Crete tourist guide

The best Polish website dedicated to the Greek island Crete and to a small extent of continental Greece. You will find useful information related to visiting Crete that goes beyond the offer of optional tours. On the website you will also find descriptions of the most interesting places that we visited by visiting this largest Greek island. The content complements the current news, photographs and recipes of Greek cuisine.

Labyrinthaki and Labyrinthos - ancient quarries or the Minotaur labyrinth

Μικρή Λαβύρινθος, Λαβυρινθάκι and Λαβύρινθος

Labyrinthaki Cave is located on a small hill between the villages of Plouti and Moroni, about 50 km south of Heraklion. Actually, it is not a classic cave in the literal meaning of the word but the remains of an ancient quarry.

To get here, after leaving Zaros, head towards Moroni. Then, passing through this place, continue on Plouti. After leaving the village a bit over a kilometer more or less halfway to Plouti, turn right. The road will lead us through the cultivated fields towards a fairly steep hill. After entering the entrance to Labyrinthaki it is already visible. The next path turns into a scooter. The car can be left on a small square by the road. The cave leads a fairly wide and low entrance, which you have to climb a bit.


Immediately after crossing the threshold of the cave, we are in a large hall about the size of 300 square meters and a height of about 4 meters. Several powerful rock columns support the vault. Nevertheless, the whole "structure" does not look too sure and seems to threaten to collapse. Superficial viewing of this place does not require any additional equipment, but if you want to look a little deeper, you should have at least a flashlight. Of course, you enter such places on your own responsibility and therefore you have to take care of your own safety.

The name (Μικρή Λαβύρινθος - Mały Labyrinth) refers to the much larger cave in the neighborhood, simply called the Labyrinth (Cave Labyrinth). Although both caves are located nearby, they are not connected to each other. Common to them is that in both places in ancient times mined stone was used to build a nearby Minoan palace in Phaistos, the buildings of the villa in Agia Triada and Gortyna, or the former capital of Crete.

Labyrinthaki

Labyrinth Cave

This second cave, or rather a quarry, is much larger and its intriguing history has been remembered for some time. Located in the northern part of Messara at an altitude of 413 meters above sea level, it has a total area of ​​nearly 9,000. m. Speleologists will determine the length of its corridors over 2.5 km. Currently, however, there is not much left of its original shape. During World War II, it was almost completely destroyed by the retreating German army.

Labyrinth of the Minotaur

Nowadays, the remains of underground corridors aroused the interest of many researchers, who recognized that this place, and not so far thought Knossos, perhaps should be considered a mythical labyrinth of the Minotaur. Of course, the term labyrinth is purely arbitrary, but this association is necessary when viewing for the first time innumerable underground corridors.

This cave was formerly referred to as the Labyrinth by the first travelers visiting Crete in the early 20th century. At that time, it was one of the places willingly visited in Crete. Confirmation of this can be found in historical books describing these journeys. Only after the Knossos palace was brought to light and Evans pointed out this place as the Minotaur's mythical labyrinth, the significance of this cave began to decrease systematically.

Today we still can not be sure how it was with the mythical Minotaur. The most probable, however, is that in ancient times, slaves mining stone building were working here. Later, after closing the quarries, the place is inhabited by bats. Their droppings were collected by local residents who used them to fertilize their fields.

Labyrinthaki


A gigantic ammunition magazine

During World War II, Labyrinthos was occupied by Germany and after adapting it to their needs, they used former quarries to store water, food and as a huge ammunition warehouse. According to the researchers, 300,000 tons of various types of weapons and military equipment were stored here. On October 15, 1944, the retreating occupiers blasted the ammunition accumulated here. As a result of a huge explosion, the system of underground corridors has been largely destroyed. The strength of detonation should be demonstrated by the fact that 15-ton boulders were thrown outne of this cave were found 10 km away.

The explosion, however, did not destroy all the ammunition accumulated in this place. After the war, many local residents made attempts to extract the remaining cargo. Unfortunately, many of them lost their lives here.

In the 1950s, a Greek company acting on behalf of the government took care of cleansing the Labyrinth. The dates engraved in fresh cement also show that a number of works were carried out at the time to strengthen the walls. Unfortunately, due to financial disagreements, however, these works have never been completed.

