceptional in many ways. It is the largest Greek island, has the most diverse mix of landscapes, and stands far to the south of most of the rest of the country. Bits of it are reminiscent of other parts of Greece, but on the whole it stands alone and has its own unmistakeable culture and atmosphere. The north coast of the island is the most populated area, and most well known to tourists. Heraklion (or Iraklion) is the island’s capital and main entry point. A working city, it can be off-putting at first, but it has a world-class museum. Rethymnon and Hania to the west are much more pleasant and retain a distinct Venetian influence. To the east Agios Nikolaos, or Ag Nik to Brits, is one of the island’s major resort, but still retains some character. The interior is home to the White Mountains, which soar to over 2,000m in the western part of the island, and offer some spectacular hikes and drives. The mountains are a bit more gentle to the east, and in their midst they hide the extraordinary basin of the Lasithi plateau dotted with white windmills. The south coast is much more rugged and less visited than the north. It is crisscrossed with gorges and dotted with isolated villages and coves. It is also the stepping off point for the isolated islets to the south of Crete. The last thing that makes Crete stand out from the other islands is the breadth of its history: from the mysterious Minoans with their labyrinthine palaces, through Venetian control, to the daring deeds during the German occupation.
All prices are for one week’s accommodation for two in August and include breakfast unless otherwise stated. Prices outside of this month can be considerably cheaper. The price of food at Greek tavernas is remarkably similar wherever you are, and if anything have gone down in the last few years. You can usually expect to eat well for €15-20 per person. If eating places are cheaper or more expensive than this, it is stated in the text.
Makrigialos (south-east Crete)
Where to stay: The White Houses
These whitewashed fishing cottages are right on the harbour of this quiet fishing village. They consist of three, larger, “houses” and two apartments, all of which are tastefully decorated and well equipped. The influence of the Norwegian owner is plain to see, and the local colour is provided by Nikos who manages the properties with a friendly eye.
Where to eat: Spilia tou Drakou
There are good tavernas lining the harbour but for the best sunset views head 3km out of the village to the “Dragon’s Cave”, which nestles beneath the eponymous cavern. Once the sun goes down the cave is illuminated, and you can tuck into well executed, traditional Cretan food.
Makrigialos already feels fairly isolated but to really get off the beaten track see if any boat trips are running to the island of Koufonissi. Now abandoned, it used to be one of the sources of the shellfish that provided purple dye to Roman emperors. The surprising number of ancient and Byzantine ruins, plus the great beaches, make for a fantastic day of exploration.
Where to stay: Elounda Gulf Villas
Elounda, as one of Crete’s major resorts, is not to everyone’s taste, but if you have the cash these villas are sure to convert you, with luxuries including very private pools and butler service. Behind the deluxe exterior lies a family-run place with traditional Greek hospitality.
Where to eat: Kantoyni
It might be hard to tear yourself away from your butler, but the area has plenty of restaurants. This traditional taverna, above Mavrikano, boasts a great view, friendly service, and local food.
Boat tours run from Elounda to the island of Spinalonga. It’s atmospheric, winding streets are now abandoned, but still seem full of history. The Venetians built a fortress here in 1579 and the island was used as a leper colony in the 20th century. It has inspired artists and writers through the centuries, and was the setting for Victoria Hislop’s novel The Island.
Where to stay: Archondiko Spiti
Crete is full of villas to rent. The “Handsome House” is a good example of an old village house set in a walled garden with its own pool. Being away from the coast means that the surroundings are less commercialised, and Neapoli is a good example of a working Cretan town.
Where to eat: Koudoumalos
On the mountain road between Neapoli and Plaka on the coast by Elounda, this taverna is located in the small village of the same name. The food is based round hearty portions of grilled meat, stews and local products such as cheese.
The Lasithi plateau is a bizarre dinner plate of a landscape surrounded by a lip of high mountains. It used to be highly populated due to its fertile soil and you can still see examples of the white-sailed windmills that irrigated the land (there used to 10,000 of them). Don’t miss exploring the Diktaean Cave near the village of Psychro, the reputed birth place of Zeus, king of the gods, which provides a slightly spooky thrill.
Where to stay: Lato Boutique Hotel
The Cretan capital is not a first choice for many, but it has an honest charm. The Lato is also something different for Crete, offering futuristic chic with views overlooking the town’s old harbour. It is worth upgrading your room to ensure the view.
Where to eat: Elia & Diosmos
The Lato offers three well-regarded restaurants with surprisingly reasonable prices. For a contemporary take on Cretan cooking its worth heading out to the “Olive & Mint” in the village of Skalani just to the south of Heraklion. The ingredients are all sourced locally and the food has won several awards. The mainly Greek wine list is also exceptional.
Knossos, to the south of Heraklion, was the heart of the Minoan kingdom. Its reconstruction, by the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans, remains controversial to this day, but there is no doubting that the rocks still seem to be haunted by the ghosts of the minotaur and his labyrinth. You should also check out some of what was uncovered here in the superb Heraklion Archaeological Museum.
Where to stay: Aris
No trip to Crete is complete without a visit to the mountains. The large village of Anoyia sits in the White Mountains below Psiloritis (previously Mount Ida), Crete’s highest peak at 2,456m. The village is attractive and was a centre of resistance during the second world war – if you look carefully you’ll see that few buildings date from before this as they were destroyed by the Germans. The rooms at the Aris are simple, but boast magnificent views.
Where to eat: Aetos
Anoyia relies not on tourism but sheep farming to make ends meet, and trying the local lamb is a must. The best place for this is the Aetos, with its large charcoal grill standing outside.
Hiking in the mountains is always rewarding but should not be taken lightly; take local advice. An easy short walk (around quarter of an hour) takes you to the Idaean cave, another candidate for the birthplace of Zeus. Certainly a cult to the god once existed here and plenty of finds have been dug up (you can still see the remains of the archaeologists’ rail tracks). More recently, it provided a hideaway for the Cretan resistance and British agents during the second world war.
Where to stay: Eleonas
This complex of 20 cottages in the mountains of central Crete is set within a working farm, and guests are welcome to help feed the animals and even milk the goats. The individual cottages continue the rural theme, and the overall setting is superb, offering plenty of opportunities for exploration and hiking.
Where to eat
Eleonas is a bit out of the way, which is part of its charm. The nearby village of Zaros offers simple eating, but you needn’t stray far from the complex itself, which hosts a popular taverna that shows off the products of the farm. Alternatively another branch of the family that owns Eleonas has set up a taverna by the banks of Lake Zaros, a 1km walk away – the lake trout are excellent.
If you want to visit a Minoan palace in a more authentic state than Knossos, then nearby Phaistos is for you. The ruins of this 4,000 year old structure are still spectacular and much less visited than their famous sibling.
Where to stay: Avli
Rethymno vies with Hania for the title of Crete’s prettiest town, and Avli nestles in the centre of the old Venetian quarter amongst pedestrianised streets. The theme that unites the 12 rooms is a note of extravagant luxury and romance that extends into the bougainvillea-clad courtyard.
Where to eat: Mesostrati
Avli was once just a restaurant, and is still famous for its food (and now has an attached deli which sells local produce). But if you want to go further afield, Mesostrati is worth seeking out. It is just off Martiron Square and is squeezed between two streets, as its name suggests. The draws here is the local meze and the live music, including traditional lyra players.
The main attraction of Rethymno is the city itself, and you could happily spend a day just wandering around it. Make time for the old Venetian fortress, reputed to be the largest the city state ever built and still thoroughly atmospheric.
Where to stay: Camping Elizabeth
Just to the east of Rethymno, and right on the beach, is the oldest and one of the best campsites on the island, with plenty of shady trees, all the facilities you would expect, and access to the sea that many high-priced hotels would kill for.
Where to eat: To Pigadi
The campsite has a basic taverna, but you really need to head into Rethymno to eat well. To Pigadi has a lovely courtyard in the old town and serves Cretan dishes with a twist, such as beef fillet with strawberry and mint sauce.
To the south-east of Rethymno, and set in beautiful countryside, the Arkadi monastery is worth visiting for its 16th century buildings alone. The monastery also has a special place in Cretan hearts. In November of 1866 almost a thousand Greeks sought refuge here from the besieging Ottoman Turks, then the overlords of the island. As a final act of defiance, and rather than be captured, they blew themselves up as the Turks entered the monastery.
Where to stay: Blue House
Loutro has an idyllic location in a cliff-backed cove on the rugged southern coast. What makes it even more special is that it is only accessible by foot or boat. Plenty of people visit the village by day, but only a few can stay in the limited accommodation overnight. The Blue House lives up to its name and has simple, but comfortable rooms – the ones in the top floors are the best.
Where to eat: Blue House
The taverna downstairs, right by the water’s edge, is the perfect place to while away the evening once the crowds have disappeared on the last boat. With a captive audience it would be easy to let standards slip, but the Blue House gets it just right.
The famous gorge in these parts is the Samariá, which is just along the coast and apparently is Europe’s longest. Unfortunately tours run to it from all over the island and, whilst still worth it, it can be rather crowded. The more adventurous should try Aradaina gorge, which is just as spectacular but much less known. Walk up the snaking path from Loutro, and then down the gorge to the lovely pebble beach of Marmara where you can wash the sweat off – this is an all day hike.
Where to stay: Porto del Colombo
An old Venetian building at the heart of Hania’s old town houses this small but exquisite boutique hotel. The interior carries on the historical theme with plenty of dark wood and red velvet.
Where to eat: Portes
Just around the corner a string of tavernas put their tables out onto the narrow street of Portou. Portes, despite being small, stands out for its more adventurous take on Cretan dishes, including treats such as fennel pie.
The western coast of Crete consists of a few relatively sleepy settlements and some of the beast beaches on the island. While no longer the secret they once were, these are still well worth the trek to get to them. The sands of Falasarna in the north sit near the ruins of an ancient Greek city, whilst the small island of Elafonisi in the south lies in an azure blue lagoon set off by pinkish white sand.
From Athens, Crete can be reached by a 9-10 hour ferry or year round flights. From April to October numerous airlines fly direct from the UK to Heraklion and Hania from around £70 each way.
GNTO Submits Video In UN Competition To Promote Greece
The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) has submitted a film showcasing the country’s natural, historical and cultural assets in the second international video competition being run by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
Directed by Antonis Kioukas, “Greece – A 365-Day Destination” runs for 3:36 minutes and will be presented at the 22nd session of the UNWTO’s general assembly, taking place September 11-16 in Chengdu, China, and attended by delegates from more than 150 countries.
The winners of each of the organization’s six regional commissions – Africa, the Americas, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and South Asia – will be selected by a panel comprising the commissions’ chiefs, with Greece hoping to clinch the top spot for Europe.
The competition further includes the People’s Choice Award, where members of the public are invited to vote for their favorite video in an online poll. To vote for Greece’s entry, click here.
“Greece – A 365-Day Destination” will also be screened at the International Tourism Film Festival in Zagreb, running September 13-16, while it will also participate in 16 specialized festival around the world over the course of the year.
University Of Crete Best Greek Higher Education Institution
The University of Crete island maintained its status as the top Greek Higher Education Institution according to the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings.
The University of Crete is ranked in positions 301-350 in the globe, followed by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki at 401-500.
The Athens University of Economics, the University of Ioannina and the University of Athens are at 501-600, while the University of Patras finishes the list of Greek Higher Edycation Institutions at positions 601-800.
The Times Higher Education includes a total of 1,000 institutions.
This prestigious group is drawn from THE’s comprehensive and growing database, which contains hundreds of thousands of data points on more than 1,500 leading international research universities, selected for analysis on the strength of their record in international research and on their global academic reputation.
The University of Oxford in the UK has held on to the number one spot for the second year in a row, while the University of Cambridge has jumped from fourth to second place.
Cambridge’s advance comes at the expense of the California Institute of Technology, which was number one between 2012 and 2016, number two last year, and now shares third position with Stanford.
