From the square of the village we take the road which rises on the left, we leave behind us the village and in the point where there is a reconditioned windmill we follow the cement road on the left until Antictis area (radar antennas). Following the dirt-road, in about 300 metres we turn left and after a road of about 2,4 km we reach at the Plateaus of Evdomos, the Kato and Apano Lakkos. The bigger and most beautiful is Kato Lakkos. Under a perennial tree there is a spring while at the edge of the plateau an old stone cheese-dairy is being reconditioned in order to be used as a mountain shelter. The Evdomos Mountain, part of Psiloritis Mountain, is used as grassland and as a rule has low vegetation. The locals recall that once the plateau was full of pear-trees which from one point were abandoned so there aren’t anymore. Our visit to the plateau satisfies our mood of excursion offering pleasant walks but also seasonal visits.
The Plateau of Evdomos
Chimeftou location in Moni
In a place of great natural beauty just outside of the village Moni (1.5 km southwest, a dirt road) is the church of Saint George and the Holy Cross "Chimeftou". Outside, beneath huge trees there is a source of running water and a recreation area for visitors.
The country chapel of Saint George & Holy Cross in Chimeftou location
Sunken Threshing floor (Voulismeno Aloni)
Directions of approach: With direction towards Damasta in about 5km after the crossroad for Tylisos, next to the road and on the right you can see the Sunken-Threshing floor (Voulismeno Aloni).
The Voulismeno Aloni is an impressive natural monument: an immense, sunken crater, in the rocky landscape. According to the official explanation, it is about a dolini which was caused after the collapse of an underground cave. It is ellipsoid with a large axis of 95m., with a small one of 90m and with depth of 15-38 m. In the university books is mentioned as a classical type of a dolini, its rock is a Mesozoic limestone and is one of the most spectacular in Greece. The area around Voulismeno Aloni has been shaped for the visitors. The access to the center of Aloni is very easy. From there, anyone can admire the area’s exceptional acoustics.
The legend says that in Voulismeno Aloni there was a threshing floor and that the person who owned it was working even in Prophet Ilias’s fest instead of devote this day to his grace. This happened several times until the day when the Prophet punished him by sinking his threshing floor…
On the way to Damasta, after the Sunken Threshing floor (Voulismeno Aloni), there is a detour on the right (the road is closed by a door which opens and closes on visitor’s responsibility). From there, the Keri’s Height is 3 km away, on a passable dirt-road. The Keri’s Height is at an elevation of 300-320 metres. It has a square shape and it is an almost flat rocky surface (its breach is 2,5x2,5 km), which is abruptly cut with a sheer limestone slopefrom one side and the west side of the height is separated from the opposite rock with a very deep “crack”, the Almiros gorge. From Keri we can admire the spectacular view of the city of Heraklion and is an area ideal for mountain bike and hiking.
View of Heraklion from the Keri’s height
View from Keri just before the sunset
The Almiros gorge or Keri’s gorge or Linoperasmata gorge
The north slope of Keri is formed on its whole length of 2,5 km by the above gorge where the homonymous torrent passes. The bed of the torrent is at an elevation of 20 metres in the exit of the gorge and 160 metres in its west entrance.
Gorge of Gonies
Between Sklavokampos and crack of Tylisos-Gergeris (west of Korfes) is formed inside the limestones the gorge of Gonies. The Goniano gorge is the unique passage which connects Sklavokampos and Gonies with Tylisos.
Its length is 3 km. and is relatively wide and straight. Reaching though the exit (in the point where a monument of those killed during the 2nd World War is in the road to Gonies) the gorge turns abruptly towards south and before it comes out of the limestone mass follows an irregular and abrupt course.
- Kamilari Cave in Tylisos
- Chainospilios Cave in Kamaraki
- Doxa Cave in Marathos
- Trapeza Cave in Tylisos
- Arkalospilios Cave in Marathos
- Spiliara Cave in Astiraki
Kamilari Cave in Tylisos
Directions of approach: Heading to Damasta, 2 km after the crossroad to Tylisos, in a height of 240m.
The entrance is big (10 metres width, 4,5 metres high). It has four domed rooms with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. The first room has 12 metres width and 38 metres length. After a sheer descent of 3, 80 metres we reach room two with length of 21m, width of 19m and height of 15m. From the west part of room two, we reach room three which is the biggest room of the cave with 48m. length, 19m. width and height up to 15m. The room four is on the east of room two.
The existed drought of air shows that the cave communicates from another spot with the ground surface. Inside the cave have been found sub-Minoan conches, early geometrical, geometrical and probably roman, maybe because it was a place of worship of a kouritis feeding divinity.
Map of Kamilari Cave source: “El. Platakis (18-12-1966)”
Chainospilios Cave in Kamaraki
Directions of approach: From the road of Tylisos-Gonies, detour for Kamaraki (2km.) and 200 m. on the left after the edge of the village there is Chainospilios or Marmarospilios (Marble) Cave in the area of Asfentamos-Kefali and at an elevation of 550m.
