Archaia Eleftherna mtb
Ancient Eleftherna, also called Apollonia, established in the 9th century BCE by the Dorians. it is located on a narrow, steep, naturally fortified ridge on the roots of Psiloritis. The city was a natural crossroad between Cydonia and Knossos, the port of Panormos and the great sanctuary cave, Idaion Andron. Birthplace of philosopher Diogenis. The city was habituated from the Geometric to the Byzantine period. The recent excavation revealed a wealth of important findings. More than 3,000 gold leaf and the first display of the bee as a goddess.
Panormo - Ageliana - Eleftherna - Kallergos
This ride is magnificent. It crosses two verdurous green gorges, full of trees, herbs and wild flowers. Highly recommended, it is one of the mtb highlights in the region. It crosses sections of the European E4 trail network. Single track sections, technical rocky terrain and fast, challenging descents. Riding in the shady green gorges this ride is cool! We have several optional sections to make this ride more or less technical, choosing between singletrails for advanced riders or smoother, farmer double tracks. We may visit the ancient sites and the recently opened Museum of Ancient Eleftherna, revealing history of 3500 years old..
Ancient Eleftherna: a place of eternal beauty
Crete is abundant in places that combine natural beauty with great historical value. The area of Eleftherna in Mylopotamos, Rethymnon, is one of these places. A place where history meets unspoiled nature and modern civilization meets the relics of a prestigious past.
Ancient Eleftherna is located on a hill on the northwest foot of mount Psiloritis, at 380 meters above sea level. It was one of the most powerful ancient cities of Crete, enclosed within a fortification wall, parts of which still survive today. Although the place was uninterruptedly inhabited from 2.000 BC until the 14th century AD, the Golden Age of Eleftherna was between 900 BC and the beginning of 5th century BC. This also happens to be the era that has been identified as the “dawn” of the Ancient Greek civilization, the era of Homer.
As you wander around the archaeological site of Eleftherna you’ll get the feeling that you’re literally crossing the layers of history. Some relics date back to the Geometric years, while others come from the Hellenistic times and the Roman period. You’ll be impressed by the enormous reservoirs carved in the stone, you’ll admire the remnants of houses, public baths, sanctuaries, villas, workshops of craftsmen etc. And then you’ll stand in awe at the sight of the necropolis of “Orthi Petra” where brave warriors were buried along with their precious ornaments.
All this fascinating flow of history is now hosted in a brand new museum, the Museum of Ancient Eleftherna which is inaugurated on June 19th 2016. It consists of 3 rooms that narrate the details of 3.500 years of history. The precious exhibits found at the site of Eleftherna are combined with digital installations and video screenings with references to Homer and Herodotus.
After this breathtaking time-travel, you get to explore the beautiful nature of Eleftherna and its surroundings: Green valleys and ravines covered with cypress and olive trees, old churches, picturesque villages, and a range of small gorges create a unique landscape. After all, this area is crossed by the E4 European path, which connects Eleftherna with the historic Monastery of Arkadi and Margarites, a village which is famous for its centuries old pottery tradition.
JoyRide.bike will take you through the highlights of the region, but will also show you the hidden trails and gems of this diverse terrain, for a totally original cycling experience!