There plenty of tavernas in Elounda, but the best Cretan cuisine is to be found off the tourist trail / Shutterstock
The celebrity chef and food writer follows the sunshine – and her stomach – to Crete’s north-east coast
A desperate need for sunshine and relaxation led me to the Greek island of Crete, but, as ever, my travels are often led by my stomach.
After landing at Heraklion airport my friends and I drove an hour through stark and sun-bleached landscape to Elounda, on Crete’s north-east coast. A small fishing town made up of a string of villages stretched along the seaside, it’s home to a huge number of places to eat – and a high concentration of luxury hotels.
The pool at Elounda Mare
We checked in at Relais & Chateaux’s Elounda Mare hotel and headed straight for its private beach. Here we got our first taste of Cretan wine, which would prove to be one of the revelations of the trip, and spent a dozy afternoon remembering what sunshine felt like, with occasional dips in the crystal-clear sea.
Before long, though, our minds turned to food. First stop was the hotel’s Yacht Club, for what we’d been craving on the plane: grilled octopus, as well as a whole grilled bass, served with new-style Greek rosé, which has moved on from the syrupy stuff from way back when and is now more like the totally drinkable and trendy Provençal-style pale rosé. This, combined with views of the incredible turquoise bay made for a real fantasy lunch.
Although Elounda has plenty of restaurants, many of them are geared firmly towards tourists, and as a result serve rather standard fare. We visited a few weeks before the start of the holiday season, so it the area was quiet and relaxed, although much of the food on offer seemed to be overpriced and uninspiring.
Summer without the crowds: escape to Greece’s quiet corners
Cretan food’s strength lies in its simplicity, and the island yields incredible produce and the freshest of fish. One place that really understands how to make the best of this was the Ferryman Taverna, which has been running since 1974 at the end of the harbour in Schisma, Elounda’s heart.
At the Ferryman we enjoyed the best taramasalata of the trip, rich and creamy and – crucially – white, not dyed pink like the stuff we so often find back in the UK. Melting, slow cooked lamb was served with orzo, and the freshest, sweetest seafood followed, flavours only enhanced by intermittent wafts of salty sea air.
One of the best ways to explore the area is by boat, so we chartered a catamaran for the day, and told our captain, Tollias, that we were looking for authentic Cretan fare off the tourist trail. He suggested the small historic village of Mochlos, about an hour’s sail from the Elounda Mare.
Mochlos (Region of Crete/incrediblecrete.gr)
Rosé spritzers and fresh melon provided the perfect accompaniment as we glided along the gently undulating Aegean waves. Halfway to our destination however, the winds unexpectedly picked up, and the next thing we knew our journey resembled something closer to a log flume, the crashing surf drenching us from head to toe.
After this exhilarating, if slightly nerve-wracking crossing, we dropped anchor at a remote beach for what was supposed to be a relaxing swim. This actually ended up being a bit more a frantic race against increasingly large waves, and we finally made it back to the boat a little shell-shocked and absolutely ravenous.
We were not to be disappointed however, when we finally arrived at Tavern Ta Kohilia in Mochlos, where a generous array of meze arrived quickly to restore us. Among the highlights were saganaki (pan-seared cheese), incredible sardines doused in olive oil and parsley, deep fried white bait, a crunchy salad and dakos, a traditional Cretan dish of dried out barley bread, doused in sweet crushed tomato, crumbled mizithra cheese and olive oil.
Dakos (Region of Crete/incrediblecrete.gr)
A huge sea bass followed, caught that morning, served simply grilled with a zingy squeeze of green lemon. All of this was washed down with carafes of light rosé, made from the local Kotsifali grape, one of the oldest varieties in the region.
Spinalonga (Region of Crete/incrediblecrete.gr)
This was one of the best days – so good in fact, that we decided to get the boat out a second time, and sailed towards Spinalonga (as featured in Victoria Hislop’s book The Island), ending up in the lovely restaurant Gorgona, in the tiny village of Plaka. The owner, Yiannis, furnished us with yet another glorious feast of fresh fish and meze, with the freshly baked bread and some delicious courgette and cheese fritters being of particular note. The restaurant looked out on to Spinalonga, a melancholy island that was once an Venetian fortress, and later a leper colony, in use as recently as 1957.
Back on the boat, our crew had some of the best tips on where to eat. They recommended two places to experience real Cretan cruisine, further inland. The first was in the picturesque village of Kroustas, where we found the O Kroustas taverna, run by Stavrakakis and his family.
He was a real character and brought us out a large plate of snails on arrival, cooked cretan style in vinegar and rosemary. I have to say these proved something of a challenge, but luckily a delicious variety of grilled lamb, souvlaki, incredible chips (why are Greek chips the best?) and exceptionally light and airy fried cheese balls, were all highly enjoyable. We ate until we were fit to burst, and this was one of the best value meals of the week.
Cretan-style snails with rosemary (Region of Crete/incrediblecrete.gr)
We were also directed to the mountain-top village of Latsida, 250 metres above sea level, on the promise of haunches of lamb cooked for hours by the side of warm coals, at the charming taverna Miliaras. Sadly there was no lamb on the menu that day, but a deliciously unctuous dish of slow-cooked goat and tomato more than made up for it. And the drive alone, winding upwards through the mountains, is worth the journey.
A week sailed by, and we found ourselves on the final day, and the last supper. This was definitely the best of the trip, and was found right at our hotel, at the Old Mill restaurant. Set within the gardens of the hotel, The Old Mill has received multiple Toque d’Or awards as one of the finest restaurants in Greece. High praise indeed, and I must say well deserved.
Elounda Mare’s Old Mill restaurant
If you know me you’ll know that I am not a stickler for fine dining, preferring simplicity, but here they managed to keep the food simple and classic, yet refined. Finally getting to taste the very rare but very Cretan sea urchins in their iodine, sea-salty glory, the most brilliant crab soup, a local chicken pasta that was the pure essence of roast chicken, and meaty white fish with a beef jus. On that high note, we were ready to head home, tanned and a good few pounds heavier.
This Mountains and Gorges of Crete section hopes to give you a flavour of the beauty of this wonderful Greek Island.
You can sit and stare in wonder at these Mountains and Gorges of Crete – or get hiking, trekking, walking, cycling or climbing with this interesting, entertaining and unfussy Guide. There are many ways to enjoy the beautiful Greek Island of Crete…
…stretching out on a sandy beach, soaking up the sun, swimming, snorkelling, wining and dining, dancing the night away, taking a boat trip to watch the dolphins, visiting museums stuffed with Minoan archaeological finds, checking out the actual locations of Greek mythology, discovering the warmth of the Cretan people etc etc.
Well you can have all that and much, much more…
If you are a relatively healthy and active person, the most memorable and enjoyable experiences can be found by exploring the island during long walks or hikes. The Mountains and Gorges of Crete have fabulous flora and fauna which is unique and the scenery breathtakingly stunning and can really be appreciated while out walking.
For the more adventurous there are so many opportunities to explore the great Mountains and Gorges of Crete. Trekking, caving, mountaineering, cycling, climbing and hiking through the mountain ranges, gorges, caves and plateaux is a challenging yet rewarding way to discover Crete and all her beauties.
We’ll gather all the information that you will need as we get first hand experience and reports from the various magnificent Mountains and Gorges of Crete
Mountains of Crete
The Greek Island of Crete is the most mountainous island of Europe with a high mountain range crossing it from West to East, formed by three different groups of mountains.
The White Mountains
The White Mountains or Lefka Ori dominate the landscape of west Crete. They are called White Mountains not because they are covered in snow until late in the spring, but because the sun reflected on the limestone summits gives the appearance of whiteness.
Mount Ida or Psiloritis is a single elongated mountain mass whose highest peak is Timios Stavros (2456m) and is the highest point in Crete. West of Knossos and dominating the landscape of central Crete, Mount Ida is just 3m higher than Pachnes, the highest summit of the White Mountains. Amongst the Mount Ida mountain range are numerous caves, gorges and plateaux.
In east Crete is Dikti or the Lassithi Mountains, a range with many peaks, the highest being Spathi at 2148m. The Mount Dikti range and the Lassithi Plateau, which spreads out between the peaks is home to many myths and legends of Greek mythology.
There are several wonderful gorges to explore on the Greek island of Crete. If you enjoy flora and fauna, walking, trekking and hiking you’ll love visiting Crete. There are many gorges to explore around the Island.
The most impressive of all the gorges of Crete is the famous Samaria Gorge in the Chania region of West Crete. The Samaria Gorge is the longest in Europe, some 18 km and renowned for its majestic beauty. Hiking down the gorge is permitted from May to the end of October, depending on the weather.
For a really good insight, please click this link to read about our personal experience Walking Samaria Gorge.
Imbros Gorge (also known as Faragi Imbrou) is a 11km long canyon located near Hora Sfakion in the Hania region of West Crete. This is a very pleasant and relatively easy walks and, after Samaria, attracts the largest number of tourists.
The Agia Irini Gorge (also known as Ayia Irini) is a section of the world famous E4 European Walking Path and is much less crowded than the Samaria Gorge and thus more appealing to some. We walked the Agia Irini Gorge in mid October 2007 and really enjoyed it
Click here for our own very personal account of walking Agia Irini Gorge!
The Agia Irini Gorge is close to the Samaria Gorge and is located at the White Mountains of Chania in West Crete. The gorge itself is about 7km long and is simply stunning.
Other Crete Gorges
Butterfly Gorge begins high up on the road to Orino and ends at Koutsouras National Park in the Lassithi region of Crete close to the village of Makriyialos.
Pefki Gorge begins just outside the village of Pefki on the road to Agios Stephanos and ends at Aspros Potamos. Again the Pefki Gorge is found in the Lasithi region of East Crete close to the village of Makrigialos.
Moni Kapsa Gorge begins at the village of Kato Pervolakia and ends at the Monastery of Kapsa. This gorge is the deepest of all three of the gorges in the Lasithi region of East Crete close to the village of Makrigialos.
The Gorge of Zakros
Zakros marks the very end of the the long distance walking route named the E4 path, which is throughout Europe and goes through the Gorge of Zakros. It is found at the far east of the Crete in the Lasithi region.
The Zaros Lake – a special excursion in Crete for nature lovers!
Zarou Lake in Crete
Almost 45 kilometers away from Heraklio, on the slopes of Mount Psiloreitis, hidden in a an amazing evergreen forest a little treasure lies in wait for you to discover and spend an extraordinary day breathing fresh air and exploring the beauties of nature; the Votomos Lake, or more commonly known as Zarou Lake!
Zarou Lake in Crete is a small, man-made lake created in the crater formed by the water flow of the Votomos springs and has transformed the area into a small piece of heaven. Ducks, geese, swans, and hundreds of other bird species can be seen swimming in the serene, trout filled turquoise waters. The last remaining functional watermill runs with the power of these waters, and it’s one of the most favorite photography spots in the area.
Next to the lake you will find some small cafes and restaurants that offer you a refreshing beverage and scrumptious, traditional dishes in balconies and terraces in the tranquility of the lake. Some restaurateurs will be more than happy to pack a picnic lunch for you to enjoy in the forest’s designated picnic areas. Start your day with a coffee by the lake side, follow the creek’s path into the forest for a small walk to the waterfalls, admire the calmness of the woods and the peace of mind that only nature can offer so generously; and don’t forget to look for the rare Cretan orchids that blossom in the pine tree shades. On your way you will encounter the Saint Nicholas monastery (about 900 meters from the lake), and 2,5 klms down the path starts the magnificent Saint Nickolas Canyon, which leads to the Rouvas Forest. The entire route to the Rouvas forest from the lake is approximately 10 kilometres and lasts about 4 hours but it’s really worth a try as long as you are equipped with good hiking shoes!
Spend an unforgettable day in the serenity of Zarou Lake in Crete; savor the delectable Cretan food and walk around the forest; and don’t forget your camera!!!
