In Crete there are numerous gorges.The "Farangas" But, as the locals call the gorge of Samaria, and is a unique and crossing is a unique and exciting experience.The hiker is rewarded for the hard hiking in rough, steep ground with a primitive impressive sight, a beautiful landscape with virtually no human intervention and fills a unique sense of awe and admiration.
The "Farangas" as the locals call the Samaria Gorge is the largest and most impressive gorges in Crete.
About four kilometers from the start of the storied plateau Omalos Xiloskalo you get to where the road ends.From here, at an altitude of 1,200 meters, starts walking.The majestic mountain that stands before you is Gigilos and tall on the right is the source Linoselli, where tradition says that Zeus often descended and took a swim!
Where the trail starts, steps cut into the rock to make it easier to pass.In the old days but they used a ladder made of logs, which gave its name Xiloskalo the site.From here to download approximately 50 minutes will bring you to the source Neroutsos and below the "root of the fig tree, with much running water.Two or three times crosses the torrent of the White Mountains in the spring spreads out the momentum of the water at your feet.All around, hidden in the vegetation, there are plenty of birds.
In less than two hours total hiking to get to San Nicolas.The one-room chapel is amazing in its simplicity and is among the giant cypress trees.Here are findings of an ancient temple where the cult of Apollo and Artemis.The agriorodo, a beautiful wild flower with white petals, yellow stamens and red pistil, grows here.The flower was a symbol of ancient doctors, and demigod Paionio.On Tap will Replenish with fresh water, while below the old village of Samaria, 7 km from Xyloskalo at an altitude of 350 meters will get a glimpse of another era.The village has been deserted since the last residents left here in 1965, when designated as a national park area.
How to get there
The airport of Akrotiri and Souda Bay is the most known places for your arrival in Chania.With the bus at Chania, morning and afternoon to get in Smooth and Xiloskalo in one hour and ten minutes after passing the village of Lakka and drive the successive turns.Of course you can come with your car, but you need someone to lead you to receive from Sfakia.
The famous wild goats, the Cretan wild goats, living in Samaria, but hardly visible to amateur observers;The grand griffon skim the cliffs, and the oleanders and the burning bush complete the magic of space.
The National Park Gorge is open to visitors from May 1 until October 31.Forbidden natural setting fires, camping, accommodation, cut flowers, hunting, fishing and swimming in the streams.
In Xiloskalo is the Information Centre where you will see how to parastatikotato the geological history of the gorge while numerous photos and sketches make known to the world's flora and fauna habitat, here in the deep folds of the White Mountains.
In the "Doors" and the Bible Roumeli
"Just before the village of Samaria, hundreds of small towers, three, four or five stone, erected by hikers in commemoration of the passage or as a sign and seal purely personal.
The Forest Directorate of Chania Prefecture with signs informing you that the locust tree, the myrtle, the lentisk and oleander, are mentioned as medicinal plants since the time of Dioscorides, one of the greatest physicians of antiquity.
The "Great Safflower" of Chiron, teacher of Asklepios and teacher of Achilles, was used as an excellent medicine for the wounds!All these are in the gorge.
We even see the mountain teas, thyme, savory, marjoram, oregano, and sage burning bush, known aromatic and medicinal plants used today as a beverage with therapeutic and soothing properties.
The village of Samaria is crowded a few hours a day, after a stay of visitors to National Park is prohibited prior to and after sunset.
The next source after the village is the partridge and then on the canyon narrows as you move far to the Doors.
Signs of forest authorities advise you to 'chasmophytes "who manage to survive in extreme conditions with little soil in small vertical fissures rocks!
The doors stand 11.5 km Xyloskalo.It is a very impressive feature of the narrowing canyon, with a minimum distance of 3 m and the drop to more than 300 meters!
The fossils of the vertical side surfaces reveal the geological history, adorn the surfaces of rocks in different places and experienced eye of experts here distinguishes organizations such as diatoms and sponges and "read" what was happening across the Mediterranean 180 million years ago at Jurassic and Oligocene periods ...
Then you find another remarkable staging post on Christ, water, chairs and plenty of shade.
Approximately 30 minutes from the doors and just leave the boundaries of the park, you arrive at the old St. Roumeli.
Twenty minutes later you reach the blue of the Libyan coast and New Roumeli Bible, which is located the remains of ancient Tarra now bustles with life.
An interesting issue
It was a big failure if you did not mention the amazing version of the prefecture of Chania and Management Agency, National Park called "The Gorge of Samaria, shelter life, liberty base.An inexhaustible source of information and project a team of highly creative people!
The 16 km hiking and 1,200 meters altitude difference from Xyloskalo to the sea requires a full six hours, while the boat from Agia Roumeli leads to Sfakia, Sougia or Paleochora.