A still dangerous and forgotten place in Crete

However, the war ammunition that still remained in this area still attracted people seeking weapons. On April 11, 1961, a major explosion occurred, resulting in the deaths of four people. After this accident the army secured the entrance and the entrance to the cave was strictly forbidden. For 20 consecutive years, no one managed to get inside, while the cave itself began to fall into human oblivion. According to scientists who have been investigating it today, today it is the most forgotten place in Crete, which is not mentioned by any guides.

It was not until 1981 that a group of Greek speleologists dug a new hole through which they got inside the Labyrinth. In the following years, more groups of speleologists appeared here and new entrances were created. Thanks to these researchers, modern maps of this place were created, reports were developed and a number of tests were also carried out.

To this day no one knows exactly how many ammunitions are still in the remains of the labyrinth corridors. Certainly there are various chemical processes and corrosion affecting dangerously to its condition and general safety of the entire hill. There are indications that the outbreak of 1961 could destabilize the entire hill, inside which there is a cave.

Labyrinthaki

No Trespassing!

If you have now stated that you will add the Labyrinth to your holiday plans, we have a bad news for you. It is one of those places on Crete, which you will not see. Only few speleologists and researchers have access here. For the rest, the cave is still unavailable, and the entry is strictly forbidden due to the threat.

In 2010, the Prefecture of Heraklion issued a press release about the re-closing of this place and the data on the exact location of the cave are removed for security reasons and so as not to tempt the curious. The area around the Maze was fenced and provided with appropriate information boards, which the locals love to shoot.

In 2010, the German company Tauber submitted a proposal to perform further part of the cleaning work carried out in the labyrinth. Unfortunately, however, they never came to fruition. In addition, the words spoken in July 2014 by the Greek Minister of Culture Nikos Xidakis ("forget about the Labyrinth") leave no illusions as to whether a tourist attraction will be created there once. The instability of the land and the excessive distance from the main leisure areas make it impossible and exclude the sense of adapting this place to safe sightseeing.

There is nothing else to do but to delve into the studies made by contemporary researchers who have learned this place well. It is worth mentioning, for example, Thomas M. Waldmann, who collected the results of research on this place on his website: http://www.labyrinthos.ch/Labyrinth-Hoehle.english.html . You can also go to Labirynthaki, a small neighbor of Labirynthu, from the description of which we started this story.

Due to the fact that admission to the big Labyrinth quarry is forbidden and it is a very dangerous place, the pictures illustrating this article were made only in Labyrinthaki.

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Interesting places on Crete

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Knossos
Knossos

Knossos

Knossos is one of the flagship monuments visited by tourists, it is also the most popular place where organized trips go.

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Heraklion
Heraklion

Heraklion

Heraklion (Iraklion) is the largest city of Crete. With almost 140,000 inhabitants, it is the fourth largest Greek city.

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Margarites
Margarites

Margarites

Dozens of craft workshops located in this small mountain village make Margarites one of the four main centers where traditional Cretan ceramics are made.

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Heraklion - airport
Heraklion - airport

Heraklion - airport

International airport. Nikos Kazantzakis in Heraklion is currently the largest airport in Crete.

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Heraklion
Heraklion

Heraklion

Heraklion (Iraklion) is the largest city of Crete. With almost 140,000 inhabitants, it is the fourth largest Greek city.

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Moni Arkadiou
Moni Arkadiou

Moni Arkadiou

The date of the foundation of Moni Arkadiou (Arkadi) is not exactly known. According to tradition, the name of this church refers to the name of the Emperor Arkadiusz, who supposedly was to be its founder.

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Moni Arkadiou
Moni Arkadiou

Moni Arkadiou

The date of the foundation of Moni Arkadiou (Arkadi) is not exactly known. According to tradition, the name of this church refers to the name of the Emperor Arkadiusz, who supposedly was to be its founder.

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Rethymnon
Rethymnon

Rethymnon

Rethymnon with around 40,000 inhabitants are the third largest city of Crete. This place was populated already in the Minoan period. Historically, the city was an important commercial center.

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Thrapsano
Thrapsano

Thrapsano

Thrapsano is a small town inhabited by slightly over 2,500 people, the vast majority of which until recently maintained their activity as a potter.

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Skinaria
Skinaria

Skinaria

Skinaria is a small beach located along a small bay, whose outlet on both sides ends with a rocky coast. It is still a little-known place overlooked by mass tourism

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Skinaria
Skinaria

Skinaria

Skinaria is a small beach located along a small bay, whose outlet on both sides ends with a rocky coast. It is still a little-known place overlooked by mass tourism

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Jaskinia Idi
Jaskinia Idi

Jaskinia Idi

According to Greek mythology, Zeus hid (and perhaps even gave birth) in the Ida cave. This myth is the greatest asset of this cave, which is not as interesting and beautiful as the Dikte cave.

