Ήθη και Έθιμα

  1. ΔΙΑΤΡΟΦΙΚΕΣ ΣΥΝΗΘΕΙΕΣ

Παρακάτω θα δείτε και θα διαβάσετε μερικές Σφακιανές συνταγές από φαγητά ή γλυκίσματα, όπως τα παρουσίασε η Κα Ελένη Βουγιούκαλου από το Καλλικράτη.

Η Ελένη με την συνεχή ενασχόληση της με τα κοινά και  την αγωνιώδη προσπάθεια της

να προβάλει το χωριό της το Καλλικράτη, τιμά όσο λίγοι την επαρχία μας.

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ΣΦΑΚΙΑΝΟ ΤΣΙΓΑΡΙΑΣΤΟ

ΥΛΙΚΑ: Αρνί  – Αλάτι – Πιπέρι

Εκτέλεση. Επιλέγουμε ένα κομμάτι κρέας αρνιού ή κατσικιού αρκεί να έχει λίπος.

Το πλένουμε καλά και αφού στραγγίσει το βάζουμε σε ανάλογη κατσαρόλα,

προσθέτουμε αλατοπίπερο και τσιγαρίζουμε για λίγα λεπτά μέχρι να ροδίσει.

Στη συνέχεια χαμηλώνουμε την θερμοκρασία στο ελάχιστο και αφήνουμε

να ψηθεί χωρίς την προσθήκη νερού, περίπου 1 με 1 – 1:30 ώρα.

Αφού ψηθεί και εφόσον δεν έχει τραβήξει τα υγρά του, δυναμώνουμε την θερμοκρασία και

αφήνουμε να βράσει με ανοικτό καπάκι της κατσαρόλας, μέχρι να μείνει μόνο με το λάδι του,

και το φαγητό είναι έτοιμο.

Σερβίρεται ως κύριο πιάτο.

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ΚΟΥΝΟΥΠΙΔΙ

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2. ΓΕΝΝΗΣΗ

Όταν μια γυναίκα ήταν έγκυος της πήγαιναν οι γειτόνισσες όταν είχαν καλό φαί ένα  πιάτο <για την ξένη ψυ>,

για το χατίρι δηλαδή του παιδιού που βρισκόταν στην κοιλιά της.

Η μαμή που την έλεγαν και μαστόρισσα ήταν  αυτοδίδαχτη  κι έπιανε τα παιδιά όταν γεννιόνταν.

Το φαρμακείο της ήταν γλυκάνισος, απήγανος και χαμόμηλο. Για να βγάλει η <λουχούνα>

(η γυναίκα που μόλις γέννησε) πολύ γάλα, της έδιναν θολόσταση(αλεύρι διαλυμένο σε πολύ νερό),

που για να πίνεται έβαζαν μέσα ζάχαρη,κύμινο,σισάμι κ.λ.π.

Τη γέννηση του αγοριού την υποδέχονταν πάντα με χαρμόσυνους πυροβολισμούς,

κάτι που δε γινόταν όταν γεννιόταν κοριτσάκι. Τις πρώτες μέρες της γέννησης ερχόταν στο σπίτι ο παπάς

και ευχολογούσε και τη μάνα και το παιδί. Ύστερα από λίγες μέρες πήγαινε η μάνα το παιδί στην εκκλησία

και το εκκλησίαζε με το όνομα που σκέφτονταν να του δώσουν . Μέχρι να περάσουν σαράντα μέρες από τη γέννα

η μάνα δεν έπρεπε να διασκελίσει κατώφλι ξένου σπιτιού. Τις πρώτες μέρες μετά τη γέννηση πήγαιναν

οι δικοί να το δουν και να το, <ξεχωρίσουνε>, δηλαδή να του βάλουν στη φασκιά δώρα, χρήματα ή κάτι χρυσό.

Το παιδί το τύλιγαν στο θώρακα με μια ταινία από διπλό καμποτένιο πανί, που είχε πλάτος  δώδεκα πόντους

και μήκος ένα και είκοσι μέτρο περίπου, το φασκιόνι. Μετά του έβαζαν διάφορα πανιά, που τα έλεγαν κωλόπανα,

και μετά το τύλιγαν  ολόκληρο εκτός από το κεφαλάκι  με τη φασκιά  για να γίνει ντρέτο σαν το κυπαρίσσι.

Όταν το παιδί το πήγαινε η μητέρα του για πρώτη φορά σε ένα σπίτι του έβαζαν λίγη ζάχαρη στο κεφάλι.

Ένα τραγουδάκι για την πορεία της ζωής

Το παιδί όντε γεννάται, σαν τ’οπωρικό λογάται.

Δεύτερο μήνα είν’καλά ν’αρχινίζει  να γελά.

Σ’τσοι πέντε μήνες κάθεται και στα’έξε μετακάθεται.

Εις τσ’ εφτά να μην ντραπεί, στσι πεζούλες να σταθεί.

Στσ’εννιά μήνες ζάλο κάνει και στσοι δέκα λέξη βγάνει.

Δεκαοχτώ χρονών αντράκι ψιλοδρώνει το μουστάκι.

Στσ’εικοσπέντ’ αθεί και δένει,

Στσοι τριάντα κατασταίνει. Σκέφτετ’ αν έχει λογικό

Για το δικό του σπιτικό.

Στσοι πενήντα για βουλή,αν έχει κεφαλή καλή.

Στσ’ εξήντα είναι φανερό πως έφυγε ο καλος καιρός

Στσ’ εβδομήντα δε φελά μόνο το ψωμί χαλά

Στσ’ογδόντα  σέρνεται κακά δε φέγγει μουδέ δε γροικά.

Οι γι-ενενήντα είν’πολλοί ν-του. Τον βαριούνται κι οι δικοί του.

3. ΒΑΠΤΙΣΗ

Η βάπτιση του παιδιού ήταν μεγάλη γιορτή για την οικογένεια.

