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Diktaian Cave (Dikteon Antron)
Psychro, Lassithi Plateau
at 16.2km (S)
The cave of Psychro is one of the most important cult places of Minoan Crete. The excavators and several scholars identify the cave as the famous "Diktaian Cave", where Zeus was born and brought up with the aid of Amaltheia and the Kouretes, and which is connected with myths as this of the seer Epimenides who "slept" here, or the coupling of Zeus with Europa.
Lassithi, Dikti Mountains
at 16.6km (S)
The Lassithi Plateau (GR: Οροπέδιο Λασιθίου, Oropedio Lasithiou), is a high endorheic plateau, located in eastern Crete, Greece on the mountain range of Dikti at an average altitude of 840 m, and in a distance of around 55km from Heraklion and 50km from Agios Nikolaos. The plateau is elliptical in shape with an E-W axis of 11km and the N-S of 7km.
The plateau of Lassithi is renowned for its exceptional agricultural produce, the thousands (almost 15000) windmills that used to be there in the past, its significant historical role and for the unique cave of Psychro also known as "Diktaion Andron".
Agia Paraskevi village
at 16.6km (SW)
Village of the area of Kastelli with 115 residents, Agia Paraskevi is situated 5 km northeast of Kastelli at an altitude of 400m. It is first mentioned in the Turkish census of 1671 as Agia Paraskevi tou Xourdou with 17 haratsia (head tax).
It is very possible that Santa Venerata, a village mentioned in 1463 by Cardinal Bissarion, is the name by which Agia Paraskevi was known at that period.
at 16.6km (S)
Armacha (GR: Αρμάχα) lies at 490 m above sea level, at a distance of 7km from Kastelli, with 110 residents (census 2001) and is first referred to by Barozzi in 1577. Armacha is rich in the production of agricultural and livestock products.
The Metropolitan Bishop, Tirnovos Voulgaria Ilarionas Kabanaris Sinitis was born, and is also buried here. A man of advanced learning, he wanted to translate the Bible to Demotic Greek.
E4 Trail: 07. Lasithi Plateau to Kasteli
by Richard Ellis
at 16.8km (SE)
This was another delightful start to a day’s walking. Rather than tramping round the perimeter which is more or less where the E4 is supposed to go, it is quite possible to take a diagonal line from the south east corner to the north west corner by taking a right, then a left, then a right etc so you end up close to Kato Metochi. This way, you get to see close up the extent of the agricultural activity going on around the plateau in the morning sunshine. You also get to see the newly formed baby frogs – fresh from tadpole status – hopping happily in the sunshine in front of my big boots.
Distance: 23.5 km
Time: 7 hrs.
Mov av 4.7 km/hr
Height overnight: 335m.(max 824m.)
at 17.1km (SW)
The monastery of Agaráthou (GR: Μονή Αγκαράθου), dedicated to the Virgin, stands at an altitude of 538m, on "Soros Panteli", a rocky hill between the villages of Sgourokefali and Sabas, 23 km from Heraklion.
During the period of Venetian rule it was a centre of learning, producing many famous churchmen including the Patriarchs Cyril Lucaris, Meletius Pegas and Sylvester the Cretan.
The church was rebuilt in 1894 and flourished once more after the end of the Turkish occupation. Young, educated monks with university degrees have recently settled in the monastery, restoring it to its former glory.
at 17.9km (S)
Geraki (GR: Γεράκι). This lovely village of 375 inhabitants is located on the western slopes of the Lassithi mountains between the peaks of Afendi (1578 m) and Sarakinos (1588 m) in a beautiful glen, 520m above sea level and only 9km SE of Kastelli.
It features an interesting Byzantine church, dedicated to the Archangel Michael (Archangelos Michail) with wall paintings that have not been maintained and some interesting (movable) icons by the local painter, Sepis.
The active cultural centre of Geraki organizes many events during the summer season. Twice a year the village has a typical Cretan feast in honour of its patron saints: Agia Paraskevi on July 26th and Michail Archangelos on 8th November.
The village produces agricultural products and great cheese that led to a specific cheese celebration.
