Fodele - Lake Kournas - Chania
- Departure from Heraklion Airport/Port or from a specified location
- Stop at Fodele village
- Stop at lake Kournas
- Stop at Chania
- Return to Heraklion
- The default stops may change according to your wishes, consult your driver.
- Entrance fees for archaeological sites/museums, escorts/guides and meals are not included.
- This tour can be combined with a visit to the market of Chania for shopping.
The idyllic village extends in a verdant oasis full of orange and lemon groves, colourful flowers and running waters. The fertile valley of Fodele is crossed by the river Pantomantris and is surrounded by mountains with high wild trees and caves.
A place characterised by its breathtaking landscape, long history, traditions and legends about fairies that dance by the streams at nights; katahanades (vampires) that sing sweet melodies while playing the lyre by the platans; saints that intervene in love stories; demons that tease the passersby at midnight; virtuous demons that protect the houses; church bells that toll at the caves in the middle of the night....
A place where - according to tradition - the great painter El Greco first saw daylight.
The simple, warm-hearted inhabitants are mainly occupied with the cultivation of citrus trees, vegetables and olive trees and livestock farming. The cultivation of citrus trees has a long tradition in the region, making Fodele a kind of natural monument. This tradition is recorded in the travel logs of several travellers: Cristoforo Buodelmonti notes in 1415 that Fodele is “adorned with numerous fruit trees”, while in 1842 Vyzantios writes that “this village is producing a large number of sweet lemons, oranges and lemons”.
El Greco (1541 – 1614), as Domenicos Theotokopoulos was commonly known, is considered to be one of the greatest painters of the Spanish renaissance. He was born in the village of Fodele and started studying post-byzantine art at an early age. When he was 26 he travelled to Italy (Venice and Rome) where he enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and Venetian renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain where he lived for the rest of his life and produced his best known paintings. El Greco was distinguished for developing his own dramatic expressionistic style evident in his paintings that still move and inspire many people and artists around the world.
Kournas is the name of a village and nearby lake on the island of Crete, Greece. It is in the Apokoronas region of Chania regional unit close to the border with Rethymno regional unit, 47 km from the town of Chania. Kournas is a fairly large village perched on a hill overlooking the lake. It is in the Georgioupoli municipality, not far from the town of the same name. A working village which has seen less depopulation than some of its neighbours, Kournas is known for its pottery and many popular taverns. The taverna's seats are largely in the road - it is popular for its specialties of 'kokoretsi' (grilled offal) and 'galaktoboureko' (custard and orange tart).
Crete's only freshwater lake, Lake Kournas, is relatively large, with a perimeter of 3.5 km. Although almost all touristic leaflets say that it is possible to walk around the lake, that is not true. At least not at the end of the rain season (winter). There is a nature preserve on the Southwest of the lake. But there is a rustic road from the North of the lake to the Hills on the West of the lake too.
The lake used to be called 'Korisia' after ancient 'Korion', a city thought to be in the area with a temple to Athena. The lake reportedly used to be full of eels but now is better known for its terrapins and tourism. Tavernas and pedalo rental shops line part of the shore. Overall, however, the lake retains its beauty, the White Mountains reflected in the mirror-like waters. The width, at the point where the landing stage is built, is about 800 m and the water is of a quality to have caused no ill effects to the writer when he swam across.
If you stand, barefoot, in the water on the sandy beach, tiny fish will (painlessly) nibble dead skin from your feet for free! This is a treatment, which several tourist shops currently (2012) offer at a price.
CHANIA (OLD TOWN)
The heart of Chania is still the old town, with its narrow, labyrinthine alleyways and listed buildings dating from different periods, where you can enjoy romantic strolls. Many of these buildings have been turned into small hotels, restaurants, shops or homes.
Don’t hesitate to wander round the alleys of the old town, looking for the lovely images that await you. Your camera must be your inseparable companion, as Chania is one of the most-photographed cities in Greece.
The old town stretches out parallel to the Venetian harbour, from Firkas Fortress and the Maritime Museum to the “Pyli tis Ammou” (Gate of the Sand, or Koum Kapi in Turkish) to the east of the arsenals. This is the part of town within the Venetian walls and includes Byzantine Chania, once enclosed within less extensive walls.
The Byzantine walls protected the fortress of Kastelli, the hill which was first inhabited in the Neolithic period.
Kastelli Hill rises above the Turkish mosque in the Venetian harbour. Here stood the acropolis of ancient Kydonia, the Minoan Chania. There, too, was built the first Byzantine fortress, the Kastelli, surrounded by walls with many towers and bastions. The Venetians established their headquarters there in 1252, building the Rector’s Residence (the Rector was the Governor of Chania), while the same site was the seat of the pashas during the Turkish Occupation. During the last years of Turkish rule, the Christian aristocracy lived inside the Kastelli. Unfortunately most of the district was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War, and its medieval aspect was lost forever. Today only the base of the north wall remains. There is also the main road that once ran through the Kastelli, modern-day Kanevaro Street with its imposing mansions.