Fourni is a large lush hill next to the picturesque Arhanes village, about 12km south of Heraklion. It takes its name after the local homonym preminoan cemetery, next to Knossano Gorge. Fourni can be accessed through Kato Arhanes, where you’ll meet signs leading there.
On the hill of Fourni there is a small pine grove. Although it is artificial, Fourni is really beautiful and is worth visiting. There are plenty of pine and cypress trees that stand next large rocks. As expected, spring is the best time to visit the place. The woods in Fourni is ideal for hiking and its numerous paths have made that popular for mountain biking. Moreover, there is a beautiful stone theater, where the views to Archanes and to Dia Island are amazing.
A little further from the theater, you’ll find the archaeological site of the pre-Minoan cemetery (2400AD-2200AD), which is the largest prehistoric cemetery in the Aegean Sea. Fourni is still under excavations, which have revealed several important objects, mainly from graves. The objects found, indicate clearly that Archanes had close relations with the Aegean, Egypt and the Middle East. The most important finding was the unlooted sarcophagus of the "Queen", where jewelry (over 140 pieces) and other items were found, but also remnants of sacrificing an ox and a horse. Many of the findings are exhibited in the archaeological museums of Archanes and Heraklion.
In the middle of the last century, Fourni was a dry rocky mountain that belonged to the community of Kato Archanes. The community had offered the land for the building of the University of Crete. Fortunately, it was rejected and the hill has turned to this small oasis.