“The Living And The Lost”. An Exhibition By Linda Talbot
THE LIVING AND THE LOST AN EXHIBITION BY LINDA TALBOT AT THE MONASTERY OF KAROLOS, HATZIMICHALI DALIANI STREET 22 CHANIA FROM SEPTEMBER 5 -9 2017
Worked as arts reviewer in London. Published “Fantasy Book of Food” – stories, rhymes and recipes for children, “Five Rides by a River”; bicycle rides in Suffolk, England, with anecdotes and short stories, poetry and short stories for magazines and short stories for adults and children online. Specialises in collage and has had exhibitions each year in Hania since 2008. Also runs mixed media workshops at the Mistral Hotel, Maleme.
ABOUT THE SHOW:
From a sick man who had a black cat slit open, laid over his stomach and left to rot, to a small glass eye allegedly giving protection, superstition has taken strange turns.
In this exhibition, PATTERNS OF PROTECTION – inspired by symbols embroidered on traditional clothes, is one section, with imagery ranging from birds – in Siberia, for instance, tattooed on shoulders to keep the soul in the body and protective hands bearing human eyes, to the surprising power of geometry.
LOST is the second part of the show, disclosing how everyone is lost at some time in the landscape of a lonely mind. Landmarks are alien, disconcerting, dispelling eqilibrium. The lost are hapless in literal or subtly perverted locations.
ODALISQUE is the final section. An odalisque – a chambermaid, slave or concubine in a Turkish harem, is updated here, from one seeking enlightenment through books and pictures in her spare time to a carnal goddess crawling with miniature men.
And there is a selection of work by HERCULES PAPADAKIS.
Hercules is a novelist, visual artist and facilitator of international workshops in personal development. During his stay in Chania the last 7 years, has organised and participate in several exhibitions.
Has presented his collections: «beyond limits», «sea» and the «ideas unlimited» with the participation of many international artists.
The exhibition, with free entrance, is open daily from 7pm to 11pm. And the opening party, where all are welcome, is on Tuesday September 5 from 7pm.
On September the exhibition will move to BOHEME café in Chalidon 26-28, Chania.
Being a mountainous country showered by sunshine for a good part of the year, Greece has natural landscapes blanketed by over 3,600 species and subspecies of plants. The healing properties of many of these medicinal plants have been lauded and used since antiquity by Hippocrates, Theofrastus, Dioscorides and Galen, and became known to the wider world when the ‘herbal bible’,
Dioscorides (40-90 AD) De Materia Medica, was translated into Arabic and Latin in the 12th and 13th C and in German, Spanish, French, Italian and finally English after the 16th century, emerging as the basis of the world’s botanical knowledge.
For thousands of years, chamomile, mint, sage and verbena have been go-to healing herbs for making curative infusions in the majority of Greek homes, but in very recent years a great deal of international research has focused on the health benefits of mountain tea.
German research on Greek mountain tea, also known as ironwort (sideritis) and Tsai tou Vounou, strongly indicated that it can prevent or even reverse Alzheimer’s disease: “By drinking mountain tea for six months, patients with Alzheimer disease reduced the disease to the level it was nine months ago and then it stabilised.”
Mountain tea usually grows in rocky places at an altitude of 1000 metres and above. The plant has been scientifically shown to offer a multitude of important health benefits as it has powerful antioxidant qualities previously recognised only in green tea.
But that’s certainly not all – this herb is also shown to have potent antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal and antioxidant qualities. It is said to boost the immune system; drinking two to three cups of mountain tea every day is thought to help prevent or fight flu symptoms and stress-related ailments such as chest infections, a foggy head, digestive complaints, fatigue and anxiety.
Mountain Tea Facts
* There are around 17 varieties of mountain tea. The ones considered to be of the highest quality in Greece are: Sideritis athoa (from Mount Athos), Sideritis clandestina (from Mt Taygetos & the Helmos mountains), Sideritis scardica (from Mt Olympus), Sideritis raeseri (from Mt Parnassos), Sideritis syriaca (from Crete, where it’s known as malotira, meaning, from the Italian, puling away the harm) and Sideritis euboea (from Evia).
* Mountain tea is best drunk with a big squeeze of lemon, as the vitamin C in the citrus fruit helps the body absorb iron.
All money raised shared between , The Chania Red Cross and the Apokoronas Social Supermarket.
Performers: Loz J and the BaaD Things – Rock U Vamos – Irish Bob and the Terrible tarmacers – Coretheband – Carl Axon and the Rockin’ Rebels –
Tickets – 10 euro – Buy at the gate or from – Jon the Butcher, Vamos – Maddies Kafenion, Kefalas – Piscines Ideales, Kalyves – George’s Garage, Vrysses – The Pear Tree, Almyrida – Cotton Club, Georgioupoulis – Posto di Cafe, Kavros.
Drinks and Food available to buy on site
For information on transport to and from the Event from Kefalas, Plaka, Almyrida, Kalyves, Vamos- or Kavros and Georgioupoulis
Kefalonia (also spelled Cephalonia) is the largest Greek island in the Ionian Sea on the western side of Greece. Like its neighbor Corfu, Kefalonia is much greener than the Greek islands found in the Aegean Sea (like Santorini and Mykonos). The evergreen, cypress, and olive trees provide a gorgeous contrast to the brilliant blue-green Ionian Sea.
Kefalonia is famous for its natural wonders like the Drogarati Cave and Melissani Lake. The island is mountainous, so driving can be a challenge, but the mountain and coastal scenery are spectacular, as seen in the photo of Myrtos Beach above.
The island also has many charming tiny villages that are perfect for exploring. One such village is Sami on the eastern coast of Kefalonia. Sami was used as the setting for the 2001 movie “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin“, which was adapted from the Louis de Bernières book of the same name. This book was set on Kefalonia in World War II, and most of it was filmed in Sami. The German massacre of…
Entering Drogarati Cave on the Greek island of Kefalonia
Drogarati Cave is one of Kefalonia’s most visited natural wonders. The cave was discovered about 300 years ago and has been open to tourists since 1963.
Entering Drogarati Cave can be quite challenging. The staircase leading down into the cave is often damp and slippery, and it’s over 300 feet down to the cave’s large underground cavern. (It’s also 300 feet back up the same stairs.)
Drogarati Cave on the Greek Island of Kefalonia
Once visitors have negotiated the steps down into the Drogarati Cave on the Greek island of Kefalonia, they are rewarded with this huge cavern (65 m x 45 m x 20 m high). The acoustics are superb in the cavern, so it is often used for concerts of up to 500 people. Since the 64-degree temperature is always about the same, it is especially nice to visit or attend a concert on hot summer days.
Drogarati Cave on the Greek island of Kefalonia
The Drogarati Cave is still forming. However, since the stalagmites and stalactites are growing less than a half-inch every 100 years, it’s not likely to change much during our lifetimes.
Fisherman at the small town of Sami, Kefalonia in Greece
Small towns like Sami give visitors the opportunity to explore on their own and interact with the local people. Watching this fisherman sort out his lines was fascinating to us as well as some of the local cats who were more interested in his catch.
Melissani Lake on the Greek island of Kefalonia
Melissani Lake is inside Melissani Cave on the Greek island of Kefalonia. Visitors must walk down a narrow tunnel to reach the shore of the underground lake. The tunnel exit is seen in the photo above.
Melissani Lake on the Greek island of Kefalonia
Small row boats with local guides (almost like Venetian gondolas) take guests around Melissani Lake and into a large chamber that is only accessible by water. Since the roof fell into Melissani lake many years ago, the lake is open to the sky. The sunlight is spectacular on the water.
Balos Beach is one of the most famous beaches on the island of Crete. Thanks to its turquoise water, the crystal-clear view to the ground, the white and pink sand (due to millions of crushed shells) as well as the amazing and exotic scenery Balos attracts many tourists and photographers to visit this unique place. Visit this small paradise by boat from Kissamos port or by trekking from Kaliviani. Being an early bird will reward you with a few hours of breathtaking remoteness. With a bit of luck, you may spot some sea turtles or monk seals while snorkeling or scuba diving through the warm Aegean Sea.
2. Matala Hippie Caves
Natural caves to live in – that sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Years ago, in the 1960s, Hippies used the caves carved into the sand rock cliff of Matala as nomadic homes. Today, the old fishing village with its beautiful beach and azure waters doesn’t host hippies anymore. But you can still feel the spirit of the bohemian past: The caves are open to visitors and you will be able to climb through the rocks surrounding them. If you are looking for a true hippy adventure, visit this unique place during the annual international Matala Beach Festival.
3. The Palace of Knossos
The palace of Knossos can be found on Kephala hill, 5 km south of Iraklio, the capital of the island of Crete. With its 20,000sqm Knossos is the largest and most important Minoan monument. It was the residence of the wise King Minos. The ancient Greek mythology says that the palace was built with great complexity and no one who was inside it could ever find his way out. Before the palace was destroyed, it included workrooms, food processing centres, a central storage point and a religious and administrative center. Nowadays, visitors can explore the impressive ruins within an organised tour to get an idea of how the ancient Crete must have looked like.
Rethymno is the third largest city of Crete. With its pier that is 390m long and its Egyptian lighthouse Rethymno has one of the most impressive sceneries. The old Venetian buildings and the beautiful quayside with lots of fish taverns next to one another reflect the picturesque atmosphere. Visit the old Fortezza of Rethymno and enjoy the breathtaking view across the city and sea. Strolling through the old alleys and visiting the ancient churches will take you back in time.
Chania, the second largest city of Crete, impresses its visitors with the beautiful harbour as well as the exhaustive shopping opportunities. There is a huge market (“Agora”) in the city centre, and in addition to that there are waiting several street markets to be explored. In Chania you will be able to find some exquisite jewellery, too.
The island of Spinalonga is located at the North-Eastern coat of Crete. You can reach it via boat from Plaka, a small town near Elounda. Until 1957 it served as a leper colony. Today, the ruins can be explored during a stroll around the island.
7. Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos is a picturesque and lively city at the North-Eastern Coast of Crete. Take a walk around the old harbour and enjoy the magic view around you while dining in one of the typical small Greek restaurants. There is a lake located directly in the city centre – enjoy a panoramic view from the park above it.
The island of Chrissy is located south of Crete and you can reach it via boat from Ierapetra. You should plan one day to enjoy Chrissy at its best. Long, sandy beaches will remind you of the Caribbean. Chrissy is a magical place you should not miss to visit when visiting Crete for holidays.
9. The Cave Of Zeus
“The birthplace of Zeus” – That’s what many Greek people associate with the so-called Cave of Zeus (Dikteon Cave). The sacred place of cult worship is found on the hillside of Mount Dicte. The cave consists of five chambers where visitors will be able to detect impressive stalactites and stalagmites as well as a small lake and a hall with small stone basins filled with water. The chamber at the back of the small lake is rumoured to be the birth place of Zeus. During your visit, deep in the mountainside, you might still feel the soul of Zeus bustling around…
If you are thinking of moving to Crete with children, their education will be an important factor affecting you decision of whether or not to move. There is one full time school in Heraklion (the European school – non fee paying) which teaches lessons in English and two full time private (fee paying) school in Chania which follow the American curriculum. The European School in Heraklion The School of European Education (SEE) opened in September 2005. It was set up as an international school primarily in order to provide schooling for the children of the multi-lingual European employees of ENISA, The European Organisation for the Safety of Networks and Information, and to offer all pupils a European oriented intercultural and multilingual education.
The European school provides Nursery, Primary and Secondery school education. As well as providing education for the children of ENISA employees, the school also takes other pupils as follows:
– Children of the employees of International Organizations and Diplomatic services that are based in Heraklion, Crete – Children whose parents (at least one of them) are nationals of an EU member state.
The School aims at familiarising the pupils with a multilingual and multicultural education.
The school is actually based in a Greek school, the 3rd Dimotiko of Heraklion in Ag. Triada, on Savathianou street. It is part of the public school system and there are no fees.