Η επιλογή του σύντεκνου (αναδόχου) γινόταν με κάποια κριτήρια, στις περισσότερες περιπτώσεις ο σύντεκνος επιλεγόταν από το πατέρα του παιδιού για να επισφραγίσει μια φιλία ή εκτίμηση, σε άλλες περιπτώσεις η επιλογή του σύντεκνου γινόταν για να σβήσει μια βεντέτα ή ακόμα και για να γίνει φίλος της οικογένειας ένας δυνατός παράγοντας της τοπικής κοινωνίας.

Ο νονός ή πρωτοσύντεκνος επέλεγε μερικές δεκάδες αξιόλογα άτομα(σέρτες), ικανά στο χορό και το τραγούδι και πήγαιναν στην  εκκλησία για την τέλεση του μυστηρίου της βάπτισης του παιδιού.

Τα παλαιά χρόνια δεν πήγαιναν οι γονείς στο ναό, αργότερα άλλαξε το έθιμο και

δεν πήγαινε η μητέρα του παιδιού, σήμερα πάνε όλοι.

Μετά το μυστήριο κρατώντας το παιδί πήγαιναν στο σπίτι του παιδιού όπου ακολουθούσε διασκέδαση με ριζίτικα όπως το παρακάτω:

<<Σαν εβαφτίστην το παιδί να πούμε να τραγούδι.

Να το χαρού οι γονέοι ντου και να το μεγαλώσου

Και να το μπέψου στο σκολειό γράμματα να του μάθου.

Να το χαρεί και ο νονός και να το στεφανώσει

Να του βαφτίσει και παιδί – Να του βαφτίσει και παιδί>>. 

μα και μαντινάδες, χορό,  άφθονο κρασί και γεύμα πλουσιοπάροχο. Το γλέντι συνεχιζόταν για περισσότερες της μία ημέρας, με τους συγγενείς των γονέων να παίρνουν στα σπίτια τους συντέκνους και να τους τραπεζώνουν.

Στον  αποχαιρετισμό έδιναν στον πρωτοσύντεκνο μια υφαντή πετσέτα και ένα σακούλι γεμάτο με κρέας.

Οι σύντεκνοι είχαν αμοιβαίο σεβασμό, εδώ θα σας παραθέσω μια ιστορία που άκουσα από παλαιότερους υπήρξε παλαιότερα ένας κτηνοτρόφος με το όνομα Δημήτρης Μανταδάκης, θέλησε να επισκεφθεί ένα σύντεκνο του

(αν θυμάμαι καλά στο Μελιδόνι), όμως μετά από πεζοπορία δύο ημερών διαπίστωσε ότι ο σύντεκνος του έλλειπε από το σπίτι, η συντέκνισσα του είπε ευγενικά να τον κεράσει όμως αυτός δεν πέρασε το κατώφλι του σπιτιού, αποχαιρέτησε και έφυγε.

4. ΓΑΜΟΣ

Μέχρι και τις αρχές του 20ου αιώνα οι γονείς ή οι στενότεροι συγγενείς έπρεπε να

βρουν νύφη στο νέο της οικογένειας τους. Ο έρωτας ήταν κατακριτέος ειδικά σε μια νεαρά,

μπορούσε να της στοιχίσει και την ζωή της. Τα περισσότερο σεβαστά πρόσωπα

της οικογένειας αποστέλλονταν να μιλήσουν στον πατέρα της μέλλουσας νύφης το προξενιό. Αν ο πατέρας της νύφης δεν δεχόταν, έλεγε ευγενικά μια δικαιολογία και δεν υπήρχε πρόβλημα, αν  όμως έδινε το λόγο του δεν υπήρχε γυρισμός ή μη μόνον δια του αίματος. Σε αρκετές των περιπτώσεων η νύφη δεν γνώριζε το γαμπρό.

Η συνηθέστερη ηλικία για γάμο ήταν μέχρι και τον 19ο αιώνα η νύφη γύρω στα 16 και ο γαμπρός από 30 μέχρι 45 ετών. Τουλάχιστον οκτώ ημέρες πριν έπρεπε να έχουν γίνει τα καλέσματα.
Το Σάββατο το βράδυ προσέρχονταν οι καλεσμένοι με τα δώρα τους (κανίσκια) δηλαδή

ένα κριό ή  ένα πρόβατο ή κρασί στα σπίτια των συμπεθέρων, και ξεκινούσε το φαγοπότι μετά τραγουδούσαν ριζίτικα και έπειτα συνέχιζαν με  λύρα και χορό, μέχρι πρωίας. Στο χορό χόρευαν οι δύο πρώτοι και οι άλλοι του κύκλου περίμεναν την σειρά τους, χόρευαν

μαζί άνδρες και γυναίκες αλλά με σεμνότητα. Συνήθης προσφωνήσεις για το κρασί ήταν:

Eυοίβα, Χαίρεστε, Ολογιές τση συντροφιά σας κ.α.

Την Κυριακή το πρωί πήγαιναν στην εκκλησία και μετά ξανά στο σπίτι για φαί.

Ακολούθως ένοπλοι με την σημαία μπροστά ξεκινούσαν για το σπίτι της νύφης τραγουδώντας.

Έπαιρναν την νύφη από το σπίτι της και κατευθύνονταν προς την εκκλησία, ακολουθούσε το μυστήριο του γάμου

όπου στο τέλος ένας ένας χαιρετούσε το ζευγάρι προηγούνταν οι κοντινοί συγγενείς και ο κουμπάρος και

έδιναν το χάρισμα τους αν δεν είχαν δώσει προηγουμένως κανίσκι.   Όταν η πομπή γυρνούσε στο σπίτι του γαμπρού

δινόταν στη νύφη το μελοκάρυδο και  με μαχαίρα έκαναν ένα σταυρό στο ανώφυλιο της πόρτας.

