Lifelong Learning Programme

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Geographical Areas

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Mountain of Giouchtas
Math, Biology, Physics
The Holy mountain of Giouchtas is the first thing you see once you reach the port of Heraklion. It looks like a leaning male head. Giouchtas is rich in ancient myths and according to legend it is the home of Zeus’ tomb. The ascent is relatively easy and short so it shouldn’t take very long to reach the top. The mountain path starts at Archanes and elevates through pine trees and cypresses, rocks and brush woods.You’ll smell the aroma of oregano, thyme and sage. The view from the top certainly compensates for any slight loss of breath! There is a platform with a 360 degrees view called ‘tetraklitos’ Jesus. With a bit of luck you’ll see the vultures, eagles and falcons that nest here and proudly fly around. Beneath there are vineyards, fields and olive trees that form a colorful mosaic that reaches as far as Heraklion and the sea.After a well deserved rest take the path that leads to the Minoan archaeological site (and to the ruins of the not so old TV station). You will pass through a small botanical garden where all the plants are labelled before reaching the top where there was once an ancient Minoan sanctuary. Wave to Zeus as you make the descent and breathe the fresh, clean air.


The high school of Polykastro in the Center of Enviromental Education of Archanes (CEEA). On Sunday 10 April and on Monday 11 April 2016 we made two visits at CEEA, where we were taught about the fauna and the flora of the region. We also participated in several activities, like the one who is depicted below, where under the instructions of the teachers who work there, every student created a bottle of aromatic olive oil. For this we put into the oil herbs of the region, which enhanced its aromatic properties. The olive oil is one of the very famous products of Crete and it is exported in many countries of the world. The herbs were grown locally and we will introduce some of them in the photos that follow.
The pupils and the teachers of high school of Polykastro on mount Youchtas As part of our visit at CEEA we ascended on mount Youchtas in order to notice and recognise some species of the local fauna and flora. Unfortunately we couldn\'t see any of the animals who live there, but we were capable to recognise and photograph some of the plants. During our ascendance we were accompanied by the teachers who work at CEEA, informing us about the characteristics of the plants we met. Except from the plants we heard from the teachers information about some animals who live there, some of them we will introduce later. We marched in the European nature trail E4 and we stopped for a while at the minoan cemetery, who resides on a small plateau. Afterwards we descended having collected many pictures, some of which will be presented below.
Oregano During our ascendance we met different plants, one of which was oregano, that is very common not only in Crete but also in other parts of Greece. Its cultivation can take place on plains, on mounts or even on high mountains and on different types of soil. The ideal temperature for its growing is between 18-22 0C, but the plants older than one year can survive in extreme temperatures between -25 - 42 0C. Oregano is seeded in autumn or early in the spring and is collected in summer, when the plant has its maximum concentration essence perfumes. Each plant can have economic interest for ten years maximum, with its best output when it is 3-6-year-old. Its essence perfume is used in perfumes and medicines and oregano is also edible and can be used as spice in different foods.
Greek Sage (Salvia Triloba) Sage is a plant that it grows spontaneously and in abundance in the region of Crete. Its leaves are collected just before of just after its blooming, when the weather is dry and sunny and afterwards they are dried in the shadow. The dried leaves can be used as beverage treating pharyngitis and gum disease and they are greatly consumed in Greece during the winter. Sage is also depicted in Minoan frescos at Knossos and it is a plant that was greatly estimated in ancient Greece, where it was used to treat the bites of snakes and insects, to augment women\'s fertility and to repel the evil spirits.
Vineyard Crete is a place where there are many vineyards, which are used to produce wine and a local beverage which is called \" raki \". During our journey we found the time to visit a local winery, which produces biological wine of high quality. Its owner explained us that his aim was to produce a wine without pesticides, which was destined for consumption in different parts of Europe. The cult of vine has a great history in ancient Greece, where the god Dionysus is depicted drinking wine. The cult of Dioysus was common place in many parts of Mediterranean, where he was adored under different names. On our days carnival is a vestige of the celebrations taken place in ancient civilizations, where the wine had a liberated effect on people\'s behavior.
Olive tree The cultivation of the olive tree is very common in Greece and not only in Crete. In Mediterranean basin is produced almost the totality of word\'s output in olive oil and Greece is the third country worldwide, in terms of quantity after Spain and Italy. The olive oil of Crete is considered one of the best in the word in terms of quality and is exported all over the word. Greeks consume great quantities of olive oil every year and the Cretans even more, as it is considered indispensable ingredient of almost all greek foods. The olive tree had a very important place in spiritual culture of ancient Greece. It was considered as a sacred tree and it symbolised the peace. The winners of Olympic games in ancient Greece were crowned with a wreath made of wild olive leaves and a branch cut from a sacred olive tree.
Thyme Thyme is a bush which can reach 30cm in height and is another plant very common in southern Europe and in Mediterranean basin. It is cultivated for its leaves, which can be used as spices after they are dried and they confer on foods an intense slightly caustic taste. Bees are particularly attracted by thyme and the honey they produce is of an excellent quality. Thyme is also used in medicine and perfume industry where its essences are extracted. One of its main components thymol is antiseptic and is currently used in mouthwashes. Thyme can also be used as beverage where its leaves are infused in boiled water and it can treat the cough and some diseases like bronchitis.
Kri-kri Kri-kri is a species of feral wild goat which can be found exclusively in the island of Crete and in three small offshore islands. Its habitat is today the peaks of White Mountain in western Crete and it is the most famous animal of Cretan fauna, because it can be found nowhere else. Today there are about 2000 animals which are under constant threat by poachers, as well as by cross-breeding with common goats. Several paintings of kri-kri were excavated by archeologists and some academics believe that it was worshipped in antiquity. Today is believed that kri-kri is not indigenous of Crete, but probably was imported during the time of Minoan civilization.
Gypaetus Gypaetus is one of the rarest vultures of Europe and in Greece today its population, can be found only on the island of Crete. It is the only creature in the world which is fed almost entirely with bones (70-90%). It leaves the bones from the heights, following them during their fall, making a spiral descent. It repeats this procedure until the bones break into pieces and afterwards it swallows them starting from the marrow. Like all the other vultures it also fed with the flesh of dead animals. Gypaetus is a monogamous species and the male mates with one female during all his life. Today is an endangered species in Greece, where only some couples are surviving in Crete.
Shrew Although in its appearance shrew resembles with a mouse, it is not a rodent but it belongs in the greater family of mammals. Shrews can be found worldwide under different subspecies and that is the case of the island of Crete. It is mainly a land species, which lives on soil between organic residues, but there are also shrews who live in aquatic, or semi-aquatic environments. Its main source of food are worms or invertebrates and some species can also eat plants and dead bodies. Between May and August shrew breeds 2-10 blind babies, which are fed by her milk for 4-5 weeks. Shrews like bats use a positioning system based on ultrasounds, but is not so much developed. The snakes and the birds of prey are their main enemies, but they could also die by the shock provoked by a loud noise or by an intense touch.
Green lizard (Lacerta trilineata) Green Lizard which is known in Greece with the name \"kolisaura\", is the greatest lizard that leaves in Crete. Its length without its tail can reach 16cm and it has an intense green color as it is depicted in photo. It is totally harmless although its menacing appearance and in general there aren\'t venomous reptiles in Crete. It is fed mainly with invertebrates and with smaller reptiles, it hunts at day and it lives mainly on ground. The females breed 6-20 eggs at the end of the spring or on the beginning of the summer and they are hatched after one month.