At present (2015 – 2016), all years in the Greek and English Section of Primary Education, operate. In Secondary Education all the classes of the Greek Section and 5 classes of the English Section operate. For more information about the European School see their website at http://sch-eur-education.ira.sch.gr/index.php/ Tel. (0030) 2810 301780 Read an article about the European school here
Chania – Theodoropoulos International School Theodoropoulos School is a private school in Korakies, Akrotiri, Chania which teaches the Calvert Homeschooling Curriculum (American curriculum). It is authorised by the Greek Ministry of Education. All international students are accredited, are eligible to study anywhere abroad and the transcription from the school will be accredited by colleges and universities in the USA.
Chania – Mavromakataki – Mitera Private School The Mavromatiki-Mitera school offers English instruction using the American Calvert Homeschooling Curriculum. For all other subjects, the classes are integrated with the Greek school system offering far greater immersion without requiring supplemental studies at home for Primary School from Kindergarten through 6th grade.
Part time English Language Schools In Chania the Cross Cultural Center offers part time English language and cultural programmes aimed at bi-lingual or native English speaking children.
Cross Cultural Center 32 Athinon Koun Kapi Chania Contact Tel. Carla Dolce-Stavrides- +30 6948364681 A message can also be left at the following landline number 2821054364.
Lessons are two to three times a week, in the afternoon, 2 hours per session. There are classes for pre -school aged children, right up to teens.
Greek School Any child who lives in Greece can attend Greek school. To register your child at Greek school or nursery go along to the school in your residential area. Some documentation showing your local address (e.g. electricity or phone bill) is usually required, to prove that you are living in the area. You will also need the child’s birth certificate, and you may be asked for details/proof of your child’s innoculation history.
How will your child adjust to Greek school? In general, the younger the child, the easier it will be for him/her to adapt. Toddlers and small children adapt and absorb new language very easily. Children who join a Greek school at a very young age should progress normally (and with the help of extra lessons, as is the norm for Greek school children) through the Greek school system.
Older children, and especially those coming up to, and in, their teens may have a very hard time adjusting. They will be thrown into a strange language and culture and any child who is not fluent in Greek will be placed in a class with much younger children as they learn the language. Note that this does not mean they will be taught Greek in class – they will be sitting in on lessons which will be impossible for them to understand if they don’t fully comprehend Greek.. Imagine how your 12 year old will feel spending seven hours a day in a class of 8 year olds, with whom he can hardly communicate…
You should carefully consider what effect a move would have on older children in particular, and their future education. Children from another country with little or no knowledge of Greek, who join the system mid way through are unlikely to graduate from high school as they will not have the language skills. Think of reading and debating Greek literature, for example, or passing an advanced physics exam in Greek, after just two or three years studying the language, and having missed much of the curriculum.
Nursery Schools The state nursery schools ‘nipio’ , start taking children who have reached their fourth birthday by the start of the school year (September). There are two years of state nursery school, ‘pro nipio’ and ‘nipio’, however some nursery schools have a shortage of teachers and so will only take children in the second year (nipio) i.e. at 5 years old. You should enquire at the nearest school to where you will be living.
Private nurseries in Crete are very reasonably priced, and many working parents send their young children to one. The cost is around 250 Euros a month for 5 days a week, and you can negotiate a better price for part time. It may be a good idea for a young child to go to one of these nurseries, even part time, just to get used to the language. They generally accept babies from a few months old, up to children of five.
Greece ranked second place in the world on the 2017 Blue Flag quality award
list for beaches and marinas, among 47 countries, the Hellenic Society for the
Protection of Nature (EEPF) announced.
Of theses, 112 Blue Flags go to Crete beaches.
The full list of Blue Flag beaches of Crete are listed below. The beaches of Lassithi were awarded with 42 Blue Flags, followed by Chania, Heraklion and Rethymno beaches.
CHΑΝΙΑ [34 beaches]
Municipality of Chania Nea Hora Agios Apostolis 1 Agios Apostolis 2 Xrissi Akti Kalamaki Stalos Agia Marina Marathi Stavros Agios Onoufrios Kalathas
Muncipality of Apokoronas Maistrali Kalyves Ξυδά Almirida Kyani Akti Kavros/Mythos Palace Kavros/Eliros Mare Kavros/Anemos Kavros/Georgioupolis Resort Perastikos/Pilot Beach Perastikos/Mare Monte
Municipality of Kantanos Selinou Voulismeni Grammeno Pachia Ammos Chalikia Sougia
Car & Driver Documents For Driving in Greece You should always carry your drivers licence, car insurance certificate and registration documents with you in the car. If you are stopped by the police while driving and you do not have these with you, you can be fined.
Driving Licence If you are a holder of a valid driving license from one European Union country and are resident in another,
you are no longer required to exchange it if your normal residence is in a Member State other than that
which issued your licence. But you may ask to exchange it if you wish.
If you are renewing a driving licence you must do it in the country where you normally reside. Reference Europa.eu For Converting or Renewing a valid driving licence issued by a EU Member State into the
corresponding Greek licence see here Converting a valid driving licence from USA Canada Australia Japan South Africa and South
Korea into the corresponding Greek licencesee here
Vehicle Tax /Road Tax / Tax Disc Σήμα (Sima) / ΤέληΚυκλοφορίας Car tax in Greece is payable yearly, with a December 31 deadline for the following year.
Since 2014 authorities no longer issue tax disc stickers, instead all data will be logged electronically; vehicle
owners will pay by downloading an online application at TAXISnet and taking this to a post office, bank or tax office to pay, or they can pay online via web banking. A graphic guide on how to pay can be found on this link supplied by Stavros Tsichlis of www.insuranceline.gr
There are fines for late payment.
Vehicle Tax rates 2016/017
51 cc to 300 cc 22 euros
301 cc to 758 cc 55 euros
786 cc to 1,071 cc 120 euros
1,072 cc to 1,357 cc 135 euros
1,358 cc to 1,548 cc 225 euros
1,549 cc to 1,738 cc 250 euros
1,739 cc to 1,928 cc 280 euros
1,929 cc to 2,357 cc 615 euros
2,358 cc to 3,000 cc 820 euros
3,001 cc to 4,000 cc 1,025 euros
4,001 cc and above 1,230 euros
There is also an Emissions (gr. CO2 / km.) fees in € / g. CO2 for emissions over 100gr/KM To see how much you will pay should find CO2 emissions and multiply the grams emitted by your car. The cost per gram is between 1€ to 2.80€ .
M.O.T (KTEO) The technical control of the different vehicle categories in Greece is now performed by both public and
private VTCCs (Vehicle Technical Control Centers) or KTEO and IKTEO centres.
Cars more than 4 years old require a KTEO (Vehicle Technical Control) certificate, similar to an M.O.T,
which must be renewed every 2 years. The test can be carried out at KTEO test centres run by the Ministry
of Transport – there is one in each prefecture – or at any private test centre, IKTEO (Idiotiko KTEO), of
which there are many.
The cost of the KTEO control is approximately 40 to 50 Euros, plus the cost of any work that your vehicle
requires. Any work which needs to be carried out can be done at a garage of your choice, but must be
completed and the vehicle returned for the test, within 20 days.
Further information on KTEO at the Greek Ministry of Transport Website in English List of Government KTEO (VTC) Centres in Greece here
What to look out for when you buy car insurance in Greece by Stavros Tsichlis, Insurance Advisor According to Bank of Greece’s website (www.bankofgreece.gr) there are more than 100 insurance companies operating in Greece at the moment. This means that a company might be legally registered in Greece but might not have the know-how or financial capabilities to support its customers.
This became apparent after the suspension of Evima insurance and Diethnis Enosi insurance this year leaving thousands of customers without insurance cover. Bank of Greece has intensified checks on insurance companies and there may be more to be suspended soon.
So when you look out for insurance in Greece do not only base your decision on premiums, as a cheap premium might mean that the company is trying to attract customers in order to compensate for its poor financial performance. Instead, look for reputable companies that will give you value for money, big organisations or International firms who also operate in Greece.
Below are some points to take into consideration:
1) What is the company’s financial record? What is the agreed timeframe for a claim to be handled? What is the solvency margin of the firm you are about to sign up to? You insurance advisor should be able to answer the above questions.
2) Road Assistance service: Do you have cover only after an accident or for any reason that the car is immobilised? (e.g. out of petrol, flat tire, mechanical failure etc). Ask your insurance advisor.
3) Green Card: Is it issued for free or there is an extra premium in order to get it?
4) Is the commercial value of your vehicle reflected in your plan? Your contract should be revised each term in order to reflect the correct commercial value of your vehicle! Otherwise you might end up paying a higher premium for a value that will not be reflected in a compensation.
5) Is your advisor / company accessible at all times? Is there a 24-hour help line when your advisor is not able to pick up the phone?
6) Do you have cover against un-insured drivers in your plan? (Even in the most basic plan). Unfortunately due to economic conditions Greeks cut back on their expenses and there are more than one million vehicles in Greece without cover at the moment! And remember this: A drunk driver is considered a driver with no insurance cover by the Greek insurance firms.
Police road blocks are fairly common, especially on certain stretches of the National Road, and the ‘traffic’ police can stop any car they choose, without reason. It is compulsory to wear seat belts and, if riding a motorcycle, a helmet. The fact that many locals take little notice of this law does not mean that they don’t get fined (while puttng their lives at risk) for not following the rules if they get stopped by the police. Be warned! Fines are steep – 700 euros. That’s more than a whole month’s wages in Crete based on a low-average income.
There are speed traps and regular breathalyzing (known locally as the ‘alko test’) on the main roads, with
heavy fines and penalty points on your licence for driving offences. If you are caught driving while heavily under the influence of alcohol you can be arrested on the spot, and subsequently lose your licence.
“Sapounohoma,” situated at the west part of the Greek island of Ios, is a fantastic small beach with plenty of sand, a few small pine trees and a tiny church, that you can only reach by sea.
Milokopi Beach – Loutraki
“Milokopi” is situated near the area of Perachora in Loutraki. You will need a 4×4 vehicle to approach it, otherwise you can try a 30 minute walk.
Glyka Nera Beach – Crete
“Glyka Nera” is a beautiful beach with deep blue waters and nice pebbles, 43 kilometers west of the area of Chora in Sfakia and 75 kilometers south of Chania.
Prasonisi – Rhodes
“Prasonisi” is one of the most impressive beaches on the south part of the island of Rhodes where you can try wind-surfing or other water sports.
Dialiskari Beach – Sikinos
“Dialiskari” at northeast of Alopronia in Sikinos island is a tiny white, sandy beach with transparent blue waters, and a few umbrellas and trees for shade.
Potamos Beach – Gavdos
“Potamos,” located at the northwest coast of Gavdos, is a quite long beach with reddish sand and shallow water that consists the ultimate destination for campers or those who love hiking.
Tsopela Beach – Samos
Swimming in “Tsopela’s” transparent turquoise waters you will feel like you are in paradise. This stunning beach is totally isolated and for this reason we propose that you bring water, food and umbrellas with you.
Limnionas Beach – Zakynthos
“Limnionas” is one of the most beautiful and wild places of the entire island. You can find it on its west side approximately 7 kilometers from Agios Leon.
The heart of culture also beats this August in the five-day cultural events of Nefs Amari 2017, with theater performances, concerts, street races, improvised amusement parks and culminating in the well-establishedSaint Titus festival.
MONDAY 21/8 – 19:00 Amari invites you to the Luna Park, fun and joy!Together with us the balloon with
Endless play for kids and adults, gifts, treats, balloons, MAGIC!!!
Wheel of Fortune, bow bowing and golf, racing in hot wheels, crazy dice, shooting .. some of our surprises!
The Witchcraft Magician will give us a delightful program for the whole family!
Starting with testimonies of children who have lived in the Greek civil war, we try to reconstruct the crushed memory of yesterday with the look on the present.Is the coexistence of people on earth a lasting war?
