Askyfou, Crete

Askyfou, Crete: Mountain charm and great nature, in a historic, scenic plateau in Chania region.

Askyfou, Crete
, is not a village by itself, but a community of four small villages: Ammoudari, Kares, Goni and Petres. Askyfou is located about 50 km southeast of Chania city and is part of the Sfakia region.

Among the villages that constitute the community of Askyfou, the most organized for travellers is the village of Ammoudari. In Ammoudari you can find some traditional local taverns and rooms for rent. Generally, Askyfou does not have many amenities for travellers, but that is part of its wild beauty.

You can get to Askyfou from Chania city, either by car, or by the efficient local bus service. Characteristic of the community is the great church of the two Sfakian Saints, Manolis and Ioannis.

Askyfou, Crete – a place with a unique mountain charm

Askyfou took its name from the ancient Greek word “skifos”, which means cup. The name comes from the homonymous plateau, where the community of Askyfou is located, which has a cup-like shape, as it is surrounded by the high peaks of the Lefka Ori, or White Mountains, of Chania. Askyfou plateau is on an altitude of 750 m above sea level.

Askyfou plateau is ideal for stock farming. Hence, the main occupations of the locals are raising sheep and goats, as Askyfou has also remained largely unaffected by tourism. During the winter, the plateau is one of the few places in Crete that are covered with snow. Askyfou is also known as the home of the largest cypress forest in Crete.

One of the most known natural monuments that is located in Askyfou plateau, is the Imbros Gorge, second only in Crete to the great Samaria Gorge.

Imbros Gorge starts its path at the village of Imbros, at the southern part of Askyfou plateau, and ends at the village of Komitades, a village very close to the sea of South Crete and near the village of Hora Sfakion.

Imbros Gorge is 7 kilometers long, and is easy to walk through, as long as you descend through the gorge from North to South, or from Imbros to Komitades, and not the other way around. This is due to the high difference in altitude between the two ends of the gorge: Imbros, on the south of Askyfou plateau, has an altitude of 700 m, while Komitades is almost at sea level. You can walk through the gorge in about 2-3 hours, but, as is true for all walks in Crete, you should always have enough water with you and avoid the hot midday summer hours.

Askyfou, Crete – a remote but historic location

Askyfou plateau, in older historical periods, was isolated, in relation to the big cities in the north coast of West Crete. However, it was always a strategic location that connected the north to the south coast of Chania region.

If we add to the above the strong free wit of the locals, it is no surprise that Askyfou has been a place of continuous revolutions and fights between the locals and foreign powers that wanted to occupy the island.

The Venetians, the Ottomans, the Egyptians, and in recent history the Nazi German troops have all engaged in heavy fights with the local population. Characteristic is the fact that here in Askyfou, was the place where, for the first time in Crete, the Greeks won the fight against the more powerful Ottoman occupation troops in 1821, the year of the Greek Revolution. Today, you can find scattered in the whole area of Askyfou several monuments in remembrance of fierce fights that have taken place here.

Askyfou is a traditional community and a plateau with certain qualities that set it apart from other popular destinations in Crete. The unique natural environment, which includes the nearby Imbros Gorge, and the interesting mentality of the local population, make Askyfou, Crete, an excellent location to visit, if you want to experience that other side of Chania and Cretan hospitality.


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