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Page 1: Greece, Crete

Greece, Crete1st LTTA

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Greece is a country in southeastern Europe, known in Greek as Hellas or Ellada. It consists of a mainland and an archipelago of islands.

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Brief history of Crete• Crete is the largest island in Greece, and the fifth largest one in the

Mediterranean Sea.• After the decline of the Minoans, Crete was invaded by a series of

conquerors starting with the Myceneans. Soon, the Dorians and then later the Romans invaded. When the Roman Empire declined, the Byzantines took their turn and it was at this time that Christianity was established.

• The Arabs conquered Crete in the 8th century. The Byzantines took over again before they sold the Island to the Venetians in the early 13th century, who bestowed their influence until their surrender to the Ottoman Turks in 1669.

• The Turks ruled until 1898 after which Crete was placed under international administration. In 1913, Crete became Greek.

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Cretan character and culture• "We, Cretans, are permanently in love with our island and what it stands for. We are in love with its spirit which evolved from vivacious Minoan times through perpetual and eventful contacts with different races and civilizations, the Dorians, the Egyptians, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Venetians, the Turks.

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• The following assessment of the Cretan character is from Msgr Louis Petit. |The French Roman Catholic Bishop of Athens (1912 to 1926)

• " They are truly admirable people who learnt to hold on stubbornly throughout the tumultuous events of forty centuries to their native character and local speech. Courage, mingled with an independent spirit that is often close to downright disobedience, a lively wit, vivid imagination, and a language full of images, spontaneous and unaffected, love for every kind of adventure, an indefatigable urge for freedom, that goes hand in hand with an insatiable desire for bravado... "

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Battle of Crete• In 20 May 1941, Crete was bombed by the Germans. The determined

resistance of the island’s civilian population was such that the battle of Crete lasted several days and cost the lives of 4,000 German paratroopers. Crete fell definitively on 29 May, having endured longer than the time needed to occupy the whole of France.

• After that many atrocities follow, several villages were destroyed and revolvers massacred.

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Cretan music and traditional dances play an important part in life in Crete and will be seen and heard at most festivals and parties.

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The famous Cretan hospitality is still very much in evidence. One should not be surprised if he/she receives products or an invitation.

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Much of the Greek culture revolves around the Greek Orthodox church which is instrumental in the daily life and cultural traditions of the Cretans. 97% of the population are Greek Orthodox.

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Chania is the location in which Minoans built the city of Kidonia. By the excavation that took place in different parts of the city it became clear that this region was inhabited since the Neolithic age ( New Stone Age).

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A Few Words about our RegionApokoronas (Greek: Αποκόρωνας) is a municipality in Chania regional unit, north-west Crete, Greece. It is situated on the north coast of Crete, to the east of Chania itself. The municipality has an area of 315.478 km2 (121.807 sq mi).

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The Cretan Diet is tasty and nutritious and it ensures good health and a long life!

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Historically, Cretans have eaten only what their land produced: lots of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and pulses — the dried seeds of legumes such as lentils, beans and peas.

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One thing the island produces in abundance is olives. So the Cretans eat a lot of olive oil — more than other Mediterranean people. And they don't use any other type of oil, even to make sweets.

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The sunny island with high mountains and deep valleys also provides herbs and aromatic plants, fruit trees and vegetables, wheat and barley.

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It's also a place where salads are a large part of the diet: There is a saying that goes, if you have a field, don't let a cow or a Cretan in. They'll eat all the greens.

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The small amount of animal protein eaten on Crete is cooked in olive oil and usually made with greens, grains or pulses: sea bass with purslane, pork with cracked wheat, chicken with peas.

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All these foods are made simply and quickly with no cream and few spices.

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It is widely accepted that the diet of Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, is the most healthy in the Mediterranean.

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Flora and fauna

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Flora of Crete The flora of the island is directly connected to its

climate and geomorphology and it is of particular interest.

In Crete there are 2108 species of native plants of which 302 are endemic.

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Diktamos or erondasIt is used as a decoction against gastric disorders and also against colds and as haemostatic and antiseptic.

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Mountain tea, or malotira It is used against colds and respiratory diseases and it is considered to be a plant which heals wounds by iron weapons.

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Bluebell  It blooms from April untill May and grows on

rocks and canyons in medium and low altitude.