Conception – Direction – Drama – Interpretation:
Dimitris Tsespelis, Electra Fragiadaki
17:00 Nefs Amaria Road Races
19:00 Charity bazaar
21:00 Theatrical Performance of the Theater of Crete “The Vulpopoopera” by Roula Orfanoudaki The play is a hilarious Cretan tale that presents the stories of races, honest and traditional Cretans, a village on Crete.Through their characters, they pass the customs and customs of this blessed place.Laughter and emotion are constantly changing, as is the case with our real life.The work is full of rich traditional music that emphasizes even more the culture of our country. Theatrical adaptation and adaptation – Manos Zeibekis Directed by Manos Zeibekis Sets-Costumes – Anna Hiletzaki
Beyond The Beaches: Discovering Crete’s Delicacies
Most of visitors to Crete come through package tours, mainly attracted by the Greek island’s amazing Mediterranean beaches. Along the way, the curious tourist will also soak up impressions of Crete’s ancient history.
Monastery of St. George Apanosifis.
Perched up in the hills, just 30 kilometers from bustling Heraklion, the island’s largest city, the monks’ peaceful domain overlooks a typical Cretan landscape – a combination of vineyards and fields of olive trees.
Reverend Athinagoras, a Ph.D. in Quantum Physics from Stanford University and used to be a university professor in California greets the visitor. He was inspired by California’s consciousness for organic food when he decided to commit to the monastery: “This brotherhood is very open-minded while showing respect for traditions: I found it provided good grounds to increase awareness in Crete.”
The monastery’s vineyard is not completely pesticide-free, as its manager, Reverend Athinagoras works towards promoting “smart work and respect for the environment, which is the only way to survive,” he said. He was therefore happy to find out that other people were working towards this goal within the country.
Towards more sustainable tourism
“Taste Crete” is an initiative started by the TUI Care Foundation and the sustainability project Futouris which aim to support the island’s wine and olive oil producers’ transition to sustainable agriculture and help them build stronger networks with the main hotel owners.
Currently, many hotel chains must import their olive oil from Athens, while the local farmers struggle to distribute their products. By organizing as cooperatives, small producers have better chances of reaching larger local markets.
Tasting wine amidst the fields
Along with the goal of improving distribution networks between hotels and farmers, the promoters of the project are setting up a sustainable wine excursion for small groups, to raise awareness for indigenous Cretan wines, called “From the Cretan Soil to Your Glass.”
The up-and-coming wines one can discover on Crete have nothing to do with the well-known Greek resinated wine Retsina.
One of the planned stops of the tour is at the Lyrarakis Estate, where visitors can walk through the vineyards and taste different wines and find out more about the particularities of Cretan wine directly from the people who work there.
The Lyrarakis family winery has been producing wines since 1966, and has recently started specializing in rare local varieties. “Before, the trend was to focus on international grapes such as Sauvignon and Chardonnay, which is why local varieties became endangered,” explained Bart Lyrarakis, CEO of the estate. The family has revived different ancient Cretan grapes that were threatened with extinction, among which the white varieties Plyto and Dafni, from which they produce award-winning wines.
Although it requires promotion work to get hotels and tourists to buy wines made from Crete’s seven native grape varieties, beyond supporting the local economy, there is another definite advantage in growing them: “Cretan varieties have better chances of surviving in high heat,” explained Local Food Experts Secretary General Kostos Bouyouris.
The local wines also pair especially well with the island’s exceptional culinary specialties.
The mouth of a perfectly happy man is filled with beer (Egyptian proverb, 2000 b.C.)
The Cretan Brewery and the Cultural Association of Zounaki in collaboration, along with the experimental archaeologist Mariana Kavroulaki, are organizing a tasting workshop, focused on the ancient Egyptian – Sumerian beer and the Ottoman boza.
Date: Wednesday, August 30.
Location: Cretan Brewery’s facilities.
You are all welcome to learn and taste the fine drink of Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt and the favorite fermented beverage of Turkey and the Balkans.
A live concert will follow at 9 p.m., with Manos Malaxianakis, Ch. & G. Pandermakis and their bands.
Charma beer will be fully served to all our friends, accompanied by BBQ “mezedes”.
Greece Ranks Third Among 10 Cheapest Countries to Buy a Holiday Home
Research conducted by currency card specialist FairFX recently revealed that Greece is among the top destinations for Britons to buy a holiday home.
The data presented by FairFX shows that Greece ranks third on the list of the top 10 best value destinations to buy a holiday home, with the average house value at £118,921.
Ranking in first place was Bulgaria at £90,734 and Turkey in second at £104,225.
“Our research allows potential second home buyers to weigh up which country is the best value — looking at the average cost of an apartment, as well as the essential elements you need once you are there…To get the best value, it is important to take all living costs into account as well as how much a property will cost initially,” Ian Strafford-Taylor, FairFX chief executive said, according to thisismoney.co.uk.
The cost of property was not the only factor that went into ranking the countries on the list, Strafford-Taylor added, adding, “It’s also vital that you research the region you are buying in…Keeping abreast of the political and economic situation in that destination will help you decide if the property is a good long-term investment.”
DNA Analysis: Ancient Greek Minoans And Mycenaeans Were Genetically Similar
Ever since the days of Homer, Greeks have long idealized their Mycenaean “ancestors” in epic poems and classic tragedies that glorify the exploits of Odysseus, King Agamemnon, and other heroes who went in and out of favor with the Greek gods. Although these Mycenaeans were fictitious, scholars have debated whether today’s Greeks descend from the actual Mycenaeans, who created a famous civilization that dominated mainland Greece and the Aegean Sea from about 1600 B.C.E. to 1200 B.C.E., or whether the ancient Mycenaeans simply vanished from the region.
Now, ancient DNA suggests that living Greeks are indeed the descendants of Mycenaeans, with only a small proportion of DNA from later migrations to Greece. And the Mycenaeans themselves were closely related to the earlier Minoans, the study reveals, another great civilization that flourished on the island of Crete from 2600 B.C.E. to 1400 B.C.E. (named for the mythical King Minos).
The ancient DNA comes from the teeth of 19 people, including 10 Minoans from Crete dating to 2900 B.C.E. to 1700 BCE, four Mycenaeans from the archaeological site at Mycenae and other cemeteries on the Greek mainland dating from 1700 B.C.E. to 1200 B.C.E., and five people from other early farming or Bronze Age (5400 B.C.E. to 1340 B.C.E.) cultures in Greece and Turkey. By comparing 1.2 million letters of genetic code across these genomes to those of 334 other ancient people from around the world and 30 modern Greeks, the researchers were able to plot how the individuals were related to each other.
The ancient Mycenaeans and Minoans were most closely related to each other, and they both got three-quarters of their DNA from early farmers who lived in Greece and southwestern Anatolia, which is now part of Turkey, the team reports today in Nature. Both cultures additionally inherited DNA from people from the eastern Caucasus, near modern-day Iran, suggesting an early migration of people from the east after the early farmers settled there but before Mycenaeans split from Minoans.
The Mycenaeans did have an important difference: They had some DNA—4% to 16%—from northern ancestors who came from Eastern Europe or Siberia. This suggests that a second wave of people from the Eurasian steppe came to mainland Greece by way of Eastern Europe or Armenia, but didn’t reach Crete, says Iosif Lazaridis, a population geneticist at Harvard University who co-led the study.
Not surprisingly, the Minoans and Mycenaeans looked alike, both carrying genes for brown hair and brown eyes. Artists in both cultures painted dark-haired, dark-eyed people on frescoes and pottery who resemble each other, although the two cultures spoke and wrote different languages. The Mycenaeans were more militaristic, with art replete with spears and images of war, whereas Minoan art showed few signs of warfare, Lazaridis says. Because the Minoans script used hieroglyphics, some archaeologists thought they were partly Egyptian, which turns out to be false.
The continuity between the Mycenaeans and living people is “particularly striking given that the Aegean has been a crossroads of civilizations for thousands of years,” says co-author George Stamatoyannopoulos of the University of Washington in Seattle. This suggests that the major components of the Greeks’ ancestry were already in place in the Bronze Age, after the migration of the earliest farmers from Anatolia set the template for the genetic makeup of Greeks and, in fact, most Europeans. “The spread of farming populations was the decisive moment when the major elements of the Greek population were already provided,” says archaeologist Colin Renfrew of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the work.
The results also show it is possible to get ancient DNA from the hot, dry landscape of the eastern Mediterranean, Renfrew says. He and others now have hope for getting DNA from groups such as the mysterious Hittites who came to ancient Anatolia sometime before 2000 B.C.E. and who may have been the source of Caucasian ancestry in Mycenaeans and early Indo-European languages in the region. Archaeologist Kristian Kristiansen of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, who was not involved in the work, agrees. “The results have now opened up the next chapter in the genetic history of western Eurasia—that of the Bronze Age Mediterranean.”
World’s First Greek Olive Oil Info Site In English Celebrates 1st Birthday
American consumers worry about the high price of Italian olive oil. Greeks continue to struggle with economic difficulties eight years into a crisis. And the Greek olive oil that could help support both a Greek recovery and reasonable olive oil prices does not get the international attention it needs. For the past year, an American living in Crete has been trying to change that with the world’s first independent English-language website focused on Greek olive oil, Greek Liquid Gold: Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (www.greekliquidgold.com).
In the past two years, Lisa Radinovsky has conversed with a Greek ship captain turned olive farmer, an Italian computer programmer who produces olive oil in Greece, an ancient Greek teacher who sells olive oil with edible gold flakes in the Middle East, and dozens of other Greeks in the olive oil industry. And she has shared their stories on her website.
Radinovsky’s olive oil education began when she started writing for the online American publication Olive Oil Times. She soon came to believe that Greek olive oil producers and exporters were not getting the credit they deserved for their efforts to produce high quality, healthy olive oil—a higher percentage of extra virgin than any other country.
A former English professor accustomed to sharing what she learned, Radinovsky decided to create the outlet for Greek olive oil news and information that did not yet exist. She included sections on the health benefits of olive oil and the Mediterranean diet and added photos, recipes, and agrotourism and culinary tourism suggestions to appeal to a broad readership. She teamed up with another Princeton alum, Dimitris Doukas of Twin Net Information Systems Ltd. in Athens, to create this new website.
In the first year since the website’s launch, Radinovsky has published over 100 original, in-depth articles on it, and a number of them have been republished in Australia, Greece, the USA, Spain, and Italy. She has covered such topics as olive oil prices, predictions for olive oil production, olive mill visits, types of olive oil, the history of olive oil in Greece, and Greek olive oil companies’ innovations, support for Alzheimer’s research, and awards.
Radinovsky has gained the attention and support of the major Greek olive oil industry organizations, multi-award winning Greek olive oil companies, and numerous experts in the olive oil world, publishing interview-based articles as part of her original reporting. After just one year, the website has readers in 131 countries, while its companion Facebook page has more than 1,000 followers.
Radinovsky reports that Greek olive oil producers, marketers, exporters, and tasters have thanked her for “providing a new way for them to reach out to the world and share their voices, so they have more chances to share their products.” For example, Evi Psounou Prodomou of Yanni’s Olive Grove believes Greek Liquid Gold “is an accurate and independent website” that “gives an equal chance to anyone in the EVOO business.” James Panagiotopoulos of PJ KABOS considers Greek Liquid Gold “a great, reliable source to find any information one can imagine about Greek olive oil.”
Evgenia Andriopoulou of Makaria Terra explains that “Greek Liquid Gold provides an integrated platform for the promotion of the qualities of the best Greek olive oils. It certainly fills a gap. Despite the fact that there is a clear attempt to promote Greek olive oils, the articles and posts remain completely fair. All is based on facts, and this is good not only for the site and its development, but for the overall promotion and the preservation/improvement of the integrity of quality Greek olive oil.”
The Ancient Olive Trees Of Crete That Count More Than 1.500 Years Of Life (Video)
In Crete there are dozens of ancient olive trees! According to scientists, many of these olive trees live for over 1,500 years.
«In 2009 cultural clubs of Crete in collaboration with Technological Educational Institute of Crete, began an effort to record the ancient olive trees.
