by Minoa.info / Juhani
Today Agia Roumeli is known as the Samaria gorge endpoint, where tired hikers rest in taverns. From the village there is a way out by boat to Paleochora and Chora Sfakion, and to most of the small villages on these routes. There is no road to the village, and that’s why it feels isolated and there is very little traffic. The village is about two kilometres South from Samarias southgate, where they, after hiking : check the tickets just to make sure that no one has been left behind. Between the gate and the village there is a small road, that when needed, can be used as an emergency road in case of accident.
Agia Roumeli has a long
There is a doubt that the name of the village is of Arabic
origin, meaning “Greek water”. Nearby the village stands the Holy
Mothers Bysantic church. It was built on the same place that formerly
located the temple of Apollo and Artemis. On the east edge of the
Samarian gorge, at the seaside, located once an independent urban state,
Tara, which had its own money, in the form of coins where on one side
was a picture of a wild goat and on the other side a bee. Tara also
founded colonies in Italy and the Caucasus. Findings from excavations in
Tara are on display in the museum of Chania.
About 4000 years ago Agia Roumeli was a market place for wood
Later, there was shipbuilding and wood shipments. The richness of the Samarian woods and the rapidness of the river were a good starting point for the sawmills. The location of the village also gave protection for the people who lived there. The Samarian gorge gave protection against enemy attack and a traffic route to North. Nowadays the local residents of Agia Roumeli get their income from the increasing tourism of the Samarian gorge. Other industries are agriculture and apiculture. Tourism has changed the village, but its history and past are omnipresent.
After the boat has gone, it turns again to a quiet genuine Cretan village bathing in the sunset in the lap of the Libyan Sea. Partly because of that reason, many visitors like to stay in the village because the rest of the world is far away. There is plenty of room at the beaches and there are no discos and theatres, but there are many taverns with good food. After dark it is relaxing to watch the midnightblack sky with thousands of stars and many galaxies, and listen to the sea.