Cretan Wetlands



Almiros wetland
(10 votes)

Almiros spring can probably most satisfactory explain the term paradox. This spring is located at the northeastern side of Psiloritis, a few hundred meters far from the sea and the city of Heraklion, and it runs off the highest water quantity in Crete directly into the sea through the homonym river of Almiros! The water of the spring is brackish because somewhere quite deep it is mixed with seawater.

Water resources come from two areas. The Psiloritis mountains and the surrounding plateaus from where winter rainfall can reach the spring in 9 hours (!), and also the hills which are nearby. However, the largest amount of water comes from Psiloritis sinkholes and the underground rivers (caves) and after a deep route arrives at the spring. A big fault located at the mountain side traps the already brackish water forcing it to come out from the spring.

The water supply ranges from 3 till 40 cubic meters per second (meaning several hundreds of million cubic meters per year!). A small artificial lake is formed around the spring from where a small stream ends up in the sea. It is however, remarkable that at the beginning of spring when the supply is the maximum, water is almost potable!

From the springs a wide river starts that finishes at the beach Ammoudara, after creating one of the most important wetlands of East Crete. At the wetland of Almyros many birds can be observed all year round, as well as the Theophrastus’ palm tree (Phoenix theophrasti) which only exists in Crete and in an area in the southeast Turkey.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Water: Water all year round

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