Islands of Crete

Dionysades

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Dionysades Islets
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The isles Dionysades (also Gianysades) is a small group of  four islands off Sitia on the northeast coast of Crete. The group includes the islands Gianysada, Dragonada, Paximada, and Paximadaki. This island group is part of an environmentally protected area with many rare plants and animals including the Eleonora's falcon,Falco eleonorae, which reprodices and settles here.

These islands were once a place of worship of the ancient Greek god Dionysus and were owned by Itanos. Archaeologists have found remains from ancient and early Christian eras in Dragonada, the largest isle, indicating that the islands may have been inhabited in the past. The same islet hosts a great cave at the east side and some amazing rock columns raising from the sea at the west part. Dragonada hosts a very small beach next the the church of Saint Atnhony and a small port.

Islets Paximada and Paximadaki host the largest colony of Eleonora's Falcon (Falco eleonorae) globally. Here nest about 300 pairs of flacons which in winter migrate to Madagascar. They are studied by German scientists since 1963. Thanks to awareness and public information, the population remains stable, but still requires attention especially from hunters and fishermen, who often cause damage to birds and their nests.

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