вторник, 19 сентября 2017 г.

Cretan Honey

CUISINE

Cretan honey

Cretan honey is considered to be one of the best in the world. First of all, this is due to the special climatic conditions, which maximally contribute to the rapid development of the honey plants. It is very fragrant, has colors from dark golden to light golden yellow. A special aroma of Cretan honey is due to medical plants and aromatic herbs growing abundantly on the island, which is known to be one of the European regions with richest endemic plants. 
For millenniums, Crete has a special kind of honey bee, famous for its excellent qualities of honey. This bee is small in size, painted bronze-gold with light yellow stripes, resistant to diseases and very aggressive. Many writers of antiquity report about it because the supreme god Zeus was nourished by her honey, according to a beautiful myth. On Crete, a beautiful gold decoration representing two bees is among the most fascinating archeological finds. It is found during excavations of the Minoan palace 2 km east of the tourist center of Malia. This famous gold decoration became the symbol of Malia. It dates from around 1550 BC: two bees carry a drop of honey. The original one is now kept in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.  

In addition, there are ideograms of honey depicted on ancient Greek writing tablets, and Greeks use today the same word for honey – μέλι. This word has been spoken for 3,500 years; for bee, the Greek word is “melissa”: an insect that produces honey, but in myths, there is Melissa, a daughter of the Cretan king Melissus. The names themselves indicate the great tradition of Cretan beekeeping.                        
Crete is rich in self-seeding plants, such as thyme, sage, bramble bush, oregano, pine, acacia, and arbutus as well as in, of course, cultivated citrus trees. Cretan honey is processed by natural methods without exposure to high temperatures, which destroy vitamins. According to official data, there are more than 2 thousand beekeepers on Crete, and it ranks fourth at the national level in terms of honey production.     

Previously, hives were always placed in the same place. Today, beekeepers carry hives from one area to another, depending on the flowers growing there. In the early spring, hives are installed in orange groves, usually at a low altitude, so that bees can collect nectar from blossoming orange trees, and then beehives are raised to mountain areas – there aromatic grasses bloom, especially thyme, which gives the Cretan honey a special taste.
The Cretan honey is super, especially a mountainous one from the coniferous forests. “Pine honey”? The fact is that the pines are blooming without nectar and do not need bees for pollination. Where does the “pine honey” come from? It is from honeydew, from sweet secretions of specific insects living under the bark on the branches and sucking the arboreal juice. This honeydew is collected by bees. Such a honey is usually called “honeydew honey”, “forest”, “coniferous” or “pine”. Unfortunately, these scale insects (Marchalina hellenica) are not symbiotic but parasite ones that infect a tree and sometimes lead to the death of it.              
According to Wikipedia, up to 60% of honey is produced in Greece from honeydew. In comparison to the flower one, this honey has its pros and cons, but, undoubtedly, it is useful, tasty, and crystallizes much more slowly than the flower honey. However, the sellers of it try not to attract the attention of customers to the true origin of this honey. They call it collected by bees “from the pollen of conifers”, “from the juice of the Cretan pine”, and etc. The real problem lays elsewhere: trying to increase the production of honeydew honey, beekeepers deliberately have infected large areas of healthy trees in forests with scale insects.         
It is believed that on Crete, the most common honey is a thyme one. Cretans use a lot of honey: daily consume is up to 150 g. per capita. They tray not to use the sugar themselves and do not give it to the children. 
Honey is an easily digestible food. In addition to glucose and fructose, it contains more than 180 very useful for balancing metabolism substances, such as vitamins, amino acids and enzymes. Antioxidants, such as vitamin E, help the body get rid of harmful substances and toxins as well as of consequences of bad habits like smoking or exposures to radiation. In small quantities, contained in the Cretan honey such sugars as glucose and fructose are allowed even for people with diabetes!          
Honey is the second after olive oil what you need to buy on the island from food products. Incidentally, it is worth, costs circa 5-8 Euros per 1 liter. Honey can always be bought on Laika Agora (i.e. in urban markets). In general, there are in each village, settlement or monastery its own honey and oil. It is noticed that the honey is better with the higher altitude in the mountains, and oil with the farther from coast.     

Honey in a traditional Cretan diet 
Cheese or cottage cheese with honey was the most favored dessert of the population of livestock areas. A variety of pies with honey and syrniki are amazingly tasty. A delicious treat was walnuts with honey given to the bride and groom in the church during the wedding. Honey has a symbolic meaning of a sweet marriage: it is believed that it positively affects the sexual sphere. 
They drank traditional brews with honey and spread it on bread. In the western regions of Crete, even meat was eaten with honey.         

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среда, 13 сентября 2017 г.

