Giouchtas’ sovereign position, above the largest valleys of Crete and among Psiloritis and Dikti mountains, constitutes an observatory of the island’s wild fauna, endemic flora, astonishing relief and agelong history. It is a calcareous mountain sculptured by nature in the shape of a laying human profile. The peculiar pattern is probably the origin of the myth on the ground of Jupiter (Zeus) was buried there.
On a half-day trip, we explore:
- The mountain’s geology comprised of numerous steep cliffs, caves and peaks, which have given rise to myths related to Zeus in the ancient past.
- The long history of Crete from the viewpoint of a Minoans’ sacred mountain
- A high biodiversity of Cretan and Greek endemic species of flora and fauna. Within the 380 plants found on Giouchtas (1/5 of the Cretan flora), 21 of them are endemics of the island.
- One of the most worthwhile places to watch a Griffon Vulture colony (right below our feet) and a rich variety of local and migratory birds.
- The village of Archanes located near by the mountain and in the heart of the major wine-making area of Heraklion. The town was awarded the first prize in the “Europian Community for Rural Environment and Upgrading of Villages” presenting a complete and sustainable development plan.
- The old Venetian Aqueduct built to lead the fresh water from Giouchtas’ springs down to Candia (today’s Iraklio)