Admire the natural beauty and the geological wealth of Crete
Crete is a hidden treasure of geological wealth: a mosaic of characteristic features which make it unique and special throughout the Mediterranean. Its polymorphic relief has been formed when the bed of a huge sea, known as the Tethys Sea, was raised up as a result of the pressure of the tectonic plates which have been bringing Europe and Africa together for million years. Natural processes have shaped the mountain ranges about 23 million years ago in the area of Crete and made the first dry land: A never ending dry land which covered all the Aegean, joined with Europe and Asia and which was called Aegais. Discover the napes which formed the island, under the guidance of a geologist who will introduce you into the mystery of geological creation through analyzing the relief. A specially created route of great interest passing from Geological Highlights like the Psiloritis Natural Park.
Rocks of Crete: 60-70% carbonate constituted of limestone, dolomite and marbles, plattenkalk, trilobites, graptolites, white marble, grey dolomites, very well preserved corals and other marine fossils, multi color rocks of stromatolitic dolomite, phyllites-quartzites.
Our daily excursions in nature of Crete!!!
1. Natural History Museum of Crete
Enjoy a guided tour through the Natural History Museum of Crete which has been functioning and operating under the framework of the University of Crete since 1980, being a pioneer institute at national and European level specialized in Studying and Managing the Natural Environment of Crete. It consists of five departments: Zoology, Botany, Geology - Paleontology, Mineralogy and Anthropology. The exhibition halls of the museum are housed in a modern building by the sea. Most of the material held by the museum has been donated by its researchers. Besides the material gathered within the framework of the research projects much of the new material is collected by researchers during the Museum’s annual scientific expeditions to different parts of Greece and the Mediterranean.
2. Northern Part of Psiloritis Mt. (Mt. Idi).
Psiloritis Mt. (Idi Mt.) is one of the three major mountain ranges of Crete. The highest peak is 2,456m (Timios Stavros).
Passing from the village Gonies we will see Ophiolites and mantle rocks from the oceanic thrust. We will continue to the village of Anogia and stop at Mygia’s trail. Along the track one can see the basic rocks of Psiloritis, the platy marbles and the flysch of the plattenkalk limestones unit, the limestones of the Tripolitsa Unit, as well as the contact between the two units, the scientifically very important “Cretan detachment fault”. After returning to Anogeia we will go to Zoniana’s village visiting the cave of Sfendoni one of the most spectacularly beautiful caves, lying near the village of Zoniana at an imposing location. Our way afterwards will pass from the villages of Axos, Garazo, Doxaro. On the way to the monastery Vossakou we will stare at the amazing formations of Folds at the platy limestones of the “Plattenkalk” series. On our way back from Damasta we pass through the Stroumboulas Plateau and the Almyros river. If there is time left we stop over the canyon. On our way back to Heraklion we will pass from Voulismeno Aloni which is is a impressive sinkhole of 90 meters in diameter located on the foot of Strouboulas mountain.
3. Southern Part of Psiloritis Mt. (Mt. Idi).
Psiloritis Mt. is the «drainage basin» of central Crete. The collected in the system comes from several springs. Zaros, Gergeri, Almyros and Bali are the major of them.
Most of the site's area is karstified. Karstic forms comprise canyons, karst windows, numerous dolines and many hundreds of caves and potholes including the deepest in Greece (-475m).
With direction Mires, we make a stop before the village of Agia Varvara for seeing Erosion structures. On the way to Gergeri we stare at the evaporitic rocks, the conglomerates and the sandstones of Miocene on the slopes of the road. Arriving at the village, we shall visit the museum of natural history of Gergeri and pass though the women’s agri-tourism cooperation. Continuing the route to Zaros, we will see the faults of Jurassic limestones and the entrance of the St Nicolas Gorge. Afterwards, we continue our route until the village of Vorizia with its Canyon. Then optionally either we return to Heraklion and make a stop at the monasteries of Vrontissi and Valsamonero at Zaros, or continue the route to southern Crete passing from villages of Kamares, Magarikari, Kalochorafiti, Vorri, Komos and Matala and then return back from Mires.
4. Eastern part of Crete
We will go to Hersonissos small port, and stare at the Marls and marlstones of the Miocene era of 20 million years old and several geological formations (faults, sea erosion) Then, we will enter the bus and go to Milatos where we will reach after a small hike the famous cave where hundreds of Christians where slaughtered in 1823. In the striking landscape of the area, the grays of the limestone contrasts with the rich reds of the soil. On our way to Elounda we will see platy limestone which is a particular Cretan formation. Then, we will visit the small magnificent island of Kolokytha or most known Spinalonga to explore the historic island that was a massive fortress for the Venetians and became later a leper colony.
Optionally, on our return back to the hotel we shall have the chance to visit the Cretan Aquarium.
5. Western part of Crete
We start from Agia Pelagia and continue on foot to the little beach of Psaromoura for seeing the schists, the sea erosion and the faults. Continuing our way to western Crete, we optionally go to the beach of Spilies after Panormo area of Rethymnon. Passing from Rethymnon City, we take direction to Plakias. On the road, passing from the villages of Agios Vassilios and Selia we will meet folds, old rock formations, as well as the Canyon. On the way to the beach of Plakias we pass through the big mirror of the crack. On the way to Preveli beach we descend the path for seeing the transformed rocks, the estuary of the river in the sea, the sea formations and the faults.
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