For relaxation and rest, only Saint Pelagia is the best

For relaxation and rest, only Saint Pelagia is the best 

Agia Pelagia is a small seaside tourist town located on the northern coast of Crete: about 12 mi from the city of Heraklion. It gives an easy access to the international airport - 20 minutes from the resort town.  
A quiet fishing village, until recently, has now become a modern tourist resort with a developed infrastructure, one of the most popular and demanded in the Heraklion area. The local population here is only about a thousand people, but most of the year Agia Pelagia is very crowded due to the incoming tourists.     
Almost 4 decades ago Capsis company has seen a potential in extraordinary beauty of this place, and today the Capsis Beach Hotel is one of the largest, and most luxurious hotels on Crete. Its territory occupies the whole western side of the local bay. Of course, there are now many other hotels, villas and apartments where you can relax with comfort.
When choosing a hotel or villa, one must take into account the peculiarity of the local landscape. Agia Pelagia has been built in the in form of an amphitheater, and the further the shelter is from the shore the higher it will be above the sea level. Therefore, the high located hotels will be more suitable for tourists who like to go for a walk or to the owners of rented cars. If you are not a hiker, then look for an accommodation near the beach. However, then you can not enjoy the beautiful view from above.       
Agia Pelagia received its name from the medieval monastery of St. Pelagia, which was a metochion of the famous at the time of the Venetians power in Crete monastery of Savvathianon located south of the village of Agia Pelagia, on the road leading from the village of Rodia. Unfortunately, only a church of the 12th century remained from the monastery of St. Pelagia.   
It’s supposed that even earlier here was located the ancient town of Apollonia destroyed by Cydonia in 171 BC. A little to the north of the bay of Agia Pelagia, in the town of Kladissos, there were interesting archeological finds: in the rocks carved dome-shaped tombs of the Late Minoan period, dating from 4th century BC, as well as a ceramic workshop and dwellings built at different times, beginning from the Middle-Minoan until the Roman period. But, despite the rich history of the previously located at this place town, the settlement of Agia Pelagia appeared here not so long time ago – only in 1965, when unremarkable lands began to be bough from local residents at a very low prices; and then no one could guess what popularity the settlement will find decades later. Now there are there supermarkets, various other shops, restaurants, cafés and taverns, pharmacies, rental offices of any type of transport, sightseeing companies, etc. For lovers of Greek cuisine, there is a large selection of taverns stretched along the entire central beach. If you consider yourself to be a gourmet, we advise you to visit the restaurant “Alati”: it means salt in Greek. Here you can taste refined Greek cuisine with stress on modernity.
The beach season lasts from April to November, which is very convenient when planning vacation although one needs to book a hotel or villa in advance. In the spring-summer time the average temperature is about 27º. The hottest months are July and August, in the remaining months the weather is perfect for those who do not like exhausting heat, appreciate pleasant temperatures and water as smooth as silk.      
The main advantage of the resort of Agia Pelagia is the protection of the bay from winds: due to its location, the sea always remains here relatively calm even during the coming from north tempest. A wonderful beach allows adults traveling with little children to relax here.                      
The main sandy beach of the resort is extended but rather narrow, and water seems here green. The Turks called the Gulf of Agia Pelagia Çanak limanı. The port reminded them of a pot: “çanak” in Turkish. The beach offers many opportunities for water sports, scuba diving, there are also umbrellas. Many good taverns as well as various little restaurants and bars are facing the beach.
In the northern part of the beach, there is a cave called Evrisi (Revelation) with a small icon being to remind of another icon of St. Pelagia reveled there some centuries ago. Therefore it has been built here the well known on the island monastery of Agia Pelagia. Thousands of believers came to the beach on the Day of the Saint, removed all their clothing and buried themselves in the sand to cure their diseases.

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воскресенье, 1 января 2017 г.

Крит, Греция, пятая причина для посещения острова

Пятая причина, чтобы посетить остров Крит. 
⭐5. Найдите пляж на Крите по душе 
🔸Если открывать филиал рая на Земле, то на пляже Элафониси с лазурным морем и нежно-розовым песком вдоль линии прибоя. В некоторых местах воды по колено или даже по щиколотку — прогревается она быстро, поэтому можно весь день нежиться в горячей ванне под синим небом. 
🔸Если хотите романтики, отправляйтесь на дикий, но невероятно красивый пляж Стефану в бухте Шайтан Лимани, или же Чертова гавань, спрятанный в узкой живописной бухте на востоке полуострова Акротири. Добраться сюда непросто, но купание в бирюзовом море с видом на отвесные скалы стоит экстремального спуска по валунам. 
🔸Если ищете идеальное место для виндсерфинга на Крите, это пляж Куременос в Ласитионе, где всегда дует ветер. А с детьми лучше всего отдыхать на семейном пляже Агия Марина в Заливе Ханьи Эгейского моря или в поселке Макри-Ялос у берегов Ливийского моря. 
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