Gergeri cave by Zaros central Crete. Caves and sights in Heraklion Crete. Natural sights south Crete Iraklion. Information about the environment and for travellers in Crete
The region of Psiloritis is dotted with many villages: Anogeia, Zoniana, Livadia, Kalyvos, Aghios Mamas, Avdelas, Margarites, Prines, Eleftherna, Vistagi, Fourfouras, Kouroutes, Nithavri, Apodoulou, Platanos, Lochria, Kamares, Vorizia, Zaros, Nyvritos, Gergeri, Aghia Varvara, Asites, Kroussonas, Loutraki, Gonies.
Psiloritis (Idi) is one of the three main mountain ranges of Crete. The highest peak is 2,456m (Timios Stavros). Its southern slopes are very steep. The rocky surface of Psiloritis is dominated by limestone bedrocks, dolomites and silica minerals.
Psiloritis is the "water-collector" of Central Crete, offering water to many springs. The largest springs in the area are the ones of Zaros, Gergeri, Almyros and Bali.
A large part of the landscape is covered by karst formations, such as gorges, dolines and hundreds of caves and sinkholes, including the deepest in Greece (-475). Fossils of dears and skeletons of wild animals (extinct for many decades now in the area) have been found in many sinkholes. Shrubs and "maki" is the dominant vegetation of Psiloritis. Oak shrubs are also found in the region, mainly in the forest of Rouvas, over the village of Gergeri. Pine trees, cypress trees and the Cretan Maple (acer sempervirens) are also common.
Human activity in the area has been continuous since the Neolithic era. Psiloritis features a plethora of archeological sites. The most important are the ancient city of Zomynthos, the cave Ideon Andron Cave and the cave of Kamares.
The wider region of Psiloritis is characterized by a diversity of landscapes, unique bio-diversities and the presence of many endemic species of flora and fauna, many of which are endangered. Mount Idi is considered to be an important biotope for European species of birds. An area of 0.2 hectares over the community of Kamares, in the location of "Manna Nerou", is protected as a Natural Monument since 1985 for the protection of the Cretan orchid (Cephalanthera cucullata).
The forest of Rouvas and the gorge of Zaros have been proposed to be characterized as biogenetic reserves. The cave Ideon Andron and the cave of Kamares are also protected as "Sites of Unique Natural Beauty".