Το γλέντι συνεχιζόταν ακατάπαυστο* μέχρι και το πρωί της Τετάρτης οπότε

παρουσιαζόταν η νύφη και με το δίσκο της κερνούσε ρακί σημάδι ότι τέλειωσε το γλέντι.

Οι εδικοί του γαμπρού μοίραζαν από ένα γαμοκούλουρο στους καλεσμένους και από δύο στους κουμπάρους και αυτοί έφευγαν για τα σπίτια τους.

Προυκιά, η νύφη μέχρι και τον 19ο αιώνα έπρεπε να κατασκευάσει η ίδια την προίκα της που αποτελούνταν κυρίως από ρουχισμό όπως υφαντά σεντόνια, υφαντές πατανίες.

Ανάμεσα στα προικιά η νύφη ανάλογα με την μπόρεση της οικογένειας της έπαιρνε και ένα αργαλειό ό οποίος αργότερα αντικαταστάθηκε από μια γαζωτική μηχανή.

Προυκολόοι. Ονομάζονταν οι άνδρες που πήγαιναν στο σπίτι της νύφης για να μεταφέρουν με τραγούδια και μπαλωτιές τα προικιά της νύφης στο σπίτι του γαμπρού.
Κλεψιά(Απαγωγή  γυναίκας ). Τους προηγούμενους αιώνες μερικές φορές ο νέος με ή χωρίς την συγκατάθεση της κοπελιάς  την απήγαγε και την παντρευόταν σε αυτή την

περίπτωση η νύφη δεν έπαιρνε τίποτα από την περιουσία που της αναλογούσε. Η απαγωγή σε κάποιες περιπτώσεις μπορούσε να καταλήξει σε φονικό από την μεριά των συγγενών της νύφης αν δεν ήθελαν το γαμπρό.
Δεν πρέπει να ξεχνούμε και τις διακρίσεις μεταξύ των οικογενειών που υπήρχαν τους περασμένους αιώνες  και οι οποίες απεικονίζονται στο θέμα του γάμου από τον Παπαδοπετράκη.

<< Εντεύθεν η μέχρις εσχάτων επικρατούσα ιδέα εν Σφακίοις ότι, ως καταγόμενοι από βασιλικούς Πρήγκιπας ετήρουν αυστηρώς την οικογενειακήν υπεροχήν και ποτέ δεν συνήπτον γάμους με υποδεεστέρας οικογενείας οι Πρόκριτοι, όπερ εθεώρουν ως τον μέγιστον εξευτελισμόν >>.

ΡΙΖΙΤΙΚΟ

 «Παιδιά, κι ειντά ‘ν’ οι μπαλοτές στσί Σφακιανές Μαδάρες,

  Παιδιά, λαγό ζυγώνουνε γή αγρίμι κυνηγούνε,

  Μουδέ λαγό ζυγώνουνε γή αγρίμι κυνηγούνε,

  μόν’ κάνουν γάμο στά Σελλιά καί περιξεφαντώνουν». 

* Κατά διαστήματα οι χωριανοί έπαιρναν τους καλεσμένους για να ξεκουραστούν δυο ώρες μα και  οι καλεσμένοι  πρόσεχαν να μη φύγουν όλοι αλλά σταδιακά για να μη χαλάσει το γλέντι.

5 . Ο ΘΑΝΑΤΟΣ

Ο γνήσιος Σφακιανός θεωρεί τον θάνατο φυσικό επακόλουθο της ζωής γι αυτό και δεν τον φοβάται αντίθετα θα τον ακούσεις να σαρκάζεται τις λέξεις << κλαίω και οδύρομαι όταν εννοήσω τον θάνατο>>. Αντίθετα με τον εαυτό του θλίβεται ιδιαίτερα με το χαμό συγγενικού ή φιλικού προσώπου.

Όταν πέθαινε κάποιος νέος στα Σφακιά οι άντρες που ήταν στενοί συγγενείς του ή φίλοι του δεν έκοβαν τα μαλλιά τους και δεν ξυρίζονταν για μεγάλο χρονικό διάστημα  και έβαζαν ολόμαυρα ρούχα.

Ο πατέρας του νέου συνήθως άφηνε τα  γένια για πάντα.

Στο σπίτι του νεκρού όταν αυτός ήταν νέος όλα βάφονταν μαύρα: καναπελίκια, τραπεζομάντιλα, σεντόνια κ.τ.λ.

Η μάνα ή γυναίκες από το στενό οικογενειακό περιβάλλον μοιρολογούνταν το νεκρό.

Οι γυναίκες που χήρευαν νέες έβαφαν μαύρα ακόμα και τα εσώρουχά τους.

Όταν ο νεκρός ήταν κάποιο σπουδαίο πρόσωπο ή έχαιρε μεγάλης εκτίμησης ή ήταν νέος το πένθος ήταν τοπικό και για μεγάλο διάστημα, συνήθως για ένα χρόνο, δεν μπορούσε να γίνει στο χωριό ούτε γλέντι ούτε άλλη χαρμόσυνη εκδήλωση.

Να σημειωθεί ότι τότε δεν έφτιαχναν φέρετρα για τους νεκρούς.

Η  εκκλησία είχε ένα φορείο που το έλεγαν καδελέτο και με αυτό μετέφεραν τους νεκρούς στο μνήμα όπου τους έβαζαν τυλιγμένους με ένα σεντόνι. Αργότερα κάθε χωριό θα αποκτήσει ένα φέρετρο για κοινή χρήση για όσους δεν είχαν χρήματα να αγοράσουν. Τα ρούχα του πεθαμένου τα έδιναν οι συγγενείς του σε φτωχά σπίτια, σε ξένα χωριά, για να μη τα βλέπουν και στενοχωριούνται.

Το 18ο αιώνα αν σκοτωνόταν ο αραβωνιαστικός μιας κοπελιάς αυτή έκοβε την πλεξούδα της και την έστελνε στο νεκρό για να τον συνοδεύσει. Ακολούθως ο επόμενος γιός έπρεπε να παντρευτεί την κοπελιά.

