To quote Nikos Kazantzakis in his report to Greco; he says
‘Crete’s mystery is extremely deep.
Whoever sets foot on this island senses a mysterious force branching
warmly and beneficently through his veins, senses his soul begin to grow.’
It is an island estimated to have formed over five million years ago
and is positioned centrally in the Mediterranean, equidistantly to
Europe and Africa and Asia.
Here it is possible to appreciate the diversity of nature reflected within
its evolution to its present day, the endemic species and the wide
variety of eco systems are the key features of nature, from its
mountains dominating its landscape, of which some are over 2000
meters in height and for large parts of the year retain snow on their
peaks, and at any time of the year are awe inspiring to see.
Crete’s mountainous regions creates its own weather system, higher
levels of humidity and rainfall have created over time a series of water
reservoirs and separator dams with its own eco systems, and you will
find in contrast to the drier climate of the landscape and beaches, of
which Crete is famous for, cool ravines and gorges filled with herbs,
oak forests and flora, of which includes the indigenous orchid.
It was our objective to investigate and highlight the unique gifts the
island provides with an environmental park, to provide knowledge and
to share with you our respect and admiration, and in some cases our
concerns for the beautiful miracles of nature which have evolved over
millennium on this magnificent island.
The nature park consists of separate ecosystems of ‘Biotopes’.
Originally the land, on a hill above the city of Rethymno, was chosen
for its existing rocky landscape and profusion of natural plants and
This we further enriched by bringing in plants from surrounding areas,
adding to the nature we were already protecting and tending to.
Within each ‘Biotope’ visitors can find information on each habitat,
such as the edible plants, known locally as ‘horta’, also the island
herbs. Plus information on their benefits medicinally, or as a tea;
known as ‘vrastaria’.
In the park can be found Cretan aromatic herbs, plants which provide
natural pigments used for dying cloth or wool, decorative flowers
which are dried and made into beautiful wreaths to grace doorways in
springtime, and many other indigenous plants mainly from Crete, and
some from other parts of Greece, plus plants which are rare and today
Among the separate biotopes and within their natural habitats live a
large number of animals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects and fish.
When we created the lake using the natural ecosystem as found in the
local gorges we found nature itself attracted more species of fauna and
became self sustaining…more frogs!
As one will find in the more traditional villages; we also have rabbits,
happily burrowing and breeding…as rabbits tend to do! Our free range
chickens are prolific layers of eggs and our garden produces healthy
organic vegetables. We produce compost as a natural fertilizer so
nothing is wasted.
We have also acquired a selection of tropical animals from individuals
who wished to offer them a more natural living environment, these
include Iguanas, snakes and turtles, each living in their own spacious
and selectively designed habitat .
Within the park there are information signs for approximately 220
species of native plants and 50 species of fauna…each sign provides
the formal Latin name, the period of time a plant will flower, its uses,
the environment it prefers as well its natural habitats.
In the park pavilion are exhibited featured books of Cretan nature and
natural products made from herbs grown in Crete.
On arrival you will be met by one of the park organizers or volunteers
who would be happy to offer a guided tour which includes information
about the plants and animals, and and would be happy to answer any
questions you may have.
The park also offers an educational program for school communities.
Our aim and objective being to help children and young people explore
the unique natural environment of the island, to achieve a better
understanding of living in harmony with nature, and everything this
can offer an inquiring mind, – and achieved not through the theoretical
but through ‘hands on’ contact within a safe and fun environment.
In nature we will find everything we require to live in harmony,
‘mother nature’ has many stories to tell; about creation, originality,
evolution, competitiveness and survival, and ultimately balance