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Agia Roumeli

Agia Roumeli is governed administratively by the Municipality of Sfakia in the Prefecture of Chania.
It is a coastal settlement in south-western Crete and it allocates a wide beach while the access is feasible only with boats from Hora Sfakion, via Loutro and from Palaiochora or Sougia, while the village does not allocate road access.
Constitutes popular tourist destination because it is located at the southern entry of the Gorge of Samaria, the biggest gorge in Greece and one of the biggest in Europe with a length of 18 kilometres.
Afia Roumeli is built on the ruins of ancient Tarras, that was the acquaintance for Manteio and was destroyed by earthquake 66 A.D.
Tarra was a small but independent city and had it's own currencies that on one side portrayed the head of chamois (kri-kri) and a arrow and in the other side a bee.
It was a big religious centre with a lot of temples of Apollo. The Christians named it Agia Roumilia and later Agia Roumeli.
In the region exist rented rooms and enough taverns for thus who wishes to rest after the descent of Gorge of Samaria or even stay for certain days for a quiet interruptions.

 

How you go to Agia Roumeli:
By boat from the Hora Sfakion, Palaiochora and Sougia, giving you the opportunity for a beautiful daily excursion to Agia Roumeli and the down part of the Gorge of Samaria.
We begin from Chania and were directed to south to the plateau of Omalos (39 kilometres from Chania).
The region was, because of the location and the natural fortress of environment, used as base of operations and shelter of the rebels during all historical periods.
Our street crosses the plateau and after 4 kilometres leads to Xyloskalo (altitude 1.227m), 43 kilometres southern from Chania, where is the entry of the gorge.
In this place existed old wooden scales in order to facilitates the descent, for this prevailed the name Xyloskalo.
After 30 minutes going down the scales we arrive Neroytsiko. Leaving behind us Neroytsiko and following the downhill path, we reach then after 45 minutes in the small church of Agios Nikolas.
60 minutes from Agios-Nikolas is presented in front of us the devastated settlement of Samaria, that is located roughly in the middle of way.
Here will find the visitor a small station, that is provided with telephone and first helps for urgent incidents and toilets.
Here also it can rent a mule for the remainder part of way.
Samaria was abandoned in 1962, when the Greek government nominated the region of the gorge as national forest. Most of the inhabitants left to Agia Roumeli and elsewhere. Now most houses are devastated.
Only the small churches of Osia Maria, Christ and Saint George fight with the erosion from the time. The church of Osia Maria is the oldest one. Built in 1379 by the Venetians that dominated that period Crete and showing big economic interest for the rich in timber forests of gorge. The name "Osia Maria" was progressively changed in "Sia Maria", "Sa Maria" and finally in Samaria.
45 minutes after Samaria exists in our course a big spring, that is acquaintance in the region as Kefalobrysi or Kefalobrysia. The presence of running water from Kefalobrysi up to the sea makes this last part of the way more pleasant.
After 20 minutes from Kefalobrysi we meet the small church of Metamorphosis and little afterwards Sidiroportes.
It is the narrowest part of the gorge (The Gates), roughly three metres wide and a lot of metres deep.
About 30 minutes from the gates and as soon as we come out from the limits of gorge we reaches Agia Roumeli, after about 6 hours walk.

 

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