Link : http://www.e-sfakia.gr

What can you do in Sfakia

Sfakia and  have everything for your holidays, whether you just want to relax and lie on the beach or want to be active, and like to look around

The natural beaches in and around Sfakia are numerous and quiet, and the sea water is the cleanest you can find in Europe. Most beaches are pebbly beaches, but there are also very beautiful sandy beaches, and even sand dunes. It is possible to find your ‘own’ deserted beach just walking along the coast.

In Sfakia we recommend:

  • Vrisi Beach : Chora Sfakion village beach (pebbles; rented beds & umbrellas, 70 meters behind Hotel Stavris)
Vrisi Beach, Chora Sfakion
  • Ilingas beach : 1,5 km outside Chora Sfakion (pebbles; taverna; 1 part nudism)
  • Filaki beach : 2 km outside Chora Sfakion (pebbles, taverna, nudist beach)
  • Sweet water beach : 15 minutes boat trip or 1 hour walking along coastal path (pebbles; taverna; camping site; caves; sweet water wells; boat departure: 10.30, return 17.30)
  • Marmara beach : near Loutro
  • Sfakia gorge beach : between Chora Sfakion and Filaki beach: follow the path along the small gorge just before Vritomartis Hotel (pebbles; very quiet)
  • Frangokastello beach : down the castle in Frangokastello (sandy, beds & umbrellas, taverna; sea level knee deep for 100 metres offshore; ideal for kids)
  • Studios Stavris Frangokastello : private hotel beach (sandy with some pebbles; directly behind hotel)

If you are interested in shorter walks (1-2 hours), we can recommend the following. Some walks start at your hotel in Chora Sfakion, others can be better accessed by car or bus.

  • Chora Sfakion – Sweetwater beach – Loutro: 2 hrs. 15 min: start at Hotel Stavris, Chora Sfakion, walk up to the asphalt road, follow west bound, pass Ilingas tavern, follow the curve. Just before the road starts it’s first sharp curve right up to the mountain, step over the iron protection fence. You see a sign E4, marking the European walking path. It is a path starting from Gibraltar, going through Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece, ending in Crete; it is crossing Crete along its entire length from Elafonisi to Kato Zakros. Follow the rock path down along the coast: this is the beginning of the only ongoing connection between the villages in South West Crete! After 1 hour you reach Sweetwater Beach, which is cliff enclosed: there is a small tavern for drinks. Continue west and you will soon see the picture perfect village of Loutro: a small strip of houses and taverns and hotels around a small harbour. There are no cars here! From here you can take back the ferry to Chora Sfakion, walk back or continue up hill to Anopoli.
  • Chora Sfakion – Anopoli: 2 hrs.: following the old Venitian road to Anopoli (800 meters uphill): just behind Hotel Stavris, take the steps up to the asphalt road, turn left and after about 30 meters you should see a possibility to step up the rocks to your right. After 10 meters the old Venetian road starts, typically with stone walls. The path winds on the hill and goes back into Ilingas gorge. There is a beautiful small bridge here along the cliff slope. Go to the bottom of the gorge and cross it. Don’t follow the gorge! On the other side a hollow path takes you uphill, meeting the asphalt road to Anopoli just before the village. This is a very quiet route!
  • Anopoli – Loutro: 1 hr.: from Chora Sfakion follow the 12 km. road up hill (800 m) to Anopoli (bus, taxi). When you see the first buildings, turn left at a small square. Follow the path and continue down hill. All the time you have the magnificent overview of the village of Loutro. Walk back to Chora Sfakion along the coastal path or take back the ferry.
Link Maps : http://g.co/maps/hc4a
  • Anopoli – Aradena: 1 hr. one way: follow the asphalt road heading north towards the mountains. After 30 minutes you reach the ‘real’ village of Anopoli, continue from the square with the statue of Daskalogiannis to the north. After a sharp curve to the left you see Aradena Gorge, with a Bailey bridge crossing it. This spectacular view you will never forget again in your life. Cross the bridge to have a look at the deserted village of Aradena. You can also take the old ‘road’ to Aradena: a little before the bridge to the right you see the old path down the gorge (1 hr.) and on the other side up again (1 hr.)
Link Maps : http://g.co/maps/qcu5
  • Chora Sfakion – Komitades: 45 min or try to car hike: follow the asphalt road from Chora Sfakion to the east. After 35 minutes at the crossroads, go right. You see the church of Agios Giorgos, with very old frescoes. In Komitades you can take a rest at Taverna Giorgos, the first one to the right. If you like, Giorgos can take you up to Imbros by car (drs. 5000), so you can walk the gorge from up to down. Or just fllow the road out of the village and start Imbros gorge from down up (2 hrs.)
  • Komitades – Frangokastello: 2 hrs.: you pass the small villages of Vraskas, Vouvas, Nomikiana, Agios Giorgos, Patsianos. Just before Patsianos there is a T-form crossroads: to the left you go to Patsianos, to the right to Frangokastello. From Patsianos you can make a loop via Skaloti to Frangokastello ( 1 hr.). In Frangokastello you can visit the Venetian fortress, built in 1371.

Frangokastello

Link maps : http://g.co/maps/5yqv
  • Imbros – Komitades: Imbros Gorge: take from Chora Sfakion the bus to Chania at 7 or 11 o’clock and get out at the village of Imbros. Or take a taxi or ask Giorgos from Komitades if he is available (tel. 0825-91005). When you go by car to Imbros to walk the gorge, please realise you have to walk the gorge both ways: down and up again (2 hrs. one way). Imbros gorge is very beautiful and nature is unharmed here. Wait for the 2 very narrow passages and the natural archway at the end! Imbros gorge used to be the only way to reach Chora Sfakion by the ground, before the asphalt road was built in the sixties.
Gorges in Sfakia

The villages of the Sfakia Region

Agia Roumeli: A small fishing village, 2 km from the end of the Samaria Gorge at the Lybian Sea. The village has some taverns and rent rooms as a transit point for visitors of the Samaria Gorge. There are ferry boat connections to the West, to Sougia and Paleochora, and to the East, to Loutro and Chora Sfakion. Agia Roumeli cannot be reached directly by car.