At the same time they informed the inhabitants of the island about the importance of these trees», stated to TNH ms. Pella Lasithiotaki, member of the group for Τhe Rescue of the Μonumental Οlive Τrees of Crete. «Even nowadays, the ancient trees continue to offer their olives…» ms. Lasithiotaki, added.
The Greek Cancer Society has called on smokers to refrain from leaving cigarette butts on the country’s beaches, underlining the risks to public health and the environment from an estimated 22 billion cigarette ends discarded on streets and beaches every year.
“Dear smokers, if you cannot avoid smoking, at least make sure that you put your butts into some kind of makeshift ashtray… and then dispose of them in a garbage bin,” the society said.
According to estimates by conservation groups, cigarette ends account for nearly 40 percent of the garbage removed from beaches.
The society also called on the government and local authorities to launch awareness campaigns so that swimmers take greater care of the country’s beaches. Such drives could be a challenge in Greece, where a ban on smoking in public spaces introduced seven years ago has seen scant enforcement.
Cigarette butts take years to decompose. Left on the sand and swept out to sea, they are a top source of marine debris.
The weather on the Greek island of Crete plays by its own rules. The landmass of Crete is large enough to have its own weather zones, which change as you go north and south or east and west across the island. And since Crete is a mixture of lowland and mountainous regions, there are also weather and temperature variations based on altitude. Here’s what you need to know about weather in Crete on your trip.
North Coast Weather
The weather on the north coast of Crete will be strongly affected by the meltemi windsof summer. These warm winds blow from the north and can hit most of the coastal beaches. While they are “warm” winds, they can kick up the waves and at their strongest can even blow sand around, providing sunbathers with a free exfoliation treatment which may not be wanted. Since most of Crete’s organized resorts are on the North Coast, you may experience these winds, especially in July and August. The solution? Take a break for a day on the South Coast of Crete.
South Coast Weather
Weather in Crete is affected by the spinal ridge of mountain ranges which run east to west across the island. The mountain ranges of Crete affect the weather in a couple of ways. First, they create a physical barrier for the winds from the North. This means that even when the north coast is uncomfortably windy, the south coast may be calm and pleasant.
The exception to this is where gorges and valleys channel the north winds, which can create areas of intense winds at certain spots along the coast. This is especially true at Frangocastello and Plakias Bay. Even when the rest of the south coast is relatively calm, the funneling effect can create havoc for small fishing boats and other light craft.
The mountain ranges of also generate their own clouds, which can either shade the south coast from storms by keeping the rainclouds in the North, or drop rain from the smaller systems which rise up from the mountains themselves. One huge rock which can be seen on the way from Heraklion to the south coast is known as “The Mother of Storms” – storms are supposed to arise from the area around the rock.
The South Coast is sometimes subject to winds up from Africa – something that Joni Mitchell memorialized in her song “Carey”, written while the singer was staying in Matala on the south coast. These hot and often sandy winds and the resulting dust storms can cloak Crete and all of Greece in an eerie dim light, sometimes affecting air travel. Like the Santa Ana winds in California, they are supposed to make both people and animals irritable while they are blowing. The fire that destroyed the Minoan palace of Knossos has been determined to have burned on a day when the winds were coming up from the south.
Generally speaking, the South Coast of Crete will tend to be a degree or two warmer, and is somewhat more likely to be sunny than the North Coast… but Crete generally has no shortage of sunshine on either coast.
Crete is Greece’s largest island. While it has charming villages galore, Crete has something that no other Greek island can claim – a city. What’s more, Crete has five of them, all adorning the north coast.
Crete’s multiple metropolis should come as no surprise – even in very remote times, Crete was known as an island of cities, ninety of them, according to Homer. While these ancient sites were hardly “cities” in the more modern sense, they were centers of trade, industry, government, and defense.
What’s more, the modern cities of Crete seem to have appeared on top of the ancient ones, giving us the idea that the Minoans would have few problems with modern city planning. They chose good locations three or four thousand years ago, and we haven’t improved much on their choices.
Heraklion – Capital of Crete
Once called Candia or Kandia, the city of Heracles or Hercules occupies the site of an ancient Minoan port. The Minoan palace site of Knossos is a short distance inland, on the side of what was a navigable river in ancient times. Knossos itself is built over a Neolithic site which may be the earliest permanently inhabited site on Crete, making it – and Heraklion – among the oldest inhabited sites still in existence today.
Chania, also called Hania, Xania, and similar variants are located in the west of Crete and is adjacent to the large town of Kissamos.
Chania has been an important port throughout its history, and probably retains a memory of Minoan seafaring – roads were not as crucial as waterways, so regularly-spaced, large ports were probably a feature of ancient Minoan life as well. Chania has a busy airport and is also adjacent to the American base at Souda Bay, attracting many U.S. visitors.
Located between Chania and Heraklion, this port city is not as well known as its neighbors to the east and west. It has a charming historic district and because it is less popular, the prices are lower on hotels, restaurants, and even souvenir shopping.
Home to an excellent Archaeological Museum which showcases the mysterious large ivory figurine called the Paleokastro Kouros, Sitia has a small port providing access to some of the Dodecanese islands and beyond. A small airport is under consideration for expansion, so Sitia may soon be a viable alternative to arriving in Heraklion.
The easternmost city of Crete, Agios Nikolaos is near to the luxury resorts of Elounda and the ancient town of Lato, and it also is a stop for some ships to the Dodecanese islands. It has an excellent Archaeological Museum, a deep inner bay alleged to be bottomless, and numerous restaurants and nightclubs.
Mallia or Malia
While Mallia doesn’t quite qualify as a city – it’s mainly a row of restaurants and bars, with a few shops and little if any local industry other than serving tourists beverages – it too is built on a site originally chosen by the Minoans, who erected the well-curated palace of Mallia along the coast.
Mires and Tymbaki
Larger towns in southern Crete at the seaside edge of the Mesara plain, these towns are agricultural hubs with relatively few hotels or other accommodations. That’s left to the smaller towns in the region, including the pleasant village of Kamilari, the seaside resort town of Kalamaki, and the famed “Hippie Town” of Matala. If you travel by bus from Heraklion to visit the ancient Minoan palace of Phaistos, you’ll usually change buses in Mires. Mires is also spelled “Moires”, in particular on signs marking the road from Heraklion, so if you’re driving, look for the alternate spelling. It hosts a street market on Saturdays and boasts a couple of car dealerships just outside town. Both towns depend on local trade rather than tourist purchases.
Other important towns on the south coast can’t quite be called cities, either, but include Paleochora to the west, Chora Sfakia on the coast, and Ierapetra to the east.
Chora Sfakia is the capital of the Sfakia region, but still, maintains a seaside village feeling and can be reached by both road and ferry. It’s a stop for many tourists visiting the Samaria Gorge, as the ferry deposits thousands of them each day to board buses back to the north coast of Crete after descending through the Gorge.
Amazing Sand Sculptures On Marine Environment Protection In Crete
Three sculptors in Crete have created amazing sand sculptures on the protection of the marine environment from plastics and other rubbish.
An octopus that squeezes a plastic bottle with its tentacles, a mermaid emerging with car tires from the sea bed, dead fish, a human leg that has been wounded by a piece of glass, a child with his potty on the beach, a boatman and a diver who are fishing garbage, Homer’s Siren, the ancient god Poseidon …
“In sunbathed Crete, and from the country that gave birth to sculpture, Greece, sculptors Yuriy Mysko, Lyudmyla Mysko and Manolis Charkoutsis send their messages for the protection of the marine environment to the rest of the world”, Ms Lasithiotaki stated.
The up to three meters tall creations were made in 2016 and 2017 at the Sand Sculpture Festival in Ammoudara, Malevizion, Crete, under the auspices of the Greek Tourism Organization and the Municipality of Malevizi, with the support of the Region of Crete.
Summer arrives earlier on the largest Greek island than elsewhere in the Med, and this year the lovely western city of Chania is easier to reach than ever – with British Airways launching flights from Heathrow on the last day of April.
New arrivals will find little changed from 70 years ago, when the local author Nikos Kazantzakis published Zorba the Greek. Crete’s historic former capital is still steeped in Minoan, Venetian, Ottoman and Greek history. The main difference is a blossoming of great places to eat, drink and sleep.
BA from Heathrow (ba.com) competes to Chania against easyJet (easyJet.com) and Norwegian (norwegian.com) from Gatwick; and Ryanair (ryanair.com) from Bristol, East Midlands, Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester and Stansted.
The airport is 10 miles north-east of the city centre. The public bus from the airport into town costs €2.50; buy your ticket from the KTEL kiosk across the road from arrivals. It takes half-an-hour to reach the bus station (1). Departures are sporadic, at intervals of anything from 30 minutes to two hours, so you may prefer to share a taxi with other travellers; the standard fare to the city centre is €20.
Chania Harbour (Simon Calder)
Get your bearings
Chania is in the far west of Crete, about 100 miles west of the island’s capital, Heraklion. Its bay is protected by a pair of peninsulas: Rodhopou to the west, Akrotiri to the east. The old city walls more or less define the area of interest to visitors. The inner core, known as Kastelli, includes Minoan ruins. Just to the east, Splanzia is the former Turkish quarter. A harbour arm wraps around from the north-east corner of this district.
The main thoroughfare, Halidon, runs south from Venizelos Square (2). At its southern end it meets the main east-west road, which takes on a succession of names – Yiannari for its central part.
The tourist office (3) at 29 Kydonias (00 30 28213 41665/6; chaniacrete.gr) closes at weekends, and opens only 9am-3pm from Monday to Friday – though these hours may be extended in the height of summer.
Take a view
The Venetians consolidated the harbour, and built the sea wall that defends it against Mediterranean storms. The lower part of the lighthouse (6) at the end was built over 400 years ago, and has been embellished since. From all along the sea wall there are marvellous views, best at the start or end of the day. Across the water, the prominent Mosque of the Janissaries (7) was the first act of the Ottomans when they seized control of Chania in 1645.
Take a hike
From the lighthouse (6), walk back along the arm of ancient stones. Where it connects with the mainland, walk past Chania Yacht Club (8)and cut across the car park. On the far side a slope rises to the bastion (9) which provides a panorama of the eastern bay.
Head south down Minoos, on the inside of the city walls. Take the second right, an unlikely looking alley, and thread through to Vourdouba. This leads past ancient cloisters on the right to 1821 Square (10), with the handsome and interesting Agios Nikolaos church on your left and a tempting location for coffee adjacent to it. On the corner is a crumbling Venetian chapel. Turn right onto Daskalogianni and pause at the Ride Cycle Cafe (11).
The northward street becomes Arheleon. Turn left along Kanevaro for the Minoan excavations known as Ancient Kydonia (12), which extend back five millennia – Chania is one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world. Continue west to Venizelos Square (2), and turn right at Starbucks along Zampeliou – filled with souvenir shops and places to eat.
Lunch on the run
Hammam (13), the cafe at 43 Zampeliou, is an excellent bakery serving spanakopitas, spinach-filled pastries, at just €1.60 each – with a beer for an extra €2. For a more substantial meal, a few doors further west, Tamam occupies the old Ottoman baths and serves reliably good Cretan cuisine.
Just along Zampeliou, the Exantos Art Space (14) is full of works that distil the local colour. Across the city centre in Splantzia, the Vineria delicatessen (15) at 70 Daskalogianni (00 30 28210 27068) hosts tastings of wine and other local produce. Stores tend to open 10am-3pm and 6-9pm in summer.
Chania’s market (16), on the site of the ancient Agora, has been a raucous retail venue for centuries; the current edition, was modelled on the main marché in Marseille and takes in the shape of a cross. It opened in 1913, the same year that Crete was united with Greece. The hours are roughly 7am-9pm daily except Sunday.
Sunday morning: go to church
The Orthodox Cathedral (19) was completed in 1860, during Ottoman rule – when Christian worship was tolerated by the Islamic occupiers. From outside, with its lop-sided facade it looks oddly Latin American – in contrast with the intensely atmospheric interior.
