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Korakias peak sanctuary

Place description

Above the Atsipades village in St Basil province, Rethymno, you can find a series of small peaks, with the highest being Kouroupa. The Kouroupa mountain range extends from west to east, separating the villages in the Agios Vassilios valley from the coastal settlements and creating a distinct climate. Kouroupa’s boundaries are well-defined, with two long and majestic canyons, Kourtaliotis and Kotsifos, marking its edges. Beyond Kouroupa’s peak, there are several smaller yet equally stunning peaks.

One of the most beautiful and unique peaks is Korakias, located just above Atsipades. The name Korakias means “the place with crows.” From a distance, Korakias appears impressive and peaky, with steep cliffs on each side and only the south side being easily accessible. This imposing, fortress-like location was chosen by the ancient Minoans as a peak sanctuary. Korakias was identified as a peak sanctuary in 1985, and its discovery has been announced in academic journals on several occasions. In 1989, Dr. Alan Peatfield excavated this peak sanctuary on behalf of the British School at Athens, and numerous papers have been published since then. A few artifacts from Korakias can be viewed at the Archaeological Museum in Rethymnon.

Unfortunately, there are no signs explaining the area’s history or providing directions to the site. Korakias can be reached via a rough dirt road starting from Atsipades, but the numerous side-streets can make identifying the peak difficult. However, the view from the peak sanctuary is breathtaking and stretches for several kilometers.

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