This is a small, sunwashed resort with very few residents, built next to an exquisite beach with crystal clear waters. Its modern name comes from the church of Aghia Roumeli, which is built on the older, roman temple of Agia Roumilia or Roumina. At the site of the contemporary village it is believed that there was the ancient city Taras, the ruins of which have been dated to the 5th century B.C. As proven by the excavations, the city of Taras was of great economic importance to the area, having its own coins, and as it is proven by the temple of Tarsios Apollo or Artemis, which was located at the exit of the gorge, this was also an important religious center during antiquity. Today, at the site of the ancient temple, you will spot the church of Panagia (the Holy Mother), exhibiting worthwhile mosaics of the 15th century. From Agia Roumeli ,at a walking distance of about an hour, you will find the small byzantine church of Agios Pavlos, of which is said that the Apostle Paul came to teach there.

Agia Roumeli

Agios Giorgos: The people of Agios Giorgos have moved to a new village; see Agios NektariosAgios Ioannis: At the end of the road from Chora Sfakion to Anopoli and Aradena lies the small village of Agios Ioannis, with nowadays less than 10 inhabitants. It has a beautiful church, Agia Panagia, with very old frescoes. Around are several impressively large caves.

Agios Ioannis

Church of Agios Ioannis Theologos

Agios Nektarios:

Small village at the end of the Asfendou Gorge. On many maps it shows only the name of Agios Giorgos. The village is named after the divine Nektarios of Aegina, one of the most widely known of Greek Orthodox Saints.

He was born on October 1st, 1846 in Silyvria, in Asia Minor (now occupied by Turkey). At Holy Baptism he was given the name Anastasios. His parents were simple pious Christians. They brought him up in a manner pleasing to God, and did what their very limited means allowed for his formal education. Having completed elementary school in his hometown, he left for the great city of Constantinople at the age of 14. There, he found employment as a shop assistant and was able to earn a meager living. As well as regularly attending the Divine Liturgy, he also read the Holy Scriptures and Writings of the Holy Fathers of the Church on a daily basis. From his wide reading, the young Anastasios made a collection of wise sayings, which he fervently spread to the customers of his store by writing them on the paper used to wrap their goods. He was selected to teach the lower grades of the orphanage of the All-Holy Sepulchre in Constantinople. This allowed him to continue his studies, for he longed to become a Theologian. In 1866, at the age of 20, Anastasios went to the island of Chios, where he was appointed a teacher. After 7 years, he entered into the local monastery, under the care of the venerable elder Pachomios. After 3 years as a novice Athanasios was tonsured a Monk and given the name Lazarus. A year later, he was ordained a Deacon and received the name Nektarios. Elder Pachomios, and a wealthy local benefactor convinced the young monk to complete his high school studies in Athens. From there Deacon Nektarios went to Alexandria, where he was cared for by the Patriarch of Alexandria, Sophronios. The Patriarch insisted that Nektarios complete his Theological studies, and so in 1885 he graduated from the School of Theology in Athens. The Patriarch of Alexandria ordained Deacon Nektarios to the Priesthood in 1886. His great service to the Church, prolific writings and teachings, energy and zeal led Fr Nektarios to be ordained as the Metropolitan of Pentapolis in Egypt. As a Metropolitan he was greatly admired and loved by his flock for his virtue and purity of life. But this great admiration by the people aroused the envy of certain high officials, who plotted and succeeded in having the Blessed Metropolitan removed from office in 1890 – without a trial or any explanation whatsoever. He returned to Greece to become a monk and Preacher, to the great edification of the people. There the Blessed Metropolitan continued to write his now famous books. In 1894, the divine Nektarios became Director of the Rizarios Ecclesiastical School, where he was to remain for 15 years. As an educator, the chief concern of the venerable Hierarch was to incite and guide youth to become good Christians. His fifteen years at Rizarios were also productive for the writing of many more books and teachings. In 1904, our Saint founded a monastery for women in Aegina, the Holy Trinity Convent. Under his guidance the Convent flourished. In 1908, the Blessed Nektarios, at the age of 62, retired from the Rizarios Ecclesiastical School and withdrew to Holy Trinity Convent in Aegina. There, for the rest of his life as a true monk and ascetic. He served as a confessor and spiritual guide to the nuns and even priests from as far as Athens and Piraeus. His Holy and pious life shone forth like a guiding light to all near him. Many would come to him for healing. Saint Nektarios was a great ‘Wonder-worker’ even while alive. On September 20, 1920 one of the nuns took him to the local hospital, in spite of his protest. He was convulsing in pain from a long-standing ailment. He was admitted, and placed into a ward reserved for the poor and unwanted. There he stayed for two months among the sick and dying. At 10:30 in the evening of November 8th, although in the midst of terrible pains, in peace and at prayer he gave up his spirit unto God at the age of 74. As soon as the Saint gave up his Spirit, a nurse came to prepare him for transfer to Aegina for burial. As the nurse removed the Saints sweater, she inadvertently placed it on the next bed, on which a paralytic lay. And O, strange wonder!, the paralytic immediately began to regain his strength and arose from his bed healthy, and glorifying God. Some time after his repose, strangely a beautiful fragrance was emitted by his Holy body, filling the room. Many came to venerate his Holy relics prior to his burial. With amazement, people noted a fragrant fluid that drenched his hair and beard. Even after 5 months, when the nuns of the convent opened the Saints grave to build a marble tomb, they found the Saint intact in every respect and emitted a wonderful and heavenly fragrance. Similarly three years later, the Holy Relics were still whole and radiating the same heavenly fragrance. Many people had regarded Nektarios as a Saint whilst he was still alive, because of his purity of life, his virtues, the nature of his publications, his gift of foreknowledge and the miracles he performed. The recognition of him as a Saint spread rapidly after his repose. God confirmed the Sanctity of Nektarios at his repose and by the miracles attributed to the Saint after his repose. The Orthodox Church proclaimed him as a Saint on April 20, 1961. His Blessed memory is celebrated by the Church on November 9th.