Out to brunch
Theotokopoulou is a handsome Venetian street, and the Kormoranos Bakery Café (20) at number 46 (00 30 6974 714226) serves fresh croissants, yoghurt and fruit, omelettes and toasted sandwiches from 8am each day.
The Archaeological Museum (21) on Halidon (00 30 28210 90334; culture.gr) is housed in the former church of San Francisco, which was later a mosque and then served as Chania’s first cinema. The contents are from excavations at sites in the west of Crete, ranging from Minoan relics to an impressive third-century AD mosaic floor decorated with a representation of Dionysos and Ariadne. It opens 8am-8pm daily, admission €4.
Further down Halidon, the Municipal Art Gallery (22) at number 98 (00 30 28210 92294; pinakothiki-chania.gr) displays paintings, engravings and sculpture of local and Greek artists from the 18th century. It opens 10am-2pm on Sundays, additionally 6-9pm on other days, admission €2.
Take a ride
Chania has one of the best-value bike-share schemes in Europe. Register in advance at www.chania.gr/bikes, pay a fee of €1 and you can use a bike for up to three hours without extra charge.
A walk in the park
For the ideal cycling target, go east out of town following the signs for the airport – but after a steep, swerving climb, turn off when you see a sign for the Venizelos Tombs. This leads you to an area of parkland that includes the impressive tomb of Eleftherios Venizelos (23), one of the most long-standing Greek premiers. There are excellent views back across the bay to Chania; for the very best position, get a table on the open terrace at the adjacent Koukouvaya restaurant (koukouvaya.gr).
Stavros Beach (Simon Calder)
The icing on the cake
Before your flight home, explore some of the Akrotiri peninsula — in particular, the village of Stavros (24) at the northern tip. It has an excellent beach and a few bars, but crucially also a place in movie history. Beneath the 1,000ft-high slab of limestone that dominates it, the closing scene of Zorba the Greek was filmed – with Alan Bates and Anthony Quinn dancing the Sirtaki. The best plan is to get a taxi to Stavros, and ask the driver to wait before taking you on to the airport; you should be able to negotiate a fare of around €40.
By car — Renting a car to tour Crete is one of the best options you have if you want to go places fast and in comfort.
Renting a car from one of the many local companies rather than from a multinational chain also gives you the advantage to deal with someone who already knows the island. The staff are more likely to give you advice where to go and what to see, especially if you don’t have a lot of time to see enough as you would like.
Bicycle tours are fun too — Cycling around the island is another popular option, especially for people who enjoy outdoor activities. Although not as comfortable under the heat of the sun in summer, bicycle tours are commonplace. The Greeks even have a website that caters exclusively to cyclists. The Bike Friendly Hotels site is an initiative of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature(HSPN) and non-profit Nattour. The site shows hotels from all over Greece, and Crete is also featured with destinations such as Cretan Malia Park, Smartline Arion Palace Hotel, and Lyttos Beach Hotel. If you plan to discover Crete this way, Hellas Bike is an excellent choice because they offer a good range of bikes, guided tours, bike rentals, and so on.
Motorcycle tours become popular — Bike tours are quite popular as well. They give your speed while allowing you to enjoy the fresh air. You can even access more remote destinations from the saddle of a motorbike. For such a way to tour the island, you can choose Greenways Motor Tours. They have a special tour designed to make you familiar to some of the most exciting Cretan destinations in a week. They also offer rentals if you want to adventure on your own.
Safaris are trendy —Then, there’s Safari Club Crete for the more adventurous type. Here, the advantage is that you have a professional driver behind the wheel. You will explore everything Crete has to offer: mountains, gorges, traditional villages, caves, plateaus, rolling vineyards, and palm beaches. Safaris are a relatively new trend on Crete, and they were designed to satisfy the needs of foreign visitors.
‘Train’ rides are nostalgic — You can even take a road train tour with the Hersonissos Train Company. The road train ride takes place only within the Municipality of Hersonissos, but there’s plenty to see, according to the company’s website.
There are also companies offering tours on Trikke electric vehicles, quad and buggy tours, and so on. The end choice depends on how long you want to explore, where you want to go, how much you care about comfort, and how much you can afford. But it’s always good to know which options you have before you plan your vacation.
Evading the Heatwave at the Lush Oasis of the National Garden in Athens
With temperatures rising as high as 41 degrees this week in Greece, locals and tourists alike can find some respite at the National Garden in the center of Athens.
Located just next to the parliament in Syntagma Square, this green oasis offers an escape from the heat and the hustle and bustle of the Greek capital.
Covering an area of 123,500 square meters, it is notably home to Zappeion Hall, built in the second half of the 19th century, currently used as a conference and exhibition center.
The garden was commissioned by Queen Amalia, queen consort of Greece and spouse of King Otto, as a garden for the Royal Palace. It was commissioned in 1838 and completed by 1840.
The garden was originally called the “Royal Garden,” under the reign of King Otto from 1833 to 1862. In the 1920s the park was opened to the public and renamed the National Garden.
The history of the garden is closely linked to the history of the country, which made Athens its capital in 1833. The city saw its layout modified and major construction work was undertaken. The Royal Palace, adjacent to the Royal Garden, was one of the first buildings to be built.
As many as 15,000 ornamental plants were brought in from Genoa. Many of the species planted at the time are still alive today, such as the monumental Washingtonia Palms at the Amalias Avenue entrance, the casuarinas and the large Australian eucalyptus trees.
Other highlights include Australian pines, Chinese trees of heaven, as well as Holm oaks, cypress trees and Canary Island date palms. The garden is home to around 7,000 trees and 40,000 bushes. There are also lakes and a zoo.
Alongside its many plants, the park has various decorative features and architectural elements, such as a sun dial, sculpted busts of various national figures, a Roman mosaic, a pergola, a Botanical Museum, a zoo, lakes, a Spanish Fountain and more.
The National Garden is open daily, from dawn to dusk.
Greek Archaeological Sites Free of Charge for August Full Moon
Continuing a tradition dating back many years, the culture and sports ministry has once again ordered that 115 archaeological sites and monuments in Greece will be open to the public free of charge for a series of nights before and after the full moon in August.
A series of events are planned from August 5-9, with the highlight on the night of the full moon on August 7, when 93 sites, monuments and museums in Greece will host concerts, poetry nights, star-gazing, theatrical performances, art exhibitions, dance, tours and shadow-puppet theatre.
Additionally, 22 sites and museums will remain open to the public without organising special events.
Entry to all sites and museums will be free of charge.
TUI Group has acquired Stella Polaris Creta S.A., a subsidiary of the Greek Karatzis Group and owner of land on the southern coast of Crete, to open a new Robinson Club, it was announced on Friday.
With the Robinson Clubs Kyllini Beach and Daidalos, TUI already operates two resorts of the premium club holiday provider in Greece.
“We are aiming to deliver substantial growth in our own hotel brands TUI Blue, RIU, Robinson and Magic Life in the next few years. The expansion of our portfolio in the trending destination Greece marks a further step towards that goal,” said Sebastian Ebel, TUI Group Executive Board member in charge of Hotels & Resorts.
The Greek Tourism Ministry has been in close cooperation with TUI Group over the past two years and has engaged in a series of talks with Group representatives in the last few months to discuss new investment opportunities.
“TUI is an important partner for us, and I am therefore delighted that the Group will be investing in a new Robinson Club in Greece. We regard that move as a vote of confidence in our economy,” Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura said.
“We are consistently delivering our growth strategy and have generated record results in tourism for the third consecutive year. We have also created the conditions to sustain high growth rates over the next few years and are encouraging new investments,” Minister Kountoura added.
With the expansion of its hotel portfolio, TUI Group is driving its transformation as an integrated tourism business focused on own hotel and cruise brands further ahead. The two segments already contribute half of the Group’s operating result. Since the merger with TUI Travel PLC at the end of 2014, TUI Group has expanded its portfolio by 27 new hotels, nine of which have opened this year alone.
05/08/2017-Greece Raises Individual Bank Withdrawals to 1,800 Euros per Month
Greece will further relax capital controls by September 1, in terms of both monthly cash withdrawals and opening of new accounts.
According to a decision of the Minister of Finance published in the Government Gazette, Greece will marginally lift the cash limit on bank account withdrawals.
New regulations, effective on Sept. 1, will allow individuals to withdraw lump sums of up to 1,800 euros per calendar month, compared to a maximum 840 euro limit every two weeks which existed previously.
The decision also allows companies and individuals to open new bank accounts.
Greece first imposed capital controls in mid-2015 to stem a flight of cash from its banks at the height of a debt crisis, which led to its third financial bailout since 2010.
Mountains, Beaches and Millennia of History — There’s Plenty of ChoiceCrete, Greece’s biggest island, has a lot more to offer besides sun and sand. If two lazy, barefoot weeks on a beach, punctuated by strolls to nearby tavernas for calamari and resin scented wine is your idea of vacation heaven, you won’t be disappointed. But there is a lot more packed into an area not much bigger than the state of Delaware that has 8,000 years of history, dramatic ruins and mountain ranges, over 600 miles of coastline and gorges for every level of hiker. And of course, there’s always a beach and a tavern at the end of every excursion. Here are the top things to do on Crete.
Knossos — The Capital of Minoan CreteVisit Crete and you must visit Knossos, a Bronze Age settlement that was the center of Minoan civilization, said to be the oldest in Europe. Knossos is considered the oldest surviving city in Europe and it, in turn, is built on even older, Stone Age settlements going back to 7,000 BC. Excavated between 1900 and 1931 by Sir Arthur Evans (and still being excavated today), Knossos is traditionally associated with the legendary King Minos, and the mythical maze prowled by the Minotaur. The stories arose because of frescos discovered in the Palace of Knossos that depict Minoan bull dancers, but it’s more likely the maze was at Phaistos in south Crete (see below).
The palace, a structure of about 1,000 linked rooms and chambers, is brightly painted in shades of ochre. Much of it, including parts rebuilt in concrete, is more of an imaginative recreation than an archaeological reconstruction. Evans, keen to promote his theories and preserve as much as possible during a time of political…
The Venetian Kingdom of CandiaDuring Crete’s chequered history, it has been under the control of the Mycenaeans (the first Greeks), the Romans, the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Turks and, during WWII, the Germans. They’ve all left evidence of their occupation but the most visible and interesting to look for in Crete’s towns and cities are the signs of the island’s more than 460 years of Venetian occupation. Between the 1205 and the mid 1669, Crete was a colony of the Republic of Venice, officially known as the Kingdom of Candia. It played a vital role in protecting their trade routes and their fortresses guarded Crete’s harbors. You can explore several of them in:
Chania – The Maritime Museum of Crete, opened in 1973, in the walls of the Venetian “Firka” Fortress. Walk the fortress walls for photogenic views of the Chania lighthouse, one of the oldest in the world.
Heraklion – The Venetian fort that guards Heraklion’s old harbor is known by its Turkish name, Koules, but it was originally the…
Samaria and Other Gorgeous GorgesCrete’s mountainous spine is crisscrossed with gorges. There are dozens of them — some challenging and all but inaccessible, some about as easy as a walk in the park. The most famous, the Samaria Gorge in the heart of the White Mountains National Park, south of Chania. It descends from about 1200 meters (3,900 feet) above sea level at Xyloskalo to the beach near the village of Agia Roumeli over a distance of 16k (just under 10 miles). The gorge itself is 13k (about 8 miles) and the walk to the village is another 3k (1.8 miles). After a steep descent at the start, Samaria levels out into fairly easy walking. It varies from 150 meters (492 feet) wide to only three meters (less than 10 feet) at the dramatic pass known as The Gates.
Because it can take between four and eight hours to complete, the Samaria Gorge is more of an endurance test than an adventure challenge. Years ago, hikers had to carry their own water and supplies but now, as its part of the National Park, there are rest stops…
The Windmills of Lassithi and the Birthplace of ZeusThe high plateau of Lassithi, on the western end of Crete, was once covered with more than 10,000 gleaming white windmills, their distinctive sails slowly turning as they pumped irrigation to the plain. Today, more than half of them have been replaced by diesel powered pumps but there are still enough of these traditional windmills – unique to Crete – to make a photo safari worthwhile. If you’re not comfortable driving in Crete (the mountain roads up to Lassithi can be daunting), hire a taxi driver for the day from Heraklion or Agios Nikolaos. Stop for a traditional Cretan lunch at Taverna Vilaeti in the village of Agios Konstantinos, on the plateau.
