By Maria Gkika,
Flowers and plants can tell us a lot about the history of mankind. Great ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and the Chinese gave great importance to the properties of herbs and plants which they praised many times in literary texts and books about plants and herbs. The botanical park is not the first place that someone will read about in a tourist guide for Crete. Still, it is nevertheless an unforgettable place from which everyone will leave feeling spiritually enriched.
An idea that started in 2003, this garden was born out of the ashes of a devastating fire in the area at the time. The aim of the creation of the space is not only to gather an important collection of flora from all over the world but also to be a true sanctuary where the visitor will be able to connect completely with nature and take a break from the stress and noise of everyday life. Following the designed path between the trees, the visitor discovers various parts of the park where he will admire beautiful flowers, trees, and animals.
There is an extremely vast collection of species of plants and trees in the park, a collection that is constantly renewed with new types of tropical trees, fruit trees, herbs, ornamental plants, and medicinal plants. What is truly impressive is the burnt centuries-old olive tree, whose blackened trunk is both a symbol of strength and a reminder of how suddenly nature can fall victim to a major natural disaster.
The lake complements the green landscape at the bottom of the park which provides shelter and protection to ducks, geese, and other waterfowl, which have developed their own ecosystem and coexist harmoniously alongside visitors. Many of the birds we will meet there are rare species.
The hike lasts around two hours and the level of difficulty is very low as the descent is very smooth and there are several rest points. In addition, returning to the beginning of the route, there is a restaurant with excellent traditional Cretan cuisine from where one can enjoy the magical view of the gorge from above. This is a very good alternative day trip since the park is located just a few kilometers outside the city of Chania and easily accessible either by car or bus.
To sum up, the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete are a rare heritage both for the beautiful Greek island and for all those who will visit it in the future. While the fast pace of life in modern cities threatens to alienate people from nature, such places remind us of their incomparable beauty and their priceless value. If you have the opportunity to visit, do not miss it!
- Χανιά: Άνοιξε το Βοτανικό Πάρκο και Κήποι Κρήτης, ertnews.com, Available here
- Πάρκο Κρήτης που γεννήθηκε μέσα από τις στάχτες, thesekdromi.gr, Available here
- A Day at the Botanical Park of Crete – A Miracle of Cretan Nature!, creti.com, Available here