Anopoli: Originally being the summer village of Loutro, the history of Anopoli goes back for many centuries, being one of the 100 cities of the archaeic Crete, having its own currency.

Anopoli lies spread around an upland plain at the foot of the White Mountains, aprox. 650 m above sea level. It is connected by a relatively new asphalt road to Chora Sfakion. The road is being built in the other direction towards Agios Ioannis, passing the Aradena Gorge by a ‘Bayly bridge’. The famous freedom fighter of the revolution against the Turks, Daskalogiannis, was born here. He has a statue on the market square. From there you can follow the mountain path uphill to the Church of Agia Katharini, from where you have an excellent view of the whole southwest coast.

Anopoli has some rent rooms and tavernas and is quite ‘off the beaten path’. Here you can meet several sheppards and enjoy their home made fresh sheep and goat cheese.

Statue of Daskalogiannis, Anopoli.

Aradena: Since the early seventies almost abandoned hamlet, at the edge of the impressive Aradena Gorge. Untill 1986 the village could only be reached by descending to the bottom of the gorge and ascending on the other side. Since than there is a bridge crossing the gorge.

Right on the rim of the gorge is an impressive Byzantine church with a high dome. Inside there are old frescoes and around you can see some traces of ancient Aradin, from whose stones the church is said to be built.

Byzantine church of Aradena

Argoules: The most Eastern village of the Sfakia region.

Askifou: Askifou is built in a small plateau situated between the high mountains of Castro and Fanari and Horefies, at an altitude of 750 meters. It has about 700 inhabitants.It contains some smaller hamlets, like Kares, Amoudari, Goni, Petres, Kosto and Stravohari.

The name Askifou is said to derive from the ancient word Skifos, which means cup, as the circular plain looks like one. It is full of snow in winter and all green in Spring. The inhabitants are occupied with raising live stock, farming (grains, cereals, potatoes, grape), cheese and wine making and producing the Cretan liquor Raki (Sighoudia). There are many wallnut trees in the area, as well as fruit trees and honey flowers. Try the wallnuts, fruits and honey from here, it’s the best you ever had!

There are several tavernas and rent rooms. In the village of Kares is a private War Museum. To the west of the plain, high up on some hills are the ruins of two Turkish castles.

On the way from Kares to Amoudari you can see the grand church dedicated to the two Sfakian saints Manolis and Ioannis. Over the years there have been many war battles in Askifou, since it is the gateway to the south coast. The Turks, the Egyptians and the Germans have fought here against the stubborn inhabitants, many of which lost their lifes. There are several monuments around the plain to remember these events.

Asfendou: A liitle before the village of Imbros to the east a small intersection ascends a concrete road up to the peak of Akones, with the telecommunication installations for connection between Crete and Africa. From here you have a view to the north, where you van see the Cretan Sea and to the south, where you see the Lybian Sea. Before reaching the peak, the road continues to the village of Asfendou, built on a small and evergreen plain, at an altitude of 770 meters, 8 km. from Imbros. It has 40 houses and during summer only a few farmers make their way up here. East of the village, in a small cave, many beautiful frescoes have been discovered. If you continue to the east for 6 km you reach the village of Kallikratis. In Asfendou you can also visit the Falaggari cave, which is very deep and contains a water basin.You can walk down the Asfendou gorge towards Agios Giorgos/ Agios Nektarios, but this is a quit difficult walk. Ask for information locally first! The gorge itself will take you about 90 minutes, from 770 meters to 180 meters, so very steep.

Asfendou in Winter

Chora Sfakion: Is the capital of the Sfakia district. After the elections of October 1998 all the Sfakian villages now have one major, who resides in Chora Sfakion’s little town hall.In all of Sfakia only 2000 inhabitants remain, with 40.000 living elsewhere in Greece. It is the most sparsely populated area of Greece. About 500 of them live in Chora Sfakion. The village is actually split in 2 parts: the one around the old harbour, with most hotels and restaurants, and the part on the slopes of the east mountain, where most inhabitants have their houses. The small part down the harbour consists of 4 small roads, 1 boulevard with restaurants directly at the harbour, 1 backstreet with rent rooms, a supermarket, a bakery, a butcher and the square with Hotel Stavris, and 2 very small backstreets going up to the asphalt road that passes the village uphill towards Ilingas and Anopoli and on.

The village has a square for the busses, carrying all tourists coming back with the ferries from Samaria Gorge. They pass the village on the outside, so the quiet atmosphere is not destroyed. All ferries start and end at Chora Sfakion. There are regular bus connections to Vrises and Chania, and to Frangokastello and Plakias. On the square there are some tourist shops, a post office and Sfakia Tours rent cars. There is no bank in the village. Credit cards are accepted in 1 shop at the square. Several places change money and Eurocheques and Traveller’ cheques.

Most people in the village are busy serving the tourists, others are fishers and sheppards. The village has a very nice village beach to the west, with other beaches also not far away: Ilingas and Sweet water beach to the west and two beaches more to the east.

The new harbour gives shelter to fishing boats and private boats, also boats from tourists.

The sun shines here all year around, making Sfakia the sunniest as the most southern part of Europe. Since there is hardly any industry, the sea water is the cleanest you can find. The drinking water comes from wells from the mountains, that mix their water with the sea. Food is very fresh and very natural. The people are very friendly and generous. Sounds like paradise, or what?

