- Akrotiri (Crete)
Akrotiri (Greek: Ακρωτήρι, literally "") is a peninsula and municipality in
Crete, east of Chania. Its ancient name was "Kiamon" while the Byzantines called it "Charaka". The governmental entity of Akrotiri forms a municipality of Chania Prefecture, with its headquarters at Pythari.
Geography and environment
Akrotiri is a rocky promontory [S.T.Williamson, 1933] on the northern side of the island of Crete, in the
Sea of Crete. It is roughly circular in shape, connected to the rest of the island by a wide causeway between Chania and the town of Souda. To the south, Souda Bayis found between the peninsula and the island. Most of the peninsula is a plateau somewhat elevated from the sea. There is a string of hills along the northern coast. A variety of floraoccur on the rocky promontory of Akrotiri including the herb "Taraxacum minimum". [A.Strid, 1996]
The earliest history of the local area is related to the founding of the nearby ancient city of
Kydonia, one of the most powerful cities of ancient Crete. [C.M.Hogan, 2008]
The tombs of
Eleftherios Venizelosand his son Sophoklis are found On Akrotiri, at a site overlooking Chania. At this site, the Greek flag was raised in defiance of the Turks and the Great Powers, with the peninsula acting as a headquarters of the Cretan Revolution.
Three monasteries are found in the hills to the north. Aghia Triada dates from the
17th Centuryand was founded by two Venetian monks who had joined the Orthodox church, Jeremiah and Laurentio Giancarolo. These brothers renovated an older monastery endowed by the Mourtari family. The imposing buildings are visible across the plateau and from planes arriving at the airport and are set in olive and orange groves. A little way into the hills, accessible by car through a small gorge, is the Gouvernetos Monastery, 5 km north of Aghia Triada. Here the buildings appear fortress-like, with a large square building around a central courtyard, in which stands the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
From Gouvernetos, the path is only accessible by foot and leads to the cave of the Arkoudiotissa ("she-bear"), where a
stalagmiteis said to look like a bear. This cave is believed to have been used for worship since ancient times, and was dedicated to the Arkoudiotissa Panaghia (Our Lady) in Christian times. Ascetics lived in the caves in the area. Further along the path, after a descent of 140 steps, is the Katholikon(monastic church), the third monastery, now abandoned. It is believed to date from the 5th or 6th Century, founded by St John the Hermit. It is built into the cliff, with a unique church largely carved into the rock-face. This striking set of buildings is now overgrown with figtrees but retains significant charm.
Chania/Ioannis Daskalogiannis International Airport(IATA: CHQ, ICAO:LGSA), named after folk-hero Daskalogiannis, is on the central plateauand is easily reached from Chania by car, taxi or public transport. There are several resorts around Akrotiri, including Stavros, Kalathasand Marathi.
* C. Michael Hogan (2008) "Cydonia Fieldnotes", The Modern Antiquarian [http://letmespeaktothedriver.com/site/10881/cydonia.html#fieldnotes]
* Arne Strid and Kit Tan (1986) "Mountain Flora of Greece", Edinburgh University Press ISBN:0748602070
* Samuel Thurston Williamson, Raymond Moley, Malcolm Muir, Rex Smith and Joseph Becker Phillips (1933) Newsweek
* [http://www.akrotiricrete.com/ Travel guide to Akrotiri]
* [http://www.akrotiri.gr Municipality of Akrotiri]
* [http://www.travel-to-crete.com/place.php?place_id=83 Akrotiri Stavros photos]
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