Myrtia (Varvaroi), a village… a Museum
”My father’s stock derived from a village called Barbári, two hours from Megalo Kastro”.
Report to Greco, ΝΚ
A stroll around the beautiful village of Myrtia (Varvaroi), where Kazantzakis’ father was born, is highly recommended. Its narrow streets are full of flowers and, combined with the smells and colours of the hilly landscape, they offer visitors a perfect glimpse of Cretan tradition and culture. You can search for the figure of Nikos Kazantzakis on murals scattered in the village streets, from the well-known, flowery alley on Alexis Zorbas street to Anemogiannis Park, and from the traditional byzantine churches to the village square. Have a walk in the village and follow the steps this great Cretan writer he would take to visit his friends and family!
Combine your visit to the Museum with other beautiful destinations near... Kazantzakis.
Α. A ride through the hilly hinterland of Heraklio to discover the scents and tastes of Crete (Winery − Kazantzakis Museum – Archanes)
In a region where some of the most traditional vineyards of Crete are located, you must make your first stop at one of the wineries that are open to visitors. During yourvisit, you will be able to see how wine is made and have a walk around the premises while tasting traditional wine varieties. (Visit duration: around 60 minutes)
For more details about the region’s wineries, visit http://www.winesofcrete.gr/
After that, visit the Museum of Nikos Kazantzakis in Myrtia, the village where the writer’s father was born. Discover unknown facts about Kazantzakis’ life, travels and work through manuscripts, rich photographic material, letters and personal objects. Your experience at the Museum is enhanced by a twenty-minute audio-visual presentation which is available in eleven languages: Greek, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, and Spanish. After your visit, you can stop at the cafe, the shop or the children’s corner that are hosted next to the Museum. (Visit duration: around 60 minutes)
Visit Archanes and have a walk in one of the most traditional villages of Heraklio. Enjoy lunch, a stroll and a good rest in this village of stone houses and paved streets. It is also worth visiting the Archaeological Museum of Archanes and/or the Minoan Cemetery of Fourni in Kato Archanes.
Β. A walk for nature and culture lovers (Hiking − Kazantzakis Museum − Traditional tavern)
Go hiking in a gorge of unique natural beauty and rare plant and bird species. A hike along the gorge of Kounavoi starts from Aitania –just out of Skalani– where you can get off the bus and follow a path of dense vegetation, caves and streams. The path leads to Myrtia and the Museum of Kazantzakis.
(Duration: around 120 minutes)
*Degree of difficulty: 1, altitude: 305 m. This hiking route is suitable for people of all ages and a good level of fitness.
Hikers can take a break and enjoy a soft drink or snack before their visit to the Museum. Then, they can explore the Museum’s premises and discover the work of the most important Modern Greek writer through manuscripts, rich photographic material, letters and personal objects. Their experience at the Museum is enhanced by a twenty-minute audio-visual presentation which is available in eleven languages: Greek, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, and Spanish.
(Visit duration: around 60 minutes)
Hikers can continue walking through the beautiful streets of Myrtia and stop at one of the village’s taverns to enjoy a traditional meal.
C. Tracing the spiritual, religious and gastronomic traditions of Crete (Kazantzakis Museum − Agarathos Monastery – Astritsi)
Take a wonderful ride through the hilly hinterland of Heraklio and make your first stop at the Museum of Kazantzakis. The biographical museum that is dedicated to this great Modern Greek writer is located on the main square of the village. Manuscripts, rich photographic material, letters and personal objects will help you discover unknown facts about Kazantzakis’ life, travels and work. Your experience at the Museum is enhanced by a twenty-minute audio-visual presentation which is available in eleven languages: Greek, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, and Spanish.
Very close to Myrtia, you can find the Monastery of Agarathos, one of the oldest and most important monasteries of Crete. Enjoy the view over the Cretan landscape, get to know the genuine religious traditions of the island and see the architecture of a monastery with a history and relics that date back 500 years.
Astritsi − Kato Vrysi
The traditional village of Astritsi is your final destination for a meal and a nice rest close to nature. A, unique tavern, the “Cafe of Kato Vrysi”, is located at the beginning of a leafy gorge. It is run by the Cultural Association and offers local traditional delights. Thanks to its great location near nature and the quality of its products, this tavern will please even the most demanding visitor.
The above itineraries are indicative destination suggestions in the Municipality of Archanes-Asterousia which can be combined with a visit to the Museum of Kazantzakis in Myrtia.
Additionally, explore Myrtia in this wonderful video by the local photographer Manolis Papadakis.