Frangokastello: It took its name from the Venetian castle built there in 1371. Here you find several tavernas, shops and apartments, like Apartments Stavris. Frangokastello lies in a natural plain boarding the sea, with many olive trees. Just behind the fortress there is a nice sandy beach, with rented beds and umbrellas. There water stays knee deep for about 100 meters, so a nice place for children to play.In 1828 a celebrated battle for independence was fought against the Turks at Frangokastello. Hundreds of Sfakiots led by Hadzi Michali Daliani, a Greek adventurer attempting to spread the War of Independence from the mainland to Crete. Instead of hiding in the mountains, as most rebels did in this area, he stayed in the castle with his soldiers. Unfortunately, they were massacred and their martyrdom became legendary. Locals will claim that to this day, on or around the 17th of May, the ghosts of Daliani and his army march from the castle in the soft light of dawn. They are called ‘drossoulites’, or dew shadows.

Hadzi Michali Daliani

Imbros:

Small village with some tavernas and rent rooms. From here you can start descending the beautiful Imbros Gorge, ending in Komitades (about two hours), or start some mountain biking, towards Akones peak – Asfendou – Kallikratis – Assigonia.

The Imbros Gorge was till late sixties the only way to reach the south coast of Sfakia. It was a natural shelter against invaders, like the Turks and later the Germans. The gorge is as beautiful as the Samaria Gorge, only on a smaller scale. And it is by far more quiet, not having the crowds from there. Many wild trees can be seen, as well as a Venetian reservoir in the middle and a natural archway at the end. The gorge becomes very narrow on two spots, with spectacular views.

Kallikratis: If you continue the road east of Asfendou for 6 km you reach the small village of Kallikratis. It is a mountainous village at the foot of the White Mountains (Lefka Ori), lies at an altitude of 750 meters and has only a few inhabitants, who live there from May ’till November. They are farmers and sheppards and are very friendly and helpful. It is a traditional village with many well preserved stone houses. There are some taverns with traditional food and even some rooms to rent. During the Second World War the village was a base of operations for the Greek and British agents fighting against the Nazis. In 1943 the village was burnt and 29 people were executed after battle.As part of the European Hiking Path E4 the Kallikratis gorge starts here, towards Patsianos. It is very beautiful, but not easy to walk. It takes about two-and-a-half hours. The total distance is 4 km, of which the gorge takes 1 km.

Kallikratis Gorge

Kapsodasos:

Komitades: At the end of the Imbros gorge, in a plain bordering the sea, lies the village of Komitades, at an altitude of 200 meters. It has only 75 inhabitants, most of them operating a tavern. All houses are built along the road from Chora Sfakion towards Frangokastello.

The village has some interesting monuments to be visited, such as Venetian ruins and the old monastery/ church/ school/ courthouse Thymianis Panagia. There are also a lot of caves. Its name comes either from the Venetian ‘komites’ (noble men) or from an old family name Komitos.

The area gives a magnificent view over the Lybian Sea, with always the islet of Gavdos on the horizon. The hill slopes are covered with olive trees. In history the village was many times destroyed by Saracene pirates, when it was wealthy from the many merchants who lived here.

Nowadays you find some rooms and apartments to rent. Specially people who like a quiet and traditional Sfakian village should consider this. The food is excellent: try the Sfakian cheese pie and the thyme honey!

One of the 14th century frescoes at Thymianis Panagia

Loutro: West of Chora Sfakion and only reachable by foot or boat lies the whitewashed village of Loutro, around its small harbour. It has a very quiet atmosphere. In the little bay you can swim or rent a small kayak. The beaches are to the east and west of the village and can be reached by foot. There are several tavernas, restaurants and hotels from basic to very luxurious. The ferries connect Loutro either with Chora Sfakion and Agia Roumeli.On top of the little peninsula you find some Roman and Venetian ruins. From Loutro you can walk the coastal footpath or up the hills towards Anopoli and on. Higher in the mountains there are several nests of eagles, which sighting is very spectacular.

Finix: On the west side of the promontory in Loutro stood ancient Finikas (or Phoenix). This was a major town in Roman and Byzantine periods, and a significant port even long after that.Nowadays in Finix there are traces of a Venetian fortress and a Byzantine basilica and some other remains around. Most interesting is a building like a Venetian church, which has sunk entirely below ground level. The roof is still there and the interiors are full of water. Very beautiful mosaics are on the floors, although it is very dangerous and forbidden to enter.

Finix has a rocky beach with half submerged caves and some tavernas and you can rent some rooms.

Patsianos: A small village close to the mountains on the Frangokastello plain. Here ends the walk from Kallikratis, through its gorge. There are some shops and tavernas and you can find rented rooms here and there.

Samaria:

The abandoned village of Samaria lies midway of the famous Samaria Gorge (18 km long). It’s the biggest natural canyon of Euro

pe. Its inhabitants, almost all of the old Byzantine family Viglis, were forced to move when on December 6th 1962 the gorge became a protected area. The village is very isolated and had only access to water in Winter and early Spring. The village is very ancient: still some buildings can be seen, like the church Ossia Maria, which gave name to the gorge and the village. It’s from the early fourtheenth century.

The gorge starts down from the village of Omalos on the Omalos plain at the foot of the granite Mt. Gingilos (2080 m). First you descent a stepped path cut from the rock with wooden handrails, the ‘Xiloskalon’ (wooden stairway). It is 2 km long and the descent is 1000 meters! In the beginning the gorge is very wide and you might see some traces of the river which is flooding here during rain season, which makes hiking the gorge impossible. Therefore, the rain decides when the season for hiking the gorge starts and stops. Usually it’s open from beginning of May ’till end of October.

Through the gorge you will encounter several chapels, like Agios Nikolaos, Ossia Maria and in the end some in the old Agia Roumeli, 2 km before the new settlement at the sea. On your way, the gorge will narrow down ’till you reach the ‘Iron Gates’ (Sidheresportes) where the opening is more than 300 meters high and only 210 cm wide!

Skaloti: Village with less than 100 inhabitants in the plain of Frangkastello, at the foot of the White Mountains.