After, aim for the village of Psychro and its cave, the Diktaion antron, traditionally the birthplace of Zeus. It was here, according to legend that the Titan Rhea hid the baby Zeus from his father Cronus (who, ahem, wanted to swallow him). The cave, on the slopes of Mt Dicte above the village, is reached by a short, steep but paved path.…
Visit a WineryThere was a time, not very long ago, when the wine most often served in Cretan tavernas came in bottles with crimped metal caps and cost about 25 cents for a small bottle. The wonderful grapes grown all over the island were sent to winemakers elsewhere in Greece and Europe. But things have changed dramatically since the 1980s. Committed winemakers, using the latest winemaking technology, have been winning international wine awards right and left. The north facing slopes of Crete’s mountains, particularly south of Heraklion but also just south of Chania, are covered in vineyards. Native Cretan varieties that were almost extinct are being revived and grapes of the Southern Rhone – Syrah, Grenache – are thriving on Crete, which has a similar climate. If you imagine that visiting a winery is a serious experience for experts and connoisseurs, visiting a Cretan wineries will be a delightful surprise.
The Best Places to Visit on Your First Trip to Greece
If you are a first-time visitor to Greece you want to know what not to miss. There are many different places that get all of the attention as tourist destinations, but let’s take a look and see what places in Greece you must check out on your first visit to get the best variety of what this diverse country has to offer!
One island that is not only unique but also conveniently located close to Athens in Hydra. Hydra is an enchanting Greek island known for its restaurants lining the main port and the inevitable flashback to the turn of the century and beyond as there are no cars allowed on the island. The charm of the winding narrow pathways that lace the city are one way to experience Hydra.
Looking for something different you can try on your vacation? For those looking for an alternative view of the island, you can see the island on horseback! Check out Harriet’s Hydra Horses where tours are offered for 1-5 people, however, if pre-arranged 6-100 people are welcomed to a group tour.
Athens When in Greece you must see the Acropolis and visit the Acropolis museum — it is an amazing and unforgettable experience. Also, there are many other things that you might want to check out while in Athens.
You can spend the day in roaming the ancient streets of Monastiraki or divert from the main tourist attractions and check out the town of Anafiotika nestled under the Acropolis that transports you to a Mediterranean island!
Or you can take a bus to visit the near by ruins of Sunio. Instead of going to the traditional beaches around Athens you can always take a taxi or bus to check out the unique cave lake of Lake of Vouliagmeni, located in Vouliagmeni.
Rhodes is a breathtaking island with stand-out fortifications of the town of Rhodes winding around the medieval town. It has quaint little squares and tavernas throughout its villages.
Why Rhodes? Yes, this island is a big tourist destination — but for all of the right reasons! You can spend your time seeing the ancient ruins such as the Acropolis of Lindos which is your reward after completing a climb of the steep footpath reaching 116 meters-high rock above Lindos to reach this beautifully preserved Acropolis!
Or if you want something different to do check out Petaloudes — the Valley of the Butterflies!
Crete is a great place to see if you are able to fit it into your itinerary. Every year people visiting Greece come to Crete to visit the ruins of the ancient city of Knossos to experience what remains from the capital of Minoan Civilization.
Also, as the largest island in Greece, Crete has a coastline of 1,046 km or 650 miles — which makes for some extraordinary beaches. With crystal clear waters and sand in a variety of colors, Crete’s beaches are unforgettable – in fact, this year of the 486 Blue Flag awarded beaches in Greece, 112 of the eco-labeled beaches are located on Crete!
The Greek island of Corfu is full of breathtaking views, enchanting towns, museums and other activities that you might just miss out on if you are not in the wise! Don’t get caught up doing the typical tour of Corfu while you’re visiting this island brimming with hidden treasures for you to discover.
Besides seeing Kérkyra old town, be sure to try some the favorite local dish which is unique to Corfu called “sofrito.” Corfu has many Italian influences because of its proximity to Italy, which you will see right away once you visit this island and foodies go wild for the island’s classic combination of beef cooked in a local white wine sauce, with garlic and fresh parsley!
While on Corfu, don’t miss out on a unique opportunity to visit Paleá Períthia, the Venetian-era village hidden in the north slope of island summit Mt Pandokrátor to be transported back into time! The village was abandoned after the 1960’s and has undergone many restoration projects since then — including the restoration of the 14th-century church of Agios Iákovos O Pérsis which you see as you approach the village.
With its iconic volcano cliffs and white washes buildings, Santorini is a great place to get to know Greece. The island has everything from wine vineyards to tours on the volcano caldera — not to mention the beaches!
Want to get to see the island from a different perspective? Why not rent a scooter while there — if you feel confident in your scooter-driving skills, that is, since the roads are steep and narrow. There are plenty of rental companies that can provide you with a scooter from different towns on the island, as well as many located in Karterados, which is 1 kilometer from Fira.
You will probably want to check out the commonly visited tourists attractions such as the beaches of Kamari and Persia, and for a treat check out experiencing the true culture and uniqueness of the island by staying in places such as Fira, Imerovigli or Oia. These towns are built into the cliffs, which are very beautiful and full of little cafes, shops and places of interest. Exploring this island by bike is amazing and the possibilities are limitless!
Milos You may have never heard of this island but once you see the photos you will want to visit and understand why Milos is one place in Greece you should see!
Experiencing Greece for the first time should be a bit like a sample pallet of all that the mainland and islands have to offer. The island of Milos is unique and memorable and you’ll get some fantastic photos to wow your friends and family with when you get home — especially from the moonscaped beaches!
This island has history — after all this is the place where the famous Greek statue known to Greeks as Aphrodite of Milos, or Venus de Milo, (which now resides at the Louvre) was discovered by a farmer on the island some 200 years ago.
WELCOME TO Cretan Adventures Activity Holidays in Crete and Greece
Cretan Adventures is the specialized company in the area of outdoor activities and alternative forms of tourism in Crete and Greece. Cretan Adventures organizes all kinds of activity holidays in Crete and Greece, that include all land services and facilities (accommodation, meals, transports etc), covering the most interesting and beautiful routes and areas of our home country. Our Activity Holidays have been formed in such a way to cover everybody’s interest for the nature, history and landscape of Crete and Greece:
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Hiking and Trekking tours in Meteora in central Greece
Trekking tours in Epirus and Mt Olympus in northern Greece
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Tailor-made Activity Holidays in Crete and Greece. Our Tailor-made trips are designed specially for your own company or family. You choose the dates, interests, activities and areas in Crete or Greece and we take care of all the details. Alternatively let us draw on over our experience and arrange for you an exciting, private tour for an unforgettable adventure, a Cretan Adventure!!!
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There was some good news from Greece on Monday when we learned the economy has expanded again.
Between July and September it grew by a more than expected 0.5 percent from the previous three month period, according to the first estimate from the Greek government’s statistics service.
It was up 1.5 percent from the same period last year – the strongest performance since early 2008.
This was the second quarter in a row of expansion, something which has not happened in Greece since 2006. In addition growth in the period from April to June was revised up to 0.3 percent.
The numbers bode well for a stronger economic recovery next year following the country’s long and deep recession.
Faced with a second bailout review entailing an unpopular liberalisation of labour laws, the Athens government is keen to show that the taxation and pension cuts that were part of the trade-off for last year’s 86-billion-euro bailout deal will bear fruit and lead to economic recovery.
The growth came partly from EU spending on aid for refugees arriving in Greece fleeing war and persecution.
“The flash readings were above forecasts of around 0.2 percent, showing that the economy did not rely just on tourism but was helped by domestic demand and improved liquidity in the corporate sector amid clearance of arrears,” National Bank economist Nikos Magginas said.
The Greek government is hoping that a visit to the country by Barack Obama, the outgoing US president, will also help the country with its quest for debt relief. Read more on that here.
05-12-2015 US Secretary of State John Kerry eats a Greek Christmas cookie
With a huge security convoy, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited the Migrations Network Melissa at Victoria square in downtown Athens on order to get first hand information about the situation. Across the street of the network offices is a bakery…. Greek media report of the Great Melomakarono Story:
The owner of the bakery came out and started to applaud when John Kerry came out of his car. This caught the attention of Mr. Kerry who walked towards the baker. He talked a bit with him, then the baker’s daughter offered him a Melomakarono. They explained to Kerry that this was a traditional Greek Christmas Cookie and he wished them Merry Christmas.
“All streets were closed, John Kerry came, went up to visit the center, then came down, I don’t know what happened up there, then he heard the applause, came to us, we offered him a Melomakarono and he wished us Merry Christmas, that’s all. He commented the Melomakarono was very good. It’s odd that the US Foreign Minister visited the center, some people say the building belongs to Soros, that’s all. People bring things and food to the center, and some leave money here to us so that the migrants can buy from the bakery. That’s all.” (via)
Before waiving Goodbye to Athens and local Christmas cookies, John Kerry said that the USA “will do whatever it can to have growth return to Greece at some point.” He did not elaborate whether in 10, 20 or 30 years….
If you’re curious to know what is Melomakarono, check with My Perfect Greek Melomakarona, original recipe with step-by-step pictures from the times when KTG had time to bake & cook.
Following an agreement between the Getty Museum and Greece’s Ministry of Culture in September 2011, two antiquities from the 5th century A.D. have returned to Greece: Fragments of a grave stone depicting a seated woman and a tablet describing the religious calendar of Thorikos in eastern Attica.
The two artifacts, which will remain at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens before being transferred to the Kanellopoulos Museum and the Epigraphic Museum respectively, bring the total of objects returned to Greece by the Getty Museum to 6.
Last year’s cultural agreement between Getty CEO Jim Cuno and Minister Pavlos Geroulanos marks a collaboration in repatriating antiquities deemed illicitly excavated, extracted and sold over the years.
The grave stone fragments were purchased by the Getty Museum in 1973 for $20,000 from a Paris gallery owned by antiquities dealer Nicolas Koutoulakis. They will finally adjoin a funerary relief currently housed at the Kanellopoulos Museum in Athens.
The tablet that the Getty says “describes sacrifices and festivals celebrated in Thorikos in honor of local deities and heroes,” was purchased in 1979 for $50,000. Both objects however were returned voluntarily by the Getty following an internal review, a move lauded by officials, curators and archaeologists. As part of the agreement, the Museum will likely be allowed to have other antiquities on loan for future exhibitions.
20-11-2015 Parliament approves third prior actions bill on Thursday evening.
The third prior actions bill passed through Parliament on Thursday evening with the support of 153 MPs, after the parties from the coalition government expelled two MPs from their parliamentary groups – Stathis Panagoulis from SYRIZA and Nikos Nikolopoulos from the Independent Greeks.
The expulsion of the two MPs came after the sudden resignation of Gabriel Sakellaridis from his position as MP, over his reluctance to support the austerity measures included in the latest bill. This development has left the coalition government weaker and in difficult situation, given that further measures must go through Parliament, such as the much-debated and necessary pension system reform.
The debate in Parliament began at about 10:00 on Thursday morning and concluded shortly after 19:30 in the evening. As expected, the tension was high in Parliament, with the opposition parties pressing the government on the provisions related to ‘red loans’ and protection from primary residence auctions.
Special tax on wine slashed
The government decision to introduce a 40-cent per liter tax on wine caused major uproar in Parliament, both amongst the opposition parties as well as coalition government parties. As such, the Alternate Minister of Finances Tryfon Alexiadis announced that a revision was being planned. As a result, the coalition government decided to halve the tax, from 40 to 20 cents per liter. Mr. Alexiadis added that the tax will only apply to wine for domestic consumption and not wine for export.