Chainospilios or Marmarospilios (Marble Cave) has the form of an elongate tunnel, about 200m. long (once was a bed of an underground river) and is easily accessible. It has large halls with amazing formations of stalagmites which form pillars that reach even 6 metres high as well as complexes of stalactites which are hunging from the roof like crystal chandeliers and is considered as one of the most important caves of Crete due to the natural decoration. The conches of the Minoan era which were found in the cave indicate its use as a worship ground during the ancient times.
Source: SP.O.C., Chrysa Mavrokosta, Emmanouela Pervolaraki, Eleni Nikitea
Map of Chainospilios Cave source: “El. Platakis”
The name Chainospilios comes from Chainis Giannis Palmetis (1790 – 1834, real name Panteris) from Kamaraki settlement who was the most terrifying exterminator of the Turkish Agas and was using the cave as a hideout. (chain in turkish means rebel-unsubdued).
In a distance of 28 metres south east of the cave’s entrance, there is a second cave called Chamoto Spiliari with length of 32m., width of 6 m. maximum and height of 6 metres with a remarkable stone decoration.
Entrance of Chainospilios Cave
Doxa Cave in Marathos
Directions of approach: Heading to Damasta, 7,5 km after the crossroad for Tylisos in a height of 490 metres there is a tavern on the right called Doxa. Right under it is the entrance of the cave which has total length of 50 metres.
It has an impressive decoration of stalactites and stalagmites and halls which communicate with tunnels relatively easily passable even for a beginner. The tavern which is above the cave will supply you with torches, essential equipment for the tour inside the cave.
DOXA Cave in Marathos
Map of Doxa Cave source: “El. Platakis (14-06-1970)”
Trapeza Cave in Tylisos
Directions of approach: Heading to Gonies, 700 metres after Tylisos, we meet the crossroad for Moni. Just opposite the street, there is a dirt-road which after 3,2 km leads to the cave which is in front of a flat, on the left of the road.
Map of Trapeza Cave source: “El. Platakis”
The Trapeza Cave has been used as a place of worshiping, something that is certified by the innumerous conches on its ground but also by its flat which is in front of the entrance which both are dated from the middle-Minoan era until the after-Minoan. The most important findings of the cave are two idols of men in worshiping position.
On the west there is another cave, the Anatoliko of Trapeza, which is a narrow downward tunnel with a very slippery ground. Above the caves (Korfi Pirgou and Pera Korfi) there is a sanctuary of the Minoan era. It was founded after 2000 BC and was discovered in 1962 by the archaeologist Spiros Alexiou.
Arkalospilios Cave in Marathos
Directions of approach: It is located on the south west of Marathos community in Arkalokefalo location.
The entrance is 2,10m. wide and 1 meter high and the total leength of its halls is 153 metres. Inside the cave there have been found conches, roman, Byzantine and medieval ones, as well as many stalactites and stalagmites. During the Turkish domination the cave was used as a shelter for the Christians.
Map of Arkalospilios Cave source: “El. Platakis”
Spiliara Cave in Astiraki
Directions of approach: Behind the church of Agios Konstantinos, in Astiraki, there is a path which goes through the fields and leads to a torrent. This torrent ends up in Spiliara which literally gulps it.
The entrance of the cave is 1,85m. high and 1,20 metres wide. The hall is big (15,50m.x30m. with a height of 7 metres), with impressive stalactites and stalagmites. The one who enters the cave sees right away in the centre, two pillars of stalagmites which leave a little empty space between them so that a human being can hardly pass through as well as other large complexes of stalagmites.
The cave is inaccessible. In order someone to get inside needs a rope because in the mouth there is an abrupt downshift of 2 metres. It is a gradual chasm with a total tunnel length of 430 metres. There is a lake inside, from what French speleologists say who have explored Spiliara, and it takes special equipment for its exploration. It is the second cave in length in Malevizi Province.
In Spiliara cave the residents of Astiraki were hiding during the 2nd World War, when the Germans were bombing.
- MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT OF AIDONOCHORI
- MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT OF ASTIRAKI
- MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT OF GONIES
- MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT OF DAMASTA
- MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT OF MARATHOS
MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT OF AIDONOCHORI
The Tafkos of Stefanakis gulf
It is located, on the left leaving Aidonochori village, near Avelaria area. The altitude is approximately 650m.
MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT OF ASTIRAKI
Gulf of Mavromichalis
It is located in the middle of the road which connects Astiraki and Aidonochori village. The total depth of the gulf is 24m.
It is located on 1.500 m. north of Astiraki in the area of Riaki Kontolio.
MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT OF GONIES
It is located in a distance of 150m. on the right of 1,6 km of road which leads to radar, north of Gonies. Its entrance is 20m. on the right of the gorge in an altitude of 650m. in Kalivos area.
Simantiraki is known from the old days because it was the area where they threw their wounded hawks or dead animals (it happens even today).
Its shape looks like a bell (kabana in greek) and because of that, the gulfs of that kind of shape are called “kabathoures”.
