Atop the sacred Minoan Mount

Jiouktas

Giouchtas Trail
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Giouchtas Trail - 4.0 out of 5 based on 5 votes

Giouchtas mountain, above village Archanes, since antiquity is a sacred place for the entire island of Crete. The human-head-like shape of it as we look from Heraklion, according to mythology is the head of god Zeus who is buried there. This sacred mountain hosted three caves- sanctuaries and a very important peak sanctuary. With the advent of Christianity the place hosted monasteries and churches.

Climbing on Giouchtas is very easy because there is a very nicely marked and visible trail that crosses the mountain from one side to the other. Giouchtas has amazing and unobstructed views towards all directions, although it is quite low (its highest peak reaches 811m altitude). The trail that crosses the mountain starts right next to very famous archaeological site of Anemospilia and ascends to the south having panoramic views across the north side of the city of Heraklion, the Cretan Sea and west to the fertile valleys Heraklion and mount Ida. In several places information signs are placed next to many typical shrubs and plants of Crete with information about them. Indeed, Giouchtas is a botanical paradise, especially after the prohibition of animal grazing.

The trail crosses the first peak after meeting an archaeological site with the foundations of buildings that have been excavated on a small plateau. It then runs next to the Minoan peak sanctuary on the first peak of the mountain. From there. the trail heads to the second peak of Youchtas where we meet the historic church of Lord Christ with the peculiar architecture, unique in Crete. This was once a monastery and today hosts the greatest festival of the whole region on August 6th (there is a dirt road from Arhanes reaching the place).

Then the trail descends to the east and has views to the eastern plains of Heraklion and the mountain range of Dikti. In several places it runs through pine and cypress trees that offer shade. At the end of the trail we reach the village Ano Archanes. The course takes about 4 hours.

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Additional Info

  • Prefecture: Heraklion
  • Type: Hiking gorge, Signed trail
  • Length (km): 5
  • Altitude difference (m): 400
  • Difficulty (0-10): 2
  • Hiking Hours: 4:00
  • Accessibility: Paved road

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