Many elements of the traditional architecture are still preserved in the mountain villages of Sfakia. One or two-storey houses with small doors and windows and with inner courtyards with a well or a stone-built oven. As far as architecture is concerned, the so-called mitata are especially interesting. These are stone buildings with a domed ceiling used by the shepherds to live in and produce their dairy products.

In Afkifou village  a traditional picturesque place  - you will have the chance to visit the private museum of war belonging to Georgos Hatzidakis and admire his collection consisting of many World War II findings, found by himself over the last 50 years. The village is located in Askifou tableland and as it is surrounded by high mountains, it is and ideal place to go for a nice hike in nature.

In the abandoned village of Aradena there is still the church of Archangel Michael, with a very special dome and wonderful frescoes, dating back to the 14th century. In the same area stretches the thick pine-tree forest of Ai Giannis, which is one of the most impressive forests in the island.

On the southeast of Araden lies Anopolis. A mountain village with many beautiful stone houses, where people are mostly shepherds. An area of extreme natural beauty and a spectacular view of the southern part of Crete.

Anopolis is the home of Giannis Daskologiannis, a rebel and heroe not only in Sfakia but also in whole Crete, who organized the first important revolution against the Turkish, called Orlofika, in 1770. That was one of the most important events in Crete's modern history due to the fact that after the revolution was suppressed, the Turkish skinned Daskalogiannis alive in Herakeion and burnt almost the whole village of Sfakia in retaliation. Daskalogiannis' Revolution has recently been recognized by the Greek Nation as a National Holiday for whole Crete and will be honoured every year on the first Sunday after 17th June.

Georgios Xenoudakis is considered to be a major benefactor for Sfakia. He was arrested among others in one of the Cretan revolutions against the Turkish and sent to Egypt at the age of 8 where he was sold as a slave. Even though he was deprived of his country, his feedom and his Christian education, he managed to survive, to be educated and to return to Greece. He studied law in Athens and accomplished great deeds as real Greek and a true patriot.

In 1881, Georgios Xenoudakis was the first delegate from Crete in the Greek Parliament. In 1880, he built 13 schools in Sfakia and hired teachers, all on his own expense. He bequeathed his entire fortune to Sfakia for this purpose. After his death, his legacy, which still exists, was used for the construction of another school and the boarding school of Sfakia.

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Απο 1/5/2012

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