Islets of Gavdos and Gavdopoula:

Gavdos is an Island in the Lybian Sea, 40 km off the south coast of Crete. The highest point of the island is at 382 m above sea level, on Gavdopoula it is 133 m. The surface of Gavdos is aprox. 27 km2, Gavdopoula 2.75 km2. Sea depth between the two islands is approximately 80-100 m, the depth between Gavdopoula and Crete is of 1100 m. The Lybian Sea reaches a depth of up to 2400 m (measured at a distance 50 km south of Gavdos).

Link text Photo : http://www.sfakia-crete.com/sfakia-crete/villages4.html#1

Crete: how to get there and aroundFlights,

ferries, buses, hire cars and taxi transfers 

By plane

Crete has two international airports, in Heraklion (HER) and Chania (CHQ).

Public bus, Olympic Airways bus and taxi services into the cities are available. Airport facilities include a cafeteria and a duty-free shop.

The airport of Sitia (JSH), which is located to the eastern end of Crete, serves mainly domestic flights during the summer season. It is now further developed in order to serve international charters flights in the area of eastern Crete.

If you like to visit the region of Sfakia, we can recommend the airport of Chania (tel. 28210-63219). It is new and small and much more close to Sfakia than Heraklion. Checking out and checking in is very quickly, since there are not too many planes arriving and going.

Airport Name IATA
Identifier
Distance
From City
Travel Time
Into City
Chania National Airport CHQ 14 km 0:35
Heraklion International Airport , N.Kazantzakis HER 5 km 0:15
Sitia Public Airport JSH 1,5 km 0:10

From the airport you can take a bus or taxi to the town of Chania. At the bus station just near to the harbour you can take the bus to Chora Sfakion. It’s a 2,5 hours drive. You can also take a taxi directly to Chora Sfakion, less than one-and-a-half hours. Price is about Drs. 14.000 one way for up to 4 people if you order a taxi from Sfakia, taxis at the airport are more expensive. You can make a reservation for a Sfakian taxi here.

From the airport you can take a bus or taxi to the town of Chania. At the bus station just near to the harbour you can take the bus to Chora Sfakion. It’s a 2,5 hours drive. You can also take a taxi directly to Chora Sfakion, less than one-and-a-half hours. Price is about Drs. 14.000 one way for up to 4 people if you order a taxi from Sfakia, taxis at the airport are more expensive. You can make a reservation for a Sfakian taxi here.

By ship/ ferry

Chania has also daily ferry boat connections to Piraeus from the harbour at Souda. The departure from Piraeus is late in the afternoon, arriving at Souda in the morning where local buses take the travellers to the centre of the town in front of the Public Market. Or take ataxi from Chora Sfakion.

  • From Piraeus to Chania and vice versa (daily). (12 hours, tel.: 28210/89240, Souda Harbor Police).

  • Kastelli (Chania) – Kythera – Antikythera – Monemvasia – Neapolis – Agia Pelagia Gythio – Piraeus and vice versa (once a week, tel.: 28220/22024, Kastelli Harbour Police).

  • Piraeus – Rethimno – Piraeus (shipping office: tel.: 28310/29221 Harbour Police: tel.: 28310/22276)

  • From Piraeus to Iraklio and vice versa (daily). (12 hours, tel.: 2810/226073, 244934, 244956, Iraklio Harbor Police).

  • Iraklio, Agios Nikolaos and Sitia are linked by ship (year round) with the Dodecanese and Cyclades. For information, call the Harbour Police of Iraklio.

  • Agios Nikolaos (tel.: 28410/22312) and Sitia (tel.: 28430/22310). Information on all the above ship schedules can also be obtained from the Piraeus Harbour Police, tel.: 210/4172657, 4114785.

  • More detailed information about Greek ferry lines may be found at the following directory: click here!

  • Searchable database for all Greek ferries: click here!

  • Greekferries.gr : To Greece and Greek islands, all ferry routes and schedules + prices.

  • Ferries.gr: the largest Greek ferries database on the Net

  • ODP links to Greek ferry information

LOCAL TELEPHONE NUMBERS:

CHANIA RETHIMNON HERAKLION AG. NIKOLAOS
Area Code
28210 28310 2810 28410
Hospital
27231 27491 231931 22369
National Tourist Organization
26426 27491 228203 22357
Port
89240 (Souda) 22276 226073 22312
Olympic Airlines
27701-3 22257 229191 22034
KTEL (city busses)
93024 22212 283925 22234
KTEL (regional busses)
93052 22212 288544 22234
POLICE
24477 28156 283190 22251

Local bus transport on Crete:

On Crete you can fairly comfortably travel by public bus.

There are no trains in Crete, nor is there a railway system.

Crete offers an extended grid of public bus routes. They are mainly operating to enable villagers to go to the cities in Crete. But they offer a cheap option to tourists as well, although the timetable is not designed to be of special service to tourists. Nevertheless you will often see tourists in the local buses on Crete, sometimes even mainly tourists.

You need to study the grid, the connections, and the timetable to find your way with the bus in Crete. You can buy tickets at major bus stations, at kiosks, or otherwise in the bus itself.

The Greek public bus company is called KTEL, the “Intercity Road Transport Companies in Greece”. It is a cooperative company of local bus companies, established in 1952. Each individual bus is owned by one or more private persons, who themselves are responsible for maintaining and operatining the bus. After taxes its revenues are split amongst the shareholders. The planning of the timetable is done by the cooperation KTEL.

KTEL has many offices all over Greece, and is not a smooth and united organisation.

On Crete public transport by bus is organised by KTEL West-Crete and KTEL East-Crete. They unfortunately have often a dispute. This may result in poor service to its customers, specially in areas where lines of the one connect to the lines of the other, e.g. in Vrisses. You may have to walk from one area to the other, because one company cannot go into a interchange station’s village.

KTEL districts on Crete


Link text Photo : http://www.sfakia-crete.com