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Sea lilyIt gives off a pleasant, exotic and very delicate

fragrance that is particularly felt during the windless summer nights. It flowers from August to


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Tulip of CreteIt grows on plateaus.  The petals of this endemic

species have at their base a black patch with a yellow band which separates the red and black part

of the flower.

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Fauna of Crete The geomorphology of the island and the landscape

diversity, greatly contributed to the emergence and development of endemic fauna.

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The wild goat of CreteThe wild goat of Crete is a gorgeous and proud animal that is threatened to disappear. Greater concentration of this species is found in mountains and canyons

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Gypaetus barbatusThe bearded vulture is a diurnal bird of prey and it is one of the vultures that are found in Greece.

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.Wildcat of Crete or fourogatosIt is the only wild feline on the island which is limited to the small body of a cat (fourogatou) as it is called in the Cretan dialect. It is larger than ordinary cats, and the male reaches a length of 50cm while its tale can be3 cm

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The gorges of Crete

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The gorge of Samaria

The gorge of Samaria is located in the prefecture of Chania in the sierra of the White mountains.

It is about 18 Km and it is considered as the biggest gorge of Crete and the entire Europe.

In 1962, it was recognised as a National park and it is a shelter for endemic species.

The most popular of the animals is the Cretan wild goat.

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The gorge of Imbros

The gorge of Imbros is located next to Sfakia area of the prefecture of Chania. It starts from the Plateau of Imbros and ends up in Komitades’ village. It is about 7 Km and it is easily accessible every season of year. This is a gorge with rock formations. This gorge has wild vegetation and trees which spring up from the rocks.

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The gorge of Agia Eirini This gorge is located in Selinos’ province at

the west side of the white mountains and it is about 43 Km far from Chania. It is a wonderful gorge with numerous different kinds of wild vegetation. Its name was given from the village of Agia Eirini ,which is built in the north entrance of the gorge.

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The gorge of AradenaThe gorges of Aradena is the deepest and

the steepest gorge of Chania. With a hight of 138m this gorge is ideal for bunjee jumping. The charming route combined with the magical beach Marmara, at the end of the gorge, constitute a memorable experience for everyone attempting the descent of the gorge.

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The Kourtaliotiko gorgeThe Kourtaliotiko gorge is located in the

prefecture of Rethymno. Near the end of this gorge there is a lake. The gorge is really breathtaking and there is wild vegetation everywhere.

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The gorge AgiofaragoThis gorge is located in the prefecture of

Heraklion. In order to cross it, you have to walk for about 20 minutes. In the entrance there is the Temple of Holy Kiriaki which is into a cave.

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The gorge of TripitiThe gorge of Tripiti is

loacated in the south part of the prefecture of Heraklio next to the village of Leda. Its name was given from the church of Panagia Holy Tripiti which was built into the cave of this gorge. The place is magical and the tall rocks are breathtaking.

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This gorge is located in the perfecture of Lasithi in Crete. Its entrance is located in an altitude of 370 meters and until its exit it’s reduced to 140 meters. In the exit of this gorge, there is a big fall that is about 215 meters.

The gorge Ha

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The gorge of the deadThis gorge is located in the municipality of

Itanos, and it is about 39 km southeast from the city of Citia. This is a very beautiful gorge and you are going to meet a lot of caves that, in the Minoan period, they were used as graves. For this reason the gorge is called the gorge of the dead.

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The best beaches of Crete

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1.Vai, Lasithi

The beach with the largest native palm forest of Crete (It is the only indigenous wild palm grove of Greece and the largest palm tree forest throughout Europe. Its existence is attributed to Phoenician merchants who threw away the seeds of the dates they were eating.

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2. Matala, HeraklionA safe natural harbour on the Bay of Messara, with a gently sweeping sand and pebble beach, the place in legend where Zeus swam ashore in the guise of a bull with Europa on his back.

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Matala is known for hippies who lived in the caves.

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3. Balos, ChaniaBalos beach is famous for its wild natural beauty and wonderful exotic scenery.

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4. Preveli, Rethymno On the banks of the Grand River there is a large colony of

Theophrastus palm trees which give the region a sense of an African landscape. The river, forming a large lake, 500m long, before emptying into the sea, has water all year round.