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Tripiti
Tripiti

Tripiti

Tripiti is a small beach covered with a mixture of gray sand, gravel and stones. Despite the fact that the beach is unorganized and has a semi-natural appearance, one small tavern works here.

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Tripiti
Tripiti

Tripiti

Tripiti is a small beach covered with a mixture of gray sand, gravel and stones. Despite the fact that the beach is unorganized and has a semi-natural appearance, one small tavern works here.

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Tripiti
Tripiti

Tripiti

Tripiti is a small beach covered with a mixture of gray sand, gravel and stones. Despite the fact that the beach is unorganized and has a semi-natural appearance, one small tavern works here.

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Plakias
Plakias

Plakias

Plakias is a perfect place for people who like to spend time hiking. In the area of the town and the surrounding area, there are several hiking trails that lead to interesting beaches.

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Preveli monastery
Preveli monastery

Preveli monastery

Currently, the lower monastery is still not open to the public and is not used by the monks. The buildings of the upper monastery have undergone partial renovation and are the main seat of the Preveli monastery.

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Preveli monastery
Preveli monastery

Preveli monastery

Currently, the lower monastery is still not open to the public and is not used by the monks. The buildings of the upper monastery have undergone partial renovation and are the main seat of the Preveli monastery.

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Preveli monastery
Preveli monastery

Preveli monastery

Currently, the lower monastery is still not open to the public and is not used by the monks. The buildings of the upper monastery have undergone partial renovation and are the main seat of the Preveli monastery.

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Gorge Kourtaliotiko
Gorge Kourtaliotiko

Gorge Kourtaliotiko

The Kourtaliotiko Gorge, also known as the Asomatos Gorge, is perhaps one of the most spectacular natural attractions available in the central part of Crete.

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Minoan Agia Triada
Minoan Agia Triada

Minoan Agia Triada

Agia Triada is a small Minoan archaeological site in the south of Crete, located near Timpaki, located on the western slope of the hill about 40 meters above sea level.

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Fajstos
Fajstos

Fajstos

Około 60 kilometrów na południowy zachód od stolicy Krety - Heraklionu znajdują się ruiny drugiego co do wielkości starożytnego pałacu - Fajstos.

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Melidoni Cave
Melidoni Cave

Melidoni Cave

Currently, Melidoni Cave (originally called Gerontospilios) is associated mainly with the tragic events that took place here in 1824.

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Koules Fortress
Koules Fortress

Koules Fortress

This fortress is a perfect example of Crete's multiculturalism. Located today in Greek hands, it was built by the Venetians, but is called a name taken from the Turkish language.

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Archeological museum
Archeological museum

Archeological museum

It is one of the most important and largest museums in Greece and one of the most important in Europe.

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Tylissos
Tylissos

Tylissos

Tylissos is one of the few places in Crete that has kept its name since ancient times.

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Damnoni
Damnoni

Damnoni

Plaża w Damnoni jest położona po sąsiedzku z Plakias - popularną turystyczną miejscowością

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Agios Pavlos
Agios Pavlos

Agios Pavlos

Agios Pavlos is a small town located on the southern coast of Crete near Saktouria.

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Triopetra
Triopetra

Triopetra

Triopetra is located at the foot of the Siderotas mountain about 52 km south of Rethymno.

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Agia Galini
Agia Galini

Agia Galini

gia Galini (Αγία Γαλήνη) jest jednym z najpopularniejszych nadmorskich kurortów na południowym wybrzeżu Krety.

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Skinakas Observatory
Skinakas Observatory

Skinakas Observatory

The observatory is located at the top of the Skinakas mountain at an altitude of 1750 m. The idea for its construction was born in 1984.

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Armeni
Armeni

Armeni

The Late-Romanesque cemetery in Armeni is located on the outskirts of this town, located less than 10 km south of the center of Rethymno.

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Military Museum
Military Museum

Military Museum

The museum presents the dramatic history of Crete written over the last several hundred years.

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Argyroupolis
Argyroupolis

Argyroupolis

The modern settlement known as Argyroupolis was built on the site of the ancient city of Lappa (also called Lambi)

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Lentas
Lentas

Lentas

Lentas is a good idea for those who want to get away from villages steeped in industrial tourism.

