Omalos Plateau, Chania, Crete
The Omalos Plateau is located 38km south of the city of Chania at an altitude of 1,040 to 1,250 meters, surrounded by the high peaks of the White Mountains. The plateau has a unique appearance in winter when it is often covered by snow and all year round many Greeks and foreign visitors arrive. In the past, due to its isolated and inaccessible position, the plateau was the refuge of the people of the region and the stronghold of the revolutionaries during the two and a half centuries of Turkish rule in Crete, but also in all difficult times, against any foreign invader. Also, grains and potatoes were grown here, while there were many shepherds’ huts and “mitata” (elementary cheese dairies) where the wonderful cheese of the area was made.
During the German occupation in Omalos, a small airport operated for a short time. Today, from Omalos and specifically from the location Xyloskalo (1,250m), begins the path for the passage of the world famous Samaria gorge, which receives thousands of visitors during the summer days. There is the forest outpost and an information center (a kind of museum) for the White Mountains and the Samaria National Park. Opposite and above Xyloskalo stands with wild pride the rugged mountain of Gigilos (or Sapimenos) with its peak at 2,080 meters where in ancient times the Cretan Zeus had his throne. West of Gigilo on the peaks of Agathopi (1,768 m.) And Psilafi (1,984 m.) It is believed that Zeus carried out his chariot races. In fact, in the peaks of Agathopi, slalom skiing competitions had taken place in the past.
One of the most beautiful routes in the White Mountains is the ascent to Gigilo which requires two and a half hours of hiking. This route is relatively easy. In the middle of the route (an hour walk from Xyloskalo) there is the spring Linocelli (Seli of the Greeks) where at 1,500 meters the water runs frozen all year round and where in ancient times there was a well-known Oracle. Just before is the Demon Cave, a cave and kingdom of demons according to tradition, full of legends. Many climbing routes have been carved in Gigilos by Greeks and foreign alpinists, while more than ten cave fences tear its surface. The deepest, with 115 meters vertical descent, is found during the ascent to the top. Southeast of the plateau, a five-kilometer mountain road leads to the Kallergis mountain refuge, at 1,680 meters, from where the view of the Cretan and Libyan seas, the Samaria gorge and the island of Gavdos is breathtaking. From there anyone can continue their mountaineering crossing the White Mountains to Sfakia or elsewhere. When we descend to the plateau, to our right, the large cave abyss of Chonos or Tzanis the cave opens, where the chief Tzanis Markos or Fovos had his loot during the first years of Ottoman rule, since it was really the fear and terror of the conqueror. This abyss was explored for the first time by Haniotes and French speleologists and the length reaches almost two and a half kilometers, the altitude difference from its entrance is 241 meters and it is a huge closed gorge. Opposite the entrance of the Tzanis cave, on the small hill is the Tower and the church of the famous chief and demigod of the White Mountains, as it was characterized, Hatzimichalis Giannari.
The Lakkioti revolutionary who was born in 1.851 and died in 1.916. Hatzimichalis Giannaris was buried with the honors of a general here in Omalos where he wanted to be buried, in his old captivity. He was majestic in appearance and soul and served as general leader of the province of Kydonia Chania from 1,866 to 1,898. Hatzimichalis Giannaris was one of the pioneers of the uprisings of 1.855 and 1.856 and the main contributors of the great revolutionary of 1.866-1.869. He had been imprisoned many times by the Turks, from whom he always managed to escape. In such a difficult and improbable escape from the fortress of Firkas of Chania, in 1,860, he decided, after its success, to build the church of Agios Panteleimon here in Omalos next to his tower where later his tomb was built. Hatzimichalis Giannaris was for a time exiled to Odessa, Ukraine. In 1,912 he became a member of parliament and a member of the government of the Autonomous Cretan State. On December 1, 1,915 he handed over the flag to the king of the Greeks to raise it at the fortress of Firkas for the official union of Crete with Greece.
source : www.omalosvillage.gr
If you are staying at Folia Hotel Apartments which is located in Agia Marina, and would like to visit Omalos Plateau for a day trip or to visit Samaria Gorge ,
ask our reception for more details, and also visit our website www.foliahotel.gr