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5. Elafonisi, ChaniaShallow turquoise waters, which at a point looks like a lagoon, and fine white sand, pinkish at several spots because of the crushed shell powder.

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6. St. Paul, RethymnoA wonderful beach with high dunes.

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7. Istros, LasithiThe lovely beach of Istro or Voulisma. The crystal clear water, the white sand and the green hills are the main features of this coast

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8. Falasarna, Chania

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9. Pumpkin, LasithiA small dreamy beach with turquoise water and white sand.

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10. Agiofarago, HeraklionAgiofarago coast is a quiet beach with crystal clear water

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11. St. Fire, LasithiThe Holy Fire is a green bay with calm, clear waters and fine pebbles.

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12. Schinaria, Rethymno

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13. Seitan Limania, ChaniaNature created three inlets between the steep cliffs of the peninsula. In one of them is located the well-hidden. Location is known as Seitan Limania. The word "Seitan" (Seytan) is Turkish (apparently left over from the period of Turkish rule in Crete), and is translated as Satan, devil. The word "Limania" is a Greek word meaning harbors. Therefore, "Seitan Limania" means "The Satanic Harbors“ because of the strong winds of the area.

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14. SougiaA lovely long beach

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15. Kedrodasos, ChaniaCentenarians cedars, sand dunes, turquoise waters and white sand.

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Due to its small width Crete has few rivers which flow from the mountains in its central part and end in Libyan and Cretan Sea.

Most of them have only little water during the winter months and the summer are completely dry.

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RIVERSIn Crete there are 8 rivers. The biggest river in length is “Anapodiaris”. Εvery year it canalizes 40

billion cubic meters of water to the sea. Its name comes from the fact that at the exit of the river (during the

winter)wind pushes its water inwards. So, if someone sees the river in this time of the year he will think that the river has backward flow.(“anapoda” in Greek languange means backwards)

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The second largest river in Crete is called “Kiliaris”. It starts from the village “Stylos” in Apokoronas and it

issues at the beach of “Kyani akti” near “Kalyves”. Its length is about 5km.

The name of the river comes from the verb «κυλώ» which means flow in Greek languange.

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Other rivers

“River Platys” “River Giofyros or Diakoniaris”

“River Geropotamos”


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“River Akoumianos”

“River Perastikos”

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LAKES Crete has limited water resources because of its geographical position

and temperate climate. Crete has 27 lakes in total. The bigger lake of Crete is located at Kournas in Apokoronas.

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Dam of Zaros Dam of Agia

Lake Varathro

Dam of Bramiana Lake of Skafi Lake Boulismeni

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Lake of Faneromeni

Ornes lake Lake of the Turkish

Lake Iniou - Mahairas

Lake of Ziros Lake Omalou Viannos

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Lake of Macherida Lake Ligara Lake Partiri

Lake Strouboula Lake of Amourgela Lake at Digenis’ Tomb

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Lake of Kourounes Lake Parakalouri Lake of Damiana

Lake of Armanogia

Lake Libada Lake of Karabado

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Reservoirs of Shinias Lake at Dories

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Crete is a mountainous island and big part of its surface is covered by high mountains.

The bigest peak is called “Timios Stavros” and it is located at Psiloritis in Rethymno (2456 metres), while the biggest sierra is Lefka Ori – White Mountains - in Chania. The highest peak of Lefka Ori is called “Pahnes”(2453 metres) .

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White Mountains Psiloritis

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White Mountains

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White Mountains

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Dikti Sierra Asterousia Giouchta

Kedros Talaia Krioneritis

Mountains and Sierras in the rest of Crete

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• Agai Endmond• Akonstandinesei Bianca• Anastasaki Emmanouela• Andonopoulou Sophia• Vardaki Anastasia• Verisaridou Efi• Volikaki Rafaela• Gaitanakis Marios• Gaugiotaki Euaggelia• Giannarakis Iosif• Grigore Randou• Daratsaki Maria• Drakoulaki Emmanouela

• Zouli Andonia• Zoumadakis Christos• Thymaki Georgia• Ismailai Rozentsa• Kavalinaki Sevasti• Kanaki Maria• Karambinakis Manolis• Karkanis Stratos• Katsouli Maria• Kotzambasaki Anna• Kotronaki Maria• Kotsiphakis Giannis• Koukoudaki Despoina

Supervisor: Olga Karadaki