On this fantastic tour you have old and traditional villages, churches, history, archaeology, mythology, nice photo-stops, a beautiful beach... truly a little of everything. The main destination of the tour is the picturesque bay and the village of Matala. The village is well-known especially for its ancient caves, carved out thousands of years ago in the cliffs above the beautiful sandy beach. Our first stop is the village of Margarites. Since the ancient time the colorful village is well-known for its traditional potteries. At one of them we will be able to have a close look at their artistic work. It follows a very interesting bus ride through some more very old villages and than through the evergreen Amari Valley, along the foothills of the famous Ida Mountains. Our next stop is one of the most idyllic places on our island- the village of Agia Galini. After a nice coffee-break there we continue to Matala. Reaching our main destination we stay for a traditional lunch and for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters of the Libyan Sea. On the way bock we take a totally different road and make two nice photo stops- at the archaeological site of Phaestos and at the village of Spili, well-know for its freshwater springs and lion-fountains.
МАРГАРИТЕС - МАТАЛА -- АГИЯ ГАЛИНИ
Эта поездка сочетает в себе историю, мифологию, археологию, традиционные деревни и церкви, остановки чтобы сделать фото, а также красивый пляж... действительно всего понемногу. Основной целью этой экскурсии является живописная бунта Матала, известная своими древними пещерами, вырубленными тысячи лет назад в скалах над красивым песчаным пляжем. Наша первая остановка - деревня Маргаритес. С древних времен этот красочный поселок хорошо известен своей традиционной керамикой. Там у вас будет возможность поближе познакомиться с гончарным ремеслом. К южному побережью, мы проследуем Но увлекательному маршруту - через очень старые и традиционные Критские деревни, Но вечнозеленой долине Амари, вдоль подножья знаменитой горы Ида. Наша следующая остановка-одно из самых идиллических мест на острове - деревня Агия Галины. После приятного кофе-брейка мы продолжим наше путешествие к бухте Матала. По достижению нашей главной цели у нас будет достаточно времени для традиционного обеда и для купания в кристально чистых водах Ливийского моря. Наш обратный путь пройдет Но совершенно другой дороге. На обратном пути мы сделаем две остановки, чтобы сделать красивые фотографии - на археологических раскопках е Фестосе и в деревне СпилИ, известной своими пресноводными источниками и львиными фонтанами
A safe natural harbour on the Bay of Messara, blessed with a gently sweeping sand and pebble beach, the place in legend where Zeus swam ashore in the guise of a bull with Europa on his back. Many people make this village their base for Cretan holidays, as it is so central on the south coast, and away from the over-development of the north coast. The beach is 250m long and 45m wide.
Matala has something for everyone. Although it has become a popular tourist destination it still retains the charm and character of the quiet fishing village it started as at the beginning of the 20th-century, and the laid-back lifestyle of the hippies of the 60’s and 70's lives on. Half the beach is fringed by tamarisk trees, leading the eye on to impressive formations of sandstone rock cliffs with their famous caves sliding into the sea at an odd angle, creating one of the most unusual beachscapes on the island.
There have been many pages of history here. Nobody knows quite who started caves but it seems likely that they were first hollowed out as Roman or early Christian tombs. There are other ruins at the eastern end of the village and if you go snorkelling in the clear waters of Messara Bay there are ancient ruins to be seen in the depths.
Matala it is one of just over 400 beaches in Greece that have been awarded a Blue Flag. This exclusive eco-label is given to beaches that offer cleanliness and safe bathing areas and has strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental management and safety. There is a lifeguard and first aid facilities, as well as toilets and showers.
Near the beach are opportunities for learning about environmental projects, such as with Archelon, the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece.
The beaches of Matala, Kommos and Red Beach come under Natura 2000, a European Union network of nature protection areas established to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats.
At the beach there are sport facilities as well as activities for children, and if you would like to go further afield you can also rent a car, bicycles and motorbikes. Yet all this is only 65 km from Iraklion.
Agia Galini has a cosy harbour and interesting scenery: high cliffs, flowers, a river, a beautiful view of the white mountains, and last but not least a good (pebble) beach. On one side of the harbour on some sort of a small hill are the statues of Daidalos and Ikaros, overlooking the bay. These two mythological figures flew with wings that had been attached to their bodies with wax. Ikaros came too close to the sun and the wax melted, so he crashed into the sea (near the island of Ikaria). What their two statues are doing over here was a big question to me, but they are decorative and beautiful indeed. The myth tells that Ikaros and Daidalos after escaping from King Minos fled to Agia Galini (which was named Soulia at that time, the Minoan times) and took off into the sky from this rock. From this spot where the statues stand - which can be reached easily on foot - you also have a nice view over the village and the sea.
the pottery centre of Margarites
Margarites, Crete - The traditional settlement, 27 km east of Rethymnon in the foothills of Mt. Psiloritis, is one of Crete’s four main pottery centres.
Many craftsmen still use age-old traditional techniques and skills, whether for small pieces of pottery or the large storage jars used on the island in the Minoan period, as evidences by the large jars found in all Minoan palaces.
The craftsmen, each of whom has a particular specialization, supervise the entire production process from the right choice of clay, the sifting and moistening of the soil, the gradual formation of the large jars on the wheel, their decoration in typical patterns, and finally, their firing in special kilns.
In the past, since these jars were not easy to transport, it was the craftsmen themselves who moved around. Groups of potters (from Margarites and Thrapsano in the Heraklion Prefecture) traveled around the villages, took orders and set up their workshops and kilns wherever there was a demand.
Margarites also hosts a Pottery Collection which is housed in a hall owned by the Geropotamos municipality, was set up by the very active Margarites Cultural Movement, in cooperation with the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Pottery in Athens.
The exhibition explains the entire process of pottery-making, a profitable but difficult craft that could be carried out for just a few months of the year, from May 21 (the last day of Saints Constantine and Eleni) until August 15.
There are models of stone workshops and double kilns, explanations of the types of clays, their particular characteristics and the way they were dug out of the earth, the proportions used for the different kinds of pots, the way the clay was prepared in stone containers and how the craftsmen kneaded them by treading on them with careful circular movements.
There are displays of pots and reproductions of designs, and photographs showing all the stages of jar-making.