From St. Roumeli in Bathroom
"In St. Roumeli in a perhaps the last paradise of our country, deserve even to stay overnight.
There will be pleased just to recovery from the long hike, but will enjoy the scenery of the White Mountains to mingle with the Libyan Sea, you will feel calm and of course tasting the local Cretan cuisine.But most importantly, if you wish you can thus begin early in the morning to pezoporisete the shoreline in an easterly direction to get filled with stunning scenery in Phoenix and bath.
From St. Roumeli So you leave early in the morning to go opposite the torrent to the east coast.Thence to corral the kids, open the syrmatoporta and see the remains of ancient Taras!The corral has occupied the ancient site ...
Three quarters later, you reach a junction where the left onto the trail continues to the village of St John, while you take the right path with tawny markings on rocks and pillars.An hour later, having crossed a piece of desert, dry and difficult to reach a height where your front and down low, close, highlighting the Marmara and across the Phoenix area house.The small beach with polished limestone rock by water, is simply amazing!The exit of the canyon Aradena is deeply impressive, and a canteen there are strikes as "manna from heaven!"
Route the coastal settlement with lupus two taverns and a small beach and continue to Phoenix, where you'll find a sea-like pool.From there, continue to ancient path, the megalith which act as stairs.Low see the bath, it really fascinates with its white and blue houses and guesthouses.From here you take the boat ANEDYK-making services in the southwest of Crete and Gavdos - to come eventually to Sfakia.
The ancient city founded in the late 8th century BC, at the exit of Samaria Gorge and only marine communications she had with other cities of Crete, the Aegean islands and the peninsula Kyrrinaiki and Alexandria.Ancient Tarra continuously inhabited until the Roman and parcel of economic power is its own currency, one side depicting Cretan wild goats and other bee.
St. Mary Roumeli
The church of St Mary Roumeli founded on the ruins of an ancient temple in 1500 BCaround in honor of Apollo or Artemis Vritomartidos, who was patron of ancient Tarra.The church was built in a Venetian building material of the ancient church, and deserve to watch the mosaics in the courtyard.St. Paul with a one hour walk east of Agia Roumeli will find the chapel by the sea.Built in Byzantine style by St. John the Hermit in commemoration of the crossing from where the Apostle Paul, in his return from Gavdos.It is picturesque, but the stark barracks of dissonance with welding generators are the aoton arbitrariness!Tower is worth the trouble to go up the fortress built by the Ottomans in order to suppress the Cretan Revolution of 1866-1869 years.And if you feel that views of the White Mountains and the Libyan not enough, climb a little higher after a second, smaller fort "sees" even farther!
"Libyan" (28 250 91 362).A beautiful small hotel with very warm people.Sprung a garden, a widespread sophistication in artwork, definitely the best suggestions for those who seek their own Eden in the Bible Roumeli.
'GORGE »(28250 91225, 6977177249, www.faragi.com.gr).Unit apartments.All have wonderful views of the Libyan Sea in Sfakia and mountains.The apartments are comfortable and cool, have air conditioning, internet access and are equipped with coffee makers, etc. Very warm hospitality of the family Tzatzimakis.
"Libyan" (28 250 91 211).Clean, overlooking the harbor and Gavdos.The pavement of the country, in the heart of town, a hub for ships ANEDYK for the return bus to Chania.
'GORGE' (28 250 91 225).Tavern below homonyms apartments.Ms. Fotoula Tzatzimakis cooks sfakianes genuine delicacies such as Sfakia pie, Stack and eggs, pies, tsigariasto goat, snails and more snails cooked (such as stuffed).There are also fresh fish.All dishes cooked with local products.
"Libyan» (28250 91211, www.sfakia-livikon.com).With nearly half century history.Dining sfakiano casserole, kreatotourtes, kaltsounakia, chtapodosalata, Fried vegetables stamnagathi, eggplant rolls, seafood and of course handouts sfakiano meat!
Askifou - Amoudara
"BARMPAGERONYMOS (28 250 95 211).A restaurant with excellent cuisine, as tsigariasto sfakiano goat, gruyere cheese and the youth and barrel wine.The Amazing George Gialedakis you serve.Above the restaurant are spotless rooms with mountain views Askifou.
ARTEMIS Agia Rumeli (28 250 91 322).In a beautiful garden you can taste delicious dishes especially local meat.Stuffed burgers, goat, lamb chops, bread from the oven and of course original Sfakia pie.
"Xiloskalo" in Xiloskalo (28210 52122, www.omalos.com).Tourist kiosk and restaurant with spectacular views of the canyon, the White Mountains and Gigilos.
Texts: Alexander Tsantoulas
Photos: John Ntrenogiannis, Claire Moustafellou, Penelope Tsantoula
Translation with google