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Municipality of Sfakia

The Municipality of Sfakia on the south, east of Chania and has the headquarters Sfakia. This seaside and mountainous municipality, the northern part of which is located in the foothills of the White Mountains. Corresponds to the historic region of Sfakia. According to the 2011 census, the municipality has 1,889 inhabitants and a total area of 467,589 acres. The City remained unchanged with the program Kallikratis.

The municipality comprises nine districts:

  • Community Sfakia, in Sfakia, the Vritomaris, and Komitades
  • Community Agia Roumeli to Agia Roumeli and the old St. Roumeli
  • the Community of St. John with St. John and Aradaina
  • Community Anopoleos with Anopoli the Livaniana and Loutro,
  • Community Askyfou, with Ammoudari the corners, frames, and Peter,
  • Community Asfendou, with Asfendou, Agios Nektarios, the speechlessness and Nomikiana,
  • Community Imbros by Ibro and Vraska,
  • Community Patsianos, with Patsianos, Callicrates the Kapsodasos and Fragocastello
  • and Community Skaloti by Skaloti and Argoules.


In the region of Sfakia born and flourished a goddess before the human mind invented Artemis-patroness of hunting and forests. Was Vritomaris (from vrity = sweet and Martis = girl, virgin), which was worshiped throughout the island, but over and above this. The same place resorted the brilliant god Apollo to purify him from the horrible taint the powerful prelate Karmanoras. Since Apollo was a friend and patron of Sfakia.

The famous oracle of the ancient Tara was also built there. From Tarra started priests and went to (now) Central Greece where they built a new oracle, the oracle of Delphi. On their trip led their friend Apollo, disguised as a dolphin - like the sequence. For this Sfakians gave the name "Oracle of Delphi" (that is, an explanation of dolphins) and dedicated it to the god-friend. Gigilos mountain (mountain towering over the entrance of the gorge of Samaria) chose and set his throne of Zeus the Kritagenis, before later transfer to the top of Mount Olympus.

Sfakia lived and the beautiful fairy Akakkalida. From legends love affairs with gods, came to the world subsequent founders who built cities famous as Cydonia, Naxos, Ephesus and Oaxos. He was born and brought up also the famous composer and singer Chrisothemis, first place winner in the Pythian Games, the nationwide contest music. In this place reigned Katri, the eldest son of Minos.

In his own palace was guest of King Menelaus of Sparta (grandson) then he found by chance by Paris steal Helen, the cause of the Trojan War. Even today, the gorge next to the palace Katreas called 'the KATP Ilango "(lag = ravine). On the island of Gavdos, ancient Ogygia, lived the nymph Calypso, who kept close to her for eight years the resourceful Odysseus, as certified by Homer. Still, Sfakia is the endemic area dittany, plant with miraculous properties.

Tradition has it that same Venus to gather the burning bush and to give as a balm to the wounded son. It should also be noted that the Apostle Paul was storm tossed in Sfakia, when he went to Rome to the judges.


The oldest traces of habitation of Crete, located in a cave of Sfakia namely to 'Skordolakia' in the mountain village Asfendou. The cave is located on a steep slope near the road from Asfendou to Kallikratis. Basically consists of one room, which was previously larger. This small cave has immense archaeological importance as 1960 engraved Paleolithic cave paintings were discovered on the floor near the entrance on a sinter plate. It seems certain from the theme and the way that the rock art engraving included in prehistoric times, and more particularly belong to the Neolithic and architecture dating from about 7500 to 8500 years, making them the oldest trace of habitation on the island.

There are figurative carvings, depicting deer or antelope, Bow and arrow, spear, spear, ship and twig. There are also abstract carvings, linear and tectonic, and others made from small engraved dots. These rock paintings showing the existence hunters in Sfakia mountains, who were either older than the Neolithic, or survived in Neolithic times, isolated, continuing a tradition of millennia.

The region of Sfakia first mentioned during the Arab raids on Crete. After the conquest of Crete by the Saracens Arabs in 824 AD, Sfakians refused to declare allegiance and organized in their own autonomous community with their own power that they called senate. During the campaign of Nikiforos Fokas for the recapture of Crete Sfakians offered him important services and reinforced the siege of Candia (Heraklion), who fell on March 7, 961 AD After the victory of the Byzantines, Emperor Nikiforos Fokas Sfakiots allowed to keep their local governance and granted them privileges.

During the second period of Byzantine rule in Crete (961-1204 AD), the island went through a peaceful period. Sfakia commander was the nephew of Emperor Scordilis Marino, who came to Crete together with nine of his brothers. and their families. The territory of family Skordyli posits Askyfou, until the area Fragokastelo. The largest city of the territory of the family Skordyli was Anopoli.

In 1204 after the first of the Byzantine Empire, Crete became a Venetian control where he remained until 1669. During this time there were at least 27 revolutions in Crete. Most of these sprang from the area of the White Mountains, the area where acting Sfakians. In recorded over 13 uprisings between 1207 and 1365. In the period 1669-1898, Crete passed into Ottoman control. At that time began to be potentiated the Orthodox realm of Russia and the Greeks began to turn their hopes to the Russians. The pursuit of the Russians to get out to the Black Sea led them quickly into conflict with the Ottoman Empire. Before the Russo-Turkish war 1768-1774 Russia sent agents to the Peloponnese and the islands in order to stir up the local population against the Turks.

