Crete, Samaria gorge

Samaria Gorge 

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Samaria Gorge is arguably the most famous gorge of Crete. Located south of Chania Prefecture Mountains White Mountains. It is the largest canyon in Greece and Europe, and the most walked. Every year thousands of people are from across the world. Its length is 18 km (about 13 km trail through the gorge and 5 km route to the outputs), the width of 150-3 meters, which is the narrowest point, the so-called "doors", the most beautiful and most photographed point, as the two sides of the gorge are only 3 meters and height over 600 meters! The path to the gorge starts from Omalos from the region "Xiloskalo'' at an altitude of 1,222 meters and follows the stream River Gorge to the seaside village of Agia Roumeli. The journey takes 4-7 hours depending on the pace, but the average time with stops for rest takes about six hours. The trail is very well marked with informative signs throughout its length and approximately every 2 km you will find landscaped rest areas and sources of drinking water. The route ends at Agia Roumeli, which is the exit of the gorge. From there boat takes you either to Sfakia or Sougia and Paleochora. In the gorge, halfway there abandoned the village of Samaria, from which it took its name Gorge. In this village, on the south side, there is a small Byzantine church of the 14th century, dedicated to the Blessed Mary, from which the village took its name (by syneresis): Blessed Maria - Maria Co - Samaria. In 1962 the village of Samaria was evacuated, as the gorge was declared a national park to protect the rare flora and fauna. Some old houses are still there and now restored, as used by the guards of the gorge, or configured in first aid stations. The gorge of Samaria has extremely rich flora and fauna. Regarding the flora, in the gorge, there are 450 different species of plants, herbs, and wildflowers of which 70 are endemic and pronoun only. Therefore strictly prohibited flower cut! Famous however is the huge ancient cypress gorge used since ancient times to build ships and the huge pine trees. Also, the gorge is home to a large number of wild birds and mammals that find refuge on the steep slopes. Among them are the very rare eagle and the golden eagle currently threatened with extinction, and the world-famous "Kri-Kri" (Cretan wild goat - Capra aegagrus Cretan), which lives and breeds in it and is the only endemic mammal in Greece. In the gorge also lives and reproduces and Kritikos ferret known as Zourida. The Samaria National Park opens its doors to visitors on May 1. The rental car is for anyone who wants to walk all the way to the gorge or probably better to choose driving the car until the Sfakia and from there one of the paths, preferably morning, small boats to Agia Roumeli. Making i.e. from the start end of the route. Another option is the bus from the town of Chania on the plateau of Omalos (classic way). Still, there are travel agencies that make organized daily trips.

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