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Labyrinthaki and Labyrinthos
Labyrinthaki and Labyrinthos

Labyrinthaki and Labyrinthos

This ancient quarry, consisting of two parts by modern times, is called Λαβυρινθάκι and Λαβύρινθος.

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Archeological Museum in Eleftherna
Estiatorio Chrisopigi
Estiatorio Chrisopigi

Estiatorio Chrisopigi

If anyone of you is looking for a good restaurant near Matala and Kalamaki, then we would like to recommend estiório Chrisopigi.

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Gortyna
Gortyna

Gortyna

Gortyna is considered one of the most extensive excavations in Greece.

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Psiloritis - Timios Stavros
Psiloritis - Timios Stavros

Psiloritis - Timios Stavros

Psiloritis (Timios Stavros - Holy Cross) is the top of the highest mountain of Crete, rising to 2456 m above sea level.

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Rouvas Gorge
Rouvas Gorge

Rouvas Gorge

Rouvas Gorge is one of the most interesting places in this part of Crete. The interesting trail leads in a perfect way to the changing appearance of this gorge.

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Matala
Matala

Matala

Matala is one of the most popular towns not only of the southern coast but also of the whole of Crete. In the 1960s and 1970s, this small fishing village was a mecca for hippies.

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Monastery of Odigitrias
Monastery of Odigitrias

Monastery of Odigitrias

The Odigitrias Monastery is one of the most famous monasteries of southern Crete. Unfortunately, in terms of popularity, he is far from other Cretan monasteries.

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Kali Limenes
Kali Limenes

Kali Limenes

Kali Limenes (meaning Dobre Porty or Piękny Przystanie) is a coastal town located in the Asterousia Mountains on the southern coast of Crete.

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Komentarze

 Krzysztof Adamiec
Krzysztof Adamiec
2016-12-12 21:10:17

Piotr- ale Wy jednak tam byliście?

 CRETE - Kreta
CRETE - Kreta
2016-12-12 21:22:42

Krzysztof byliśmy w Labyrinthaki i z tego kamieniołomu są zdjęcia. Wejście do dużego Labyrinthosa jest surowo wzbronione i niebezpieczne, więc nawet nie sililiśmy się na to.

 Krzysztof Adamiec
Krzysztof Adamiec
2016-12-12 21:26:06

Czyli w przyszłym roku kolejne miejsce do odwiedzenia- dziękuję :)

1
 CRETE - Kreta
CRETE - Kreta
2016-12-12 21:34:24

Krzysztof - weź latarkę (nawet małą) a jak chcesz wejść jeszcze głębiej to pomyśl o poręczówce.

 gość}
gość PiotrWie
2016-12-13 09:56:46

Ciekawa historia i rzeczywiście całkiem nieznana - w przewodnikach nic nie wspominają na ten temat. Jedynie na mapie wydawnictwa Anavasi ( drogowa 1:100tyś, "Heraklio - Rethymno" jest zaznaczony Labyrynt. Po przejrzeniu szwajcarskiej strony widac, ze koszt przygotowania jakiejs trasy byłby rzeczywiście gigantyczny.

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Ida - the mythical shelter of Zeus

Ida - the mythical shelter of Zeus

According to Greek mythology, Zeus hid (and perhaps even gave birth) in the Ida cave. This myth is the greatest asset of this cave, which is not as interesting and beautiful as the Dikte cave. Ida Cave is just an empty and unlit big hole in the rock. Quite steep descent to the bottom is built of old railway sleepers. At the bottom of the cave there is a wooden platform, there are also remnants of the former excavations. The cave is located on the eastern slope of the Psiloriti, in the central part of Crete - about 20 kilometers from the village of Anogia. Its total area is approximately 800 square meters. It consists of four chambers, of which the largest, main chamber is about 40 meters long and 50 wide.

Melidoni Cave (Gerontospilios)

Melidoni Cave (Gerontospilios)

Currently, Melidoni Cave (originally called Gerontospilios) is associated mainly with the tragic events that took place here in 1824. Archaeological excavations carried out in this place, however, prove that the history of this beautiful cave is much longer and goes back to Neolithic times. During the reign of Minoans there was one of the important places of worship here. Mention of Melidoni also appear in legends and myths, according to which the bronze giant Talos was to be protected.

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Agia Sofia - cave of God's Wisdom

Less than 50 km from Chania between Topolia and Koutsamatados is an interesting cave known as Agia Sofia and Wisdom of God. It is located on the main road connecting Elafonissi beach and Kissamos village.

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