From Geraki you can also reach the lovely chapel of Agia Anna, driving through a particularly beautiful landscape with a spectacular view over the Geraki glen and fresh running water, a place ideal for a picnic.
at 18.6km (E)
Neapolis is located 15 km westwards of Agios Nikolaos on the way to Heraklion from where it is roughly 50 km far. Neapolis is built in the green valley of Mirabello.
In the period of the Venetian domination its two settlements were named "New Village". But when the seat of the Prefecture was transferred from Fourni to the “New Village” this last was renamed to Neapolis. Neapolis was maintained as the capital of the prefecture of Lasithi till 1904. After that date Agios Nikolaos became the new capital.
at 19.4km (W)
This 2 km long sandy beach was for years and still is the favorite beach of the people of Heraklion town. It is named after the river "Karteros" which outflows at the west end of it near the airport. The water is clean, the seabed is sandy with smoothly shelving and swimming is safe. The access is free in most parts except for some areas that are reserved for military personnel and the municipal beach "Akti" where visitors should pay an entrance fee in order to use the facilities. At the east end there are some very good taverns offering fresh fish among their specialties and are very popular with locals and tourists alike.
Nikos Kazantzakis Museum
at 19.9km (SW)
The Nikos Kazantzakis Museum is dedicated to the great Greek writer, poet and philosopher Nikos Kazantzakis. It was founded in 1983 and it is located at the village Myrtia in Iraklion, next to his father's house.
The museum contains some of his personal belongings (pipes, glasses, pens, etc.) and a rich collection of his manuscripts and letters, first Greek editions of his books, documents from theatrical productions of his works, copies of TV series and movies based on his novels, portraits of Nikos Kazantzakis, copies of press releases and articles on his life and work.
International Airport Nikos Kazantzakis
Iraklion ( Nea Alikarnassos)
at 21.7km (W)
Heraklion International Airport, "Nikos Kazantzakis" (Greek: Κρατικός Αερολιμένας Ηρακλείου, "Νίκος Καζαντζάκης") or Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport (IATA: HER, ICAO: LGIR) is the primary airport on the island of Crete, Greece. It is located about 5km from the main city of Heraklion.
Heraklion International Airport is is one of the biggest in Greece and receives approximately 15% of the total tourist traffic of Greece. There are many airlines currently operating flights from Athens and Thessaloniki to Iraklion (Olympic Airways, Aegean Airlines and others), while during the high season there are flights from/to Rhodes, Mykonos, Santorini and other Greek islands. There are also international airlines that connects Iraklion to other European cities. During the summer season there are numerous chartered flights to Iraklion from all over Europe (mainly Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, and Holland). During the summer months there is a huge increase in air traffic that peaks in August (approximately 130 flights per day).
Major car-rental companies have desks at the airport. Taxi and public bus are available for transfer from/to Iraklion.
at 21.9km (SW)
The town of Arkalochori (GR: Αρκαλοχώρι) with a population of 2.881 is located 33km away from Heraklion, on the provincial road linking Heraklion and Viannos, at 395m above sea level. Its inhabitants are mostly involved in agriculture, but in commerce and arts as well. Arkalochori is one of the most developing towns in the prefecture of Iraklion both in economic and cultural sectors and is the administrative center of the area. Events such as the Pancretan Agricultural and Commercial Exhibition, that takes place here are of great significance and interest for the whole island. The town offers a full range of modern facilities to its residents and visitors.
Arkalohóri Exhibition Centre & Theatre
at 22.4km (SW)
A modern exhibition and congressional centre offering 8000 square meters of total space, 1500 of them being indoors. Among many events that take place in this centre is the Pancretan Agricultural and Commercial Exhibition of Arkalochori held every two years at the end of August. The exhibition attracts a large number of enterprises, manufacturers and services participating and is being visited by over 30,000 visitors from all over Crete. It is considered to contribute essentially in the rapid commercial and cultural development of the wider area.
The Municipal Open Theatre
Located in the area of the exhibition centre the theatre is of semicircular shape with a capacity of approximately 1000 seats. The facility offers also a canteen, toilets, dressing-rooms for the actors, store room of scene and backstage.The cultural events that the Municipality organises every summer, attract visitors not only from the wider area but also from Iraklion city.
