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Martes, Hulyo 12, 2011

peninsula of Akrotiri

The peninsula of Akrotiri is part of the province of Kydonia and located to the east of Chania Crete. It is rather barren and its northern end is lined by hills. The (military and civil) airport of Chania is located on the peninsula, about 13 km from Chania. There is no bus service between the airport and Chania. The peninsula also houses many military installations belonging to NATO as well as an American naval base. Akrotiri has few coastal resorts but some nice beaches which are popular at weekends with the inhabitants of Chania but fairly quiet during the week: Marathi, Kalathas and Stavros, a rather soulless village with a beautiful sandy cove (where the beach scenes in Alexis Zorbas were filmed).

Akrotiri also has a few monasteries which are becoming popular with visitors: the impressive Agia Triada was founded in the beginning of the 17th century and was a prominent religious school until about 40 years ago. 
It is well worth a visit but its atmosphere can be rather spoilt by the tour buses which alight there. Following a poor road 
for 4 km to the north of Agia Triada, the road ends at the 16th century Moni Gouverneto (Our Lady of the Angels). The building itself is quite plain but the church inside has a nice sculpted Venetian facade. Its 10.000 residents live in around 20 villages and settlements. The town hall is at the village of Pithari 6.5 km away from Hania. Other villages are :
Sternes, Horafakia, Kounoupidiana, Mouzouras, Korakies, Argoylides, Aroni, Agios Nikolaos, Pazinos (or Paxinos), Anemomyloi, Marathi, Kathiana, Kalathas, Kampani, Stavros, Kalorouma, Hordaki, Rizosklopo, Agia Zoni and Profitis Ilias

From Moni Gouverneto a good path heads down towards the north and the ruins of Moni Katholiko. On the way, after about 10 minutes walk you will pass the Bear Cave. It is a large chamber with a massive stalagmite in the middle resembling the shape of a bear. In antique times this cave was dedicated to the goddess Artemis. After walking down for another 15 minutes you arrive at the 11th century monastery of Katholiko . It was abandoned in the 16th century because of the numerous raids by pirates. The monastery building spans a small gorge with a massive stone bridge. It is a quiet and cool place to rest. From Katholiko, a small footpath follows the gorge to the sea where it is possible to have a swim from the rocks. The road network is quite extensive and in good condition, reaching all the villages and beaches of Akrotiri. There is also a very frequent bus connection with Hania. In the area of Akrotiri have been found also remnants from the Minoan and Hellenistic period. At the south-eastern side near the village of Sternes, findings prove the existence of a town called MINOA.

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