Anogia(updated August 4, 2007)
Anogia is a typical Cretan shepherd's town on the northern side of Mount Psiloritis at about 37 kilometers southwest of Heraklion. The local life happens mainly around the town square where many things still go on the traditional ways. The livestock sector is important in this area. This is obvious to the visitors when they go to restaurants. Especially lamb is served here in the restaurants. There is a church in the center of the village. During the Ottoman domination the village was burned by the Turks. The Germans did this again during the Second World War. The Germans also killed all men of the village.
Along the road from Anogia to the west you will find the village Melidóni. The village itself is not very interesting. The stalactite cave which the village is named after is a lot more interesting. The cave consists of a number of corridors filled with stalactites and stalagmites. There is a monument in the cave. The region was a source of resistance to the Turkish oppressors. In 1824 around 300 people fled into the cave. When they refused to leave the cave the Turks made a large fire at the entrance, which used all the oxygen in the cave and all the people inside suffocated. The cave is worth visiting. Because the cave is barely lit, you have to use a flashlight. From the entrance of the cave you have a beautiful view over the hills and the 2456 meter high Mount Psiloritis (in Idi Mountains).
The most beautiful caves of Crete are the Sendoni caves. These can be found in the village Soniana, 10 kilometers west of Anogia. The 550-meter-long cave is named after a rebel or bandit from the region who used the cave as a base. One legend says that a man, Sfentonis, lived in the cave. The cave is quite big. There are paths through the cave and the cave is well lit. The paths can be very slippery! When you pass the entrance to a big room it seems like the cave ends. But at the end of every room you can go deeper into the cave. In total, there are 14 rooms. The cave was inhabited in the Neolithic period and during the occupation of Crete by the Turks, the cave serves as a shelter. The entrance to this cave costs about 4 euro.
Anogia can be reached by bus from Heraklion. The bus rides 5 times a day. The trip takes over 70 minutes. However, it is recommended to visit the village with a rental car. That way you can also visit other attractions in the area.