The Central Court
at 22.4km (S)
The Central Court (dimensions ca. 50m x 25 m.) is an architectural element common to all Minoan palaces. The Court connects the different wings with one another. There was also direct access from outside the Palace. Part of the paving, which once covered the whole court, is preserved in the northwest and southwest corners, whilst near the "Throne Room", parts of the drainage system can be made out which ensured the evacuation of rain water.
It is thought that the area must have been for meetings and rituals of both a sacred and profane character
The orientation of the Central Court was north-south with a clear view of the sacred Mount Giouhtas, where an important sanctuary was located.
East Wing - Grand Staircase
at 22.4km (S)
A large part of the east wing cannot be seen from the Central Court as it is built into the side of the hill on top of which lies the rest of the Palace. It is one of the most interesting parts of the palace because two storeys are preserved below the level of the Central Court. Today, a large part of it has been reconstructed in concrete.
The storeys are connected with one another by means of a system of stairs known as the "Grand Staircase". The staircase was found during the excavation in its original position. There is a total of four flights of stairs, two for each storey. The two lower flights are preserved as they were found. The steps are broad and deep, with a gentle incline that makes for an easy ascent. The staircase is lit by a large light-well and was surrounded by a colonnade of wooden columns.
The Grand Staircase
The Grand Staircase
The Grand Staircase & Hall of Colonades - First floor
The Grand Staircase & Hall of Colonades - Ground floor
A series of corridors, spacious halls and small rooms is connected to the Grand Staircase. Evans, who believed that the Palace was the seat of the king of Knossos, hypnothesized that the residential quarters of the Royal family lay in this part of the site.
Shrine of the Double Axes
at 22.4km (S)
This room lies at the southern part of east wing in an area with many small rooms (possibly storerooms and magazines), lustral basins and light-wells. It was made into a shrine at the end of the Postpalatial period (1375-1200 B.C.). It is known as the "Shrine of the Double Axes". On a bench at the back, different ritual objects were found amongst which were a stone double axe and votive clay idols - among them the terracotta figurine of a goddess with upraised arms. Similar small shrines have been found in houses of the same period.
The House of the Chancel Screen
at 22.4km (S)
This house belongs to the New Palace Period (1700-1450 B.C.) and was functionally related to the Palace. In its restored part with two columns, there was a bench on which some object of worship had probably been set up. There was a paved hall in front with a double pier - and - door partition.
South East Houses
at 22.4km (S)
The south-east house belongs to the New Palace period (1700-1450 B.C.). It was well built and decorated with wall-paintings of lillies. It had a pier-and-door partition, a pillar room and storage rooms.
A little behind it are other houses of the Old Palace period (1900-1700 B.C.) such as the house of the "Sacrificed Oxen", named after the remains of a sacrifice found there (horns of a bull and a tripod table of offerings) and the "House of the Fallen Blocks", after the blocks that had fallen from the facade of the palace due to an earthquake.
Next to "South-East House" there are houses of the Old Palace period (1900-1700 B.C.), such as that of the "Monolithic Pillars" in front of the steps. Under the small roof is a Minoan, possibly smelting kiln.
Hall of the Double Axes
at 22.4km (S)
The "Hall of the Double Axes" was so named by Evans due to the double axe signs engraved on the walls of the light-well at its rear. He also thought that it was the place of residence of the King of Knossos.
The central area has openings on three sides and is therefore called a "polythyron" (system with multiple doorways). It has a slab floor and its walls were embellished with gypsum slabs and frescoes. The area between the "polythyron" and the light-well was used as a reception hall. Traces of a wooden construction were found here. Evans reconstructed a wooden throne at this spot.
Pictures: 1, 2
According to the archaeological finds, the arrangement of the apartments on the upper floor was similar to those on the ground floor.
at 22.4km (S)
The Queen's Megaron lies in the Royal Apartments next to the "Hall of the Double Axes". It is a smaller room with a similar layout and rich decoration. Evans thought that it must have belonged to the Queen. Fragments of frescoes with dolphins and dancing ladies were found here. The room is largely restored and copies of the wall paintings have been put up on the walls. At the end of the room, a low partition wall with one column created a small space. It was thought that it was the "Queen's Bathroom" since pieces of a clay "bath" were found there.
The Queen's Hall 1, 2,3
A corridor joins the "Queens Megaron" with rooms that have been interpreted as places of preparation and washing.
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