Mili Gorge is a stunning green oasis near the town of Rethymno. It is actually a ravine, which hosts a huge number of plants and trees, a real botanic garden. It collects water from the north slopes of Mount Vrysinas and starts north of the village Chromonastiri and south of the settlement Xero Chorio. In the recent years it attracts many hikers who trek along a nice trail that crosses the entire valley. At the middle of the canyon we meet the deserted village Mili (i.e. mills) which is divided into two neighborhoods, Ano Mili (Upper mills) and Kato Mili (Lower mills). Its name is taken after the water mills that were housed in the gorge, about 30. The villagers were mostly millers and almost all cereals in the region and the surrounding villages were milled at Mili.
Today we can see in good condition only one watermill that has been renovated so the visitors can get an idea of how they operated. Apart from the many mills, there are many gardens with fruit trees and vegetables. The water never stops running from the springs located in the canyon at various points, with the larger springs being that of Saint Anthony and Five Virgins. Along its route, the water creates small waterfalls and lakes where you take a refreshing bath under the shade of huge planes.
The last residents left Mili in 1972 and since then the village is deserted, with some mills renovated as residences and one cafe-restaurant for guests. The fear for landslides was the reason that led the villagers to leave and build high above the gorge, on the west, the village Nei Mili (new mills). Apart from the mills and old houses, there is a large number of impressive churches. The first is the cavernous church of Saint Anthony (Agios Antonios) in a stunning landscape. There is also the cavernous church of Saint John (Agios Ioannis). Shortly after the village there is the cemetery church of the holy Five Virgins (Pente Parthenes). Shortly after Kato Mili we meet the cavernous chapels of Saint Paraskevi (Agia Paraskevi) and Saint Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos).