Knossos Gorge – Knossano Faraggi

Knossos Gorge – Knossano Faraggi

The gorge of Knossano spans a length of 6 km and is essentially the natural continuation of the sacred mountain Yukhta (or Giouchta).

It is one of the top attractions on the Ecological-Archaeological Park of Giouchta, including Sylamiano Gorge, the Venetian aqueduct, the Minoan Peak Sanctuary of Anemospilia and the summit of Giouchtas that was an important peak sanctuary in ancient years.  It is most often referred to as the gorge of Knossano, however, you may also find it referred to as Knossos Gorge and Gorge of Agia Irini. This is not to be confused with the gorge of Agia Irini, in Chania close to the western section of the White Mountains.

It starts from the foot of the mountain, south of Archanes and passes through the place Kato Mylos, the area of ​​Myristi and the water bridge of Agia Irini in Spilia, to end further north near Knossos. The altitude difference between the entrance and the exit is 270 meters, while no one needs special equipment or special experience to cross it.

The Knosano gorge offers visitors a chance to explore beautiful cavernous rocks set among lush vegetation, comprised primarily of plane trees. The gorge is easily accessible by car, only 11 km from the main city of Heraklion and there are a variety of hikes, attractions and small villages to explore in the area so it is worth sticking around. Mount Giouchta has a long history and was considered a sacred mountain. Looking at it from a distance, the outline of the mountains resembles a human face looking upwards. According to Greek mythology, the face was that of Zeus, and the mountain was his tomb. This is also where you will find the Minoan sanctuary of Anemospilia, first discovered in 1979 that was most probably destroyed around 1700 BC from an earthquake.

Hiking the gorge takes approximately 3 hours and is suitable for families with children. The flora within the gorge is relatively limited due to the dominance of the plane trees and the continuous shade they provide. After hiking, a visit to the village of Archanes, one of the picturesque and well-known in Crete is a must.