Krasi, Heraklion: a perfect place for recreation in Crete
Updated: May 31, 2019
Krasi (Κράσι, Krásion) is really a great destination in the Cretan landscape. The place is a natural wonder and a historic site as well, combining a monumental tree (one of the oldest in Europe) with a significant manmade monument of the past everyday life.
The monumental plane tree witnessed the presence of the famous Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis and his accompanying scholars in the 1910s. The first wife of Kazantzakis, Galateia Alexiou (a good writer as well), and her siblings originated from this village. Kazantzakis admired this place, and highlighted its significance in his own way in his novel Freedom or Death (Ο καπετάν Μιχάλης, Ελευτερία ή θάνατος). As a great traveler himself, apparently he knew why.
Let’s explore together some aspects of this wonderful village.
The first mention of the place name Krasi is dated to 1280. More written sources refer the village in 1577, 1583, 1630, 1671, and of course during the 19th and 20th centuries, highlighting the diachronic human habitation there.
During the rebellions of the Greek-Orthodox Cretans against the Ottoman Authorities in the second half of the 19th century, Krasi was a strategic point for the Greek resistance.
Even from the past ages, the village was a popular destination as a healthy place for leisure and wellness.
Krasi is characterized by the monumental plane tree and the adjacent complex of fountains. Being outside the initial settlement, now the plane tree and the fountains are included within the broader limits of the modern village, and the spot is redeveloped as the central square of Krasi.
Physical settings (nature and scenery)
Krasi, is a village located to the northwestern slopes of the Selena mt (600 m. elevation), just above a small plateau. Through the limestone rock of the place a karst spring has flowing water all over the year.
The perimeter of the Monumental Plane Tree (Platanus orientalis) now is 14.60 m., but the real perimeter below the modern paved square is suggested to be c. 17.50 m.
This plane tree listed as a Monument of Nature that has to be preserved by the Greek Ministry of Environment in 2011.
Monuments, culture and tradition
Krasi was listed as a place of special natural beauty in 1970. The stone built complex of fountains who was constructed in 1890, the "Megali Vrisi" aqueduct, was listed as a Historic Site in 2001 as "it is an interesting special building, it acts as a point of reference for the region and is inextricably linked with the historical memories of the residents".
Environmental issues and climate
The Monumental Plane Tree needs care for the adequate irrigation and ventilation of its root system, and protection against possible diseases from insects and fungal.
The local climate is considered to be healthy, with a good humidity level.
Krasi is included in the Municipality of Chersonissos. The Monumental plane tree is supervised also by the Forestry Service of Heraklion and the fountain is supervised by the local Archaeological Service.
Local business and hospitality
In the village there many taverns, kafeneia, and souvenir shops, as well as a couple of residences to stay.
⇑ Pros: really scenic place, combining three different types of monuments, the village itself, the old plane tree, and the fountain; great place for recreation, taste of authentic Cretan food, and a sense of living like a local.
⇓ Cons: as in almost every other Cretan village, renovation and redevelopment works, as well as construction of modern day concrete buildings affected to a certain degree the authenticity of the place, and the place probably needs a branding campaign as well.
Of course, our rating is 5/5 stars.
⇨ Where to go / what to do:
Do not climb on the Monumental Plane Tree, it’s forbidden!
Take photos of the scenic fountain and the impressive place tree, and upload them on social media in order to highlight one of the oldest trees in Europe!
Walk around the village, visit the old church dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ (Σωτήρας Χριστός), while signed trails start from the village connecting with Azilakodasos forest, the ancient hilltop settlement Karphi, and other sites at the nearby designated area (GR-4320002) of the NATURA 2000 scheme.
Feel the energy of the place
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For further reading and information check our blog post.