Omalos is a plateau with an altitude
of 1080 meters, famous for its liberation struggles of the
has the shape of an irregular circle and is surrounded by
steep, aweinspiring mountains. The plateau due to its natural
fortification, has always been a refuge during all the important
revolutions of Crete. At the entrance of the plateau there
are small stone houses occupied only during the summer months.
On the south part of the plateau there is Xiloskalo, the starting
point for the crossing of the Samaria gorge. Worth visiting
on the hill of Agios Panteleimonas (St Panteleimonas) is the
grave of Hatzimihali Giannari, leader of 1866, 1878 and 1897
revolutions against Turks. You can get there by suburban bus
service (KTEL) from Chania or by car if you take the road
Samaria Gorge is the popular and perhaps the most beautiful
gorge in Europe. It is the biggest and narrowest gorge, since
its width being at one point is less than 2,5 meters and height
of the stone walls reach 600 meters in many points. To cross
the gorge, one needs to walk for about 5 hours (18 kms length).
The natural beauty overrides any feeling of exhaustion during
the walk. Its crossing is only possible during the summer
months from beginning of May since October.
Agia Roumeli village is the exit point of Samaria gorge.
The present day, village of Agia Roumeli is built on the ancient
town of Tarra, while the old village is situated one kilometer
from the sea. Tarra is mentioned by many ancient writers as
a small but strong and independent town. It used to have its
own currency coins on one side depicting the Cretan mountain
goat and an arrow and on the other side a bee. Tarra
together with the other important towns of Northwestern Crete,
Elyro and Yrtakina, had made a nomismatical treaty. At the
present on the beach, there are hotels, rooms for rent and
taverns. Agia Roumeli is connected with Sfakia,
Loutro and Sougia, Paleochora
only by ship, from where you can return to Chania. If you
do not wish to cross all of the distance of Samaria gorge
to approach Agia Roumeli, you can do it by sea from Sfakia,
Sougia or Paleochora by motorboat.