Anogia is located 36km west of Heraklion and 52km southeast of Rethymnon, at an altitude of 750m. It is built on three levels in the ridge of Armi, on Psiloritis Mt. Its name means a place built on high level.
Anogia has particularly close relationships with Psiloritis Mt and its landscapes. The locals are mainly engaged in farming and are characterized by their hospitality. Here you can find genuine Cretans who still wear the traditional costumes. The residents of Anogia seems to enjoy every moment of their lives and do not hesitate to express their joy with feasts, but if their pride is violated than guns talk!
In Anogia you can visit the old churches of St. George, St. Demetrius, the Assumption of the Virgin and St. John (with frescoes of the 12th century). Also, you can enjoy your coffee in the cafes and taste the traditional Cretan dishes at local taverns, under the company of Anogians with their good heart and melodic accent. Moreover, women still weave traditional Cretan weavings of unsurpassed quality that you will find in many shops. Indeed, the first women's cooperation in Greece was founded in Anogia.
Anogia is famous throughout Greece for its contribution to culture. Indeed, great Cretan lyre players and singers come from Anogia with the most famous being the "Archangel of Crete”, the legendary singer Nikos Xilouris, whose house is open to all guests. Lastly, each year the cultural events Yakintheia are organized in a lovely stone theatre next to the village, that is currently famous throughout Greece.
The area of Anogia was a very important place of worship in antiquity, as the cave of Ideon Andron in nearby Nida Plateau, was according to legend, the cave where Zeus was raised as a child. Also nearby is still the sacred spring and mansion of Zominthos, worshiped in the Minoan era.
Anogia was mainly inhabited in the 12th century, when it was granted by the Byzantine Empire as a fief to the family of Kallergis. During the Ottoman period, Anogia was a “wakf’ village dedicated to Valide Sultana, the wife of the Sultan. At the same time it gave birth to famous rebels who participated in almost all revolutions in Crete. The high mountainous geography of Psiloritis kept the Turks away and gave refuge to the rebels, even when the Turks burnt out the village in 1822 and 1867.
The free soul of Anogians did not seize when Crete was occupied by the Germans in 1941, when the Libertarian Action Committee was founded here. However, the most important moment in the history of the village was took place after the kidnapping of the German general Kraipe and its transfer to Anogia, before he was moved via the southern shores of Rethymno to Africa. The Germans surrounded the village and massacred all men who had not managed to escape in Psiloritis, before tearing all 800 houses in the village.
Ideon Cave (or Ideon Antron) is located on the eastern slopes of Mount Ida (Psiloritis), in the plateau of Nida. The distance of the cave from Anogia is 24km and from Rethymno it’s 78km. The cave has not any special geological value, but has enormous mythological and cultural value, as this is the cave in which, according to the legend, the greatest Greek god, Zeus, was grown up. Today, thousands of tourists visit the cave every year, especially during the summer months.
The imposing Ida Range has the highest peak of Crete, Timios Stavros at 2546m altitude. For reaching Timios Stavros, there are many ways from both north and south sides. The view for the peak is amazing towards all directions.
Cave Zoniana, Sfendoni or Sfendoni's Hole, is located 1km north of Zoniana village in Mylopotamos, about 43km west of Heraklion and 52 southeast of Rethymno. It is shaped on the southern slopes of the hill Halepa at an altitude of 630m. The cave is accessible and is the most beautiful cave in Crete and one of the most beautiful in Greece, with rich stalactite and stalagmite decoration. It belongs to the Natural Park of Psiloritis, which is protected by UNESCO.
The plateau can be reached via a dirt road starting from the picturesque village of Anogia, but also via a rugged dirt track from Gergeri. The plateau is used as pasture and is not cultivated. Due to overgrazing, you we’ll not see any trees in the plain, although it was previously covered by dense forest.
Ancient Zominthos is located 7km west of Anogia, on the road heading to the plateau of Nida. Discovered in 1982, Zominthos is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Crete, compared my many to that of Knossos.
The Skinakas Observatory is a research facility operated jointly by the Foundation of Research and Technology - Hellas (F.O.R.T.H.), the University of Crete and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics of Germany.
Near the central square of Anogia you can visit the humble house of Nikos Xylouris, the most famous singer and lyra player of Crete (lyra is the Cretan traditional instrument). The house - museum is basically a small room where there are relics and photographs of the legendary Xylouris and which have been formed by his sister Zouboulia.