Xerokolagoufo I Gulf
It is located in a distance of 70m. on the left of 2nd km. of road which leads to radar, north of Gonies. It is a small gulf with total depth of 7,5m.
Xerokolagoufo II Gulf
It is located in a distance of 15m. south of the previous gulf, its total depth is 28m. and has four distinct halls.
Gulf of Rikomaschalos
It is located on the east of Gonies in an altitude of 720m. A big rock which is on the north side of the entrance is a characteristic one.
Poros of Stenos Laggos Gulf
It has a total depth of 22m. Its width ranges from 1 to 4 metres.
Lakki of Kontari Gulfcave
It is located on Antictis area. It is 300m. away on the south east of 7th km. of the agrarian road towards the radars in the edge of the gorge.
It is located in a distance of 700 m. south east of the previous gulf. Its depth is 28m. with a tunnel which broadens a little bit towards the bottom.
It is located on the south west of Gonies. The altitude is 900m. The total depth is 130m. While its total length is 90m.
Πηγή: ΣΠ.Ο.Κ. , Νίκος Γιγουρτζής, Γιάννης Σουρλατζής
Πηγή: ΣΠ.Ο.Κ. , Νίκος Γιγουρτζής, Γιάννης Σουρλατζής
It is located on the area of Grabousa, north of Gonies and especially on the south slope of Kastellos hill. The décor of stalagmites is very poor.
Katsoufenas Gulf in Kamaraki
It is located on about 1 km. before Gonies, on the left of the central road which comes from Heraklion.
It is located on the left of the road which leads to Evdomos area
Skala of Antictis Gulf
It is located on the south of Gonies.
Gulf of Konstantis
It is located on the south of Gonies, in an area which is called in the Prinos of Konstantis.
Mesi of Plates Gulf
The gulf took its name from the wider area of Plates in which is in.
Kati Lakki Gulf
It is 500m. west of the previous gulf.
Gulf of Mavrianos
It is approximately 500m. north of Mesi of Plates Gulf and 600m. north east of Kati Lakki Gulf.
Lakkos of Mavrianos Gulf
It is approximately 500m. south of Sochoro area of Apano Lakkos in the slope of the Mountain. The area is called Lakkos of Mavrianos.
It is on the south of Gonies. It inspires awe due to its large mouth but also due to its big sheer depth.
Source: SP.O.C., Chrysa Mavrokosta, Nikos Gigourtzis
It is on the east of Gonies. The altitude is 705m. The whole wider area is full of small and big holes, that’s why is called Koufaliaris.
Tripa of Psarogenis Gulf
It is approximately in the middle of the slope of Psiloritis Mountain.
Sfentilidolaki I Gulf
It is located on the north side of Skalera of Pelekitos area.
Tafkos of Prinos Gulf
It is located on the south of Gonies. The total depth is 17m.
Armi of Xerakias Gulf
It is 2km. south of Gonies. The total depth is 46m. and there are enough complexes of stalagmites.
Piso Lagos Gulf
It is located on the south west of Gonies. The total depth of the gulf is 72m.
It is located on the south west of the village, after 2km. of Litharas area, in a distance of 300m. from the bed of the creek. The total depth is 19m.
It is on the south of Skarolithos area and has an altitude of 750m.
MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT OF DAMASTA
Chondro Charaki Gulf
It is 500-600m. away from the cemetery of Damasta’s village on the south. The total depth is 60m.
It is on the 26th km. of the old national road of Heraklion-Chania, approximately 1km. before Damasta’s village, 50m. south of the road and in an altitude of 320m.
MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT OF MARATHOS
Peristerotafkos or the Tafkos of Lakkos Gulf
It is on the west of Doxa cave in the wider area which is called Doxa or Lakkos of Tafkos. In the interior there are large quantities of dung from pigeons which nest in the entrance of the gulf.
It is located on the west of Doxa cave near the gulf of Lakkos of Tafkos.
Tafkos of Palmetis Gulf
It is located on the Strouboula Plateau in the Marathian region and its depth is 44m.
The name comes from Chainis Giannis Palmetis (1790 – 1834, real name Panteris) from Kamaraki settlement who was the most terrifying exterminator of the Turkish Agas (chain in turkish means rebel-unsubdued). He had his nest in Strouboula and watched the road to Rethimnon. When he was seeing an Aga passing by, he was shooting him, he was taking from him all he had and was throwing him in the gulf, which from then is called the Tafkos of Palmetis, in order to exterminate every trail. The tradition says that once he had caught 7 Agas at the same time and made them jump across the tafkos and as an exchange he would spare the life to those who would make it. One of them almost did make it. He reached the opposite edge and grasped a branch. Palmetis cut the branch and the Turk…was excluded from the beneficent arrangement. The turkish administration discovered the reason why the Agas were disappearing only when someone managed to get away from Palmetis and revealed his nest. They couldn’t arrest him though. Years later, in 1834, while Palmetis was walking unarmed and carefree in Heraklion, the men of Mustafa Naisli pasha, besieger of Arkadi, caught him, killed him and threw him in the sea.