One of these agents met with Cretan chieftain John Vlahos, commonly known as Daskalogianni and motivated him to start revolution. Although the Cretans were not ready for such a venture hoping for help from the Russians started the revolution in 1770, when he appeared in the Aegean fleet Alexius Orlov. The Cretans finally left helpless by the Russians to deal with the Turkish army, who quickly managed to quell the revolution. Daskaloyannis delivered and executed in Heraklion under torture and after being flayed alive before his brother because he refused to betray his people. Sfakians although suffered extensive damage from the failed revolution of 1770 managed to regroup and reappear strong at the outbreak of the revolution of 1821. In the revolution of 1821 involved almost since its inception and thanks mainly to their own forces, they managed to keep the revolution in Crete until 1830.

Half the almost military strength of the Cretan revolutionaries came from Sfakia. In 1828 arrived in Crete General Chatzimichalis Ntalianis in order to rekindle the revolution on the island. In March 1828 arrived in Sfakia where he was greeted with prices. Soon moved against the Turkish army corps from Heraklion. The Ntalianis preferred to face in Fragokastello, ignoring the advice of Sfakian urged him to fight in the hills. In the battle that took place at Fragokastello on 17 May 1828 the Greek rebels were defeated and most were killed. Then the Turks turned against Sfakian was entrenched in the highlands.

The main battle took place in the valley of Koraka where Turkish body had huge losses and fled. Sfakians participated in the revolutions of 1841, 1858 and 1866-1867. After the liberation of Crete and its integration into the Greek state in 1912, the area of Sfakia was county, then province, and from 1998 an expanded township.


Flourished in Sfakia Cretan dances and songs and serenades rizitika. It is a land rich in tradition and history. Faithful to the manners and customs in many Sfakians dressed today with traditional costumes, boots, breeches and kerchief.

One of the known local dishes is the famous Sfakian honey pie made with local cheese. Special place in Sfakian kitchen are also the tsigariasto lamb, pilaf, convergent, stamnagathi and local nuts and all dairy products and high quality local meats.

A special custom yet Sfakia, which is a sign of solidarity of Sfakia, is the shearing of sheep. The shearing is a custom in which all the inhabitants of a village to help mowing the wool of sheep. The owner of the herd to thank them organized after mowing feast.

In early July the village Kallikratis recent years organized and have become an annual tradition the "Kallikrateia." This is a series of events by putting feast SFAKIANOU pie, and surrounded by cycling races, shooting competitions, etc. Together a large number of visitors every year.

Another special celebration is the Feast Graviera Anopoli, a festival that will introduce you to the Cretan feast. The aim of the festival is to promote and prothisi traditional gruyere and other local products. If you find yourself in Sfakia namely Frangokastelo in mid-September you will also have the opportunity to attend the feast of St. Nikita and watch sporting events, horse races and shooting matches, with the participation of schoolchildren and residents. An ancient custom that is maintained until today.

Architecture of Sfakia

Form the primary residence Sfakiano monospito, belongs to one of the most primitive types of the Mediterranean. The Sfakiano jaunty platymetopo monospito is one of the most important monuments in the history of culture and folklore of the region. On the road that followed the development, he remains firmly tied to its primary form and tradition.

In monospito adds to the small house, the Towerhouse the chimney with the updraft, the balcony and the floor. One of the purest forms of SFAKIANOU monospito is that which prevails in Kallikratis. This form occurs as such in all the villages of Sfakia than the country. It is home to the arch, the "arched". The insertion of the arch occurs a separation without breaking the unity of the interior, creating unique spaces with functional autonomy ensure proper operation building, removing any trace of monotony. The 'brosgialitiko home' in Sfakia is the other major element of Sfakia, sea, not only as a natural environment, but mainly as a source of wealth and prosperity. It is home to middle-class. Downstairs is the kitchen, great room and arcade called arch or loggia. The floor extends only to the space corresponding to the great room and uses the spacious terraces covering the kitchen and porch. Contacting the floor and a mezzanine floor, secured either by a wooden staircase or by external stone. And if the building is more tidy, prevails here naked form that compose the simple linear elements, the interference of the semicircular arc in the side of the portico

Of the 1,400 known caves in the area of Chania, 260 are located in Sfakia. Many of them are on the slopes of Sfakia the White Mountains and the area of Agia Roumeli is the first number, with sixty-two caves and potholes. Of these, few have explored, while most expect cavers who will bring to light the secrets. Most were shelters and hideouts of local residents, in all historical periods. There are also still unexplored underwater caverns. Visited at the moment is 'Agiasmatsi', east of the village Kapsodasos and 'Daskalogianni', west of Sfakia. From potholes, more than 125 are located in the Castle Peak Askyfou and other Evil Castelli. The most profound so far, is the chasm 'Praline', where 2008 Greek-mission reached 628m. Let's look at the most important caves.