Thodorou isle, one of the secret isles in Crete
Updated: May 21, 2019
Thodorou #isle, or Agioi Theodoroi, is a refuge for the #Cretan agrimi (kri-kri) goat (Capra aegagrus creticus), with an intriguing historical element as well. Actually the access to the isle is prohibited, unless one specific day per year. Let's find out why.
Overview: The isle is located in the north coast of Crete, a few kilometers to the west of #Chania, and just a few hundred meters (850 m.) offshore, but still is surprising remote and unknown. The whole island is a Special Protected Area (SPA), designated as a NATURA 2000 site.
Destination management: Thodorou isle is under the supervision of the Local Forestry Service.
Physical settings (nature and scenery): The isle is actually a scenic rock, like a triangle of 68 hectares, covered by shrubs. Besides of refuge for the Cretan agrimi goat, the isle is an important site for species associated with coastal cliffs and scrub as well. The view to the north coast of Crete, the landscape, and White Mountains (Lefka Ori) from the southern part of the isle is stunning.
Environmental issues and climate: Since there are practically no visitors, the island does not face any problems by overtourism. As a NATURA 2000 site, and moreover a specially protected one, is monitored continuously. However, overgrazing by the wild goats may cause problems to the sustainability of the isles flora. The climate is typical of Crete.
Monuments, preservation of culture and tradition: Two forts were constructed by the Venetians in the second half of the 16th century, one on the hilltop and the other at the south edge of the isle. These forts were the first that were attacked by the Ottoman troops in 1645 and the only ones that didn't surrendered but the defenders preferred to stay within and blow up the fortification. Even though many people know about the modern wildlife refuge, rather few know about the fortress in the island and its tragic fate.
Local Business and Hospitality: -
Despite the significance as a breeding place for the Cretan aegagrus, the remains of two Venetian forts, and the fatal history of their defenders, the only visitors of the isle are pilgrims in June when the local church of Agioi Theodoroi celebrates. A management plan has been published in 2012, proposing an opening to slow tourism, but as far as we know it is not implemented yet. In any case, we wish the Venetian forts to be researched and restored by the Archaeological Service in order to be open to the public in the day of Agioi Theodoroi.
For further reading and information check our blog post.
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