Today we finally have some good news for you regarding the reopening of the Samaria Gorge. According to information provided today in local portals, it will be possible to enter Samaria again from tomorrow, that is from Thursday, August 24.
The prolonged ban on entering the gorge was caused by a landslide and rock fragments that were caused by the earthquake on August 13. As a consequence of this event, one of the tourists on the trail was seriously injured by a falling rock fragment. Due to the dangers, the rest of the people who were in Samaria that day were evacuated. After this accident, the trails and gorges of western Crete were closed for safety reasons. Geologists were concerned about the prolonged absence of aftershocks that typically follow major earthquakes. However, while most of the hiking trails and gorges were quickly opened to tourists, Samaria has since been closed.
The date of the reopening of the gorge has been postponed several times, but due to the possibility of a sequence of earthquakes and the risk of further landslides, no one wanted to indicate a specific date for the opening of the trail. Finally, it was decided that the gorge would remain closed until the geologists carried out a site inspection. It was expected that the gorge would remain closed until the end of the week, although no specific dates were actually given.
In addition, at that time an idea emerged that tourists, when buying admission tickets to the gorge, would also have to sign a declaration that they enter the trail at their own risk and responsibility. It must be admitted that this is quite a controversial idea that the Cretan authorities came up with.
The prolonged period of unavailability of the gorge for visitors, falling just at the time of the slowly ending high season, and the idea of a strange transfer of responsibility for the possible consequences of a natural disaster to tourists, caused large protests by the inhabitants of the village of Agia Roumeli.
Agia Roumeli, located in the south of the prefecture of Chania at the southern exit of the Samaria Gorge, is distinguished by the fact that it can only be reached by sea. Its economic survival is inseparable from the tourists visiting the gorge. After passing it, everyone uses the beach, taverns and shops located in Agia Roumeli. But the financial blow caused by the closure of the gorge hit not only the inhabitants of this village. Its effects were felt by a wide range of companies dealing with the organization of trips and transport to this place.
Yesterday afternoon, the villagers even organized a protest at the southern exit of Samaria. The tourists, who had been appearing at the entrances to the gorge for several days, were also disappointed. In addition, it was pointed out that the idea of tourists signing declarations and shifting responsibility for the possible consequences of unforeseen events to them will have far-reaching consequences. In the long run, this could result in the deletion of a trip to Samaria from the repertoires of travel agencies, and as a consequence, a complete decrease in the income of the inhabitants of Agia Roumeli and a decrease in the earnings of companies organizing trips to Samaria.
Samaria has been inspected for the last two days. On August 21, the condition of the gorge was diagnosed by the Greek Geological and Mining Office of the regional unit of Crete, and on August 22, a scientific group from the National University of Athens, led by prof. Lekkas, a natural disaster geologist. Following these inspections, a statement was issued today stating that the safety level of the gorge has returned to pre-quake levels on August 13. At the same time, it was reported that in the previous days the route leading through Samaria was cleared of rockfalls and the path is fully accessible. In addition, it was announced that the Samaria Gorge will be open to visitors from Thursday, August 24, without the need to submit an individual declaration.
Perhaps some of you have also wondered about the fate of a Spanish tourist who unfortunately lost a leg in an accident in Samaria. This man was transported to his country a few days ago, where he will continue his treatment. Unfortunately, according to the information provided by the hospital in Chania, his condition was still severe on the day of transport.