The pulse of Zakros is coordinated with that of nature. Most of its inhabitants, old and young alike, are producers. They follow the cycle of the olive tree, taking care of all its needs, throughout all seasons. Then something magical happens. An inherent joy emerges and the fatigue at the end of the day is sweet and satisfying.
The heart of every village beats at the square. Here, in summer and winter alike, both the young and the elderly, take a break to enjoy their coffee, talk about work and discuss the news of the day. In the evening, they relax with raki and snacks, exchanging views and jokes. All people, locals and visiting friends, become one fellowship.
The Water Festival takes place every year on July 21st next to the spring of Zakros, with traditional Cretan music and Sitian violin. The entrance is free and traditional delicacies, raki and wine are offered, all by producers of Zakros who shall pass their cheerful attitude on to you! There are other big festivals too, like the festival of Ypapanti on February 2nd and the festival of the Transfiguration of the Savior on the 6th of August.
Nowadays, there are 8 Holy Orthodox Churches in the parish of Zakros, Basilica style, dating from the middle and the end of the 19th century. With breathtaking view, or immersed in forest areas, they invite you to explore them. It is worth admiring their architecture and hagiographies, but also learning the amazing little stories they hold.
Preserving and disseminating the history and customs of the area. Enjoying the natural landscape and communicating with friends from all over the world. This is how we spend our time, both us locals and the visitors in our village.
The Natural History Museum is located in Polykentro of Pano Zakros and you can visit it to learn everything about the recent history, the trails, the sights, but also the prehistory of the area. You can examine eroded rocks, find out how, 1.500.000 million years ago, the land rose in relation to the sea level, how the gorges were formed, as well as details about the flora and fauna of the period, through fossils.
The museum was created in 1997 by three watermills of old residents of Zakros that date back to before 1900 and were restored into exhibition spaces, the watermills of Brilakaina, Rodonovangelis and Xopapas. You can understand the use of the spaces, see the respective tools and learn stories on how life in the village used to be.
In the village, you will find traditional sweets based on olive oil, made with skill and passion by the female enterpreneurs of Zakros. Be sure to take with you melomakarona, xerotigana, stafidota and kalitsounia, from the Women's Agricultural Cooperative of Zakros “Melion”.
Zakros has had an active internet radio station since 2013, when it started FM broadcasting. With radio productions by young and old locals alike, and a variety of musical genres, from traditional Cretan to rock and metal music, it broadcasts news, images and the pulse of the area 24/7, keeping in touch with friends all over the world via its active chat.
There is an Educational Cultural Association in the village that implements important community service projects, utilizing the personal work and assistance of supporters and friends. It often organizes cultural activities, such as music events, theatrical performances, chess courses, training days, environmental volunteer activities, and much more. Its initiatives are essential for this land, and the participation of the community, especially of the children, who learn to appreciate the value of teamwork from a tender age, is unique.
Photo: Young members of the Association in action, cleaning the village
Every year, athletes from all over the country and the world cross the paths of Sitia Global Geopark. Competitions of mountain running between the settlements, cross country running in Kato Zakros, hiking in Pano and Kato Zakros, and climbing in the Gorge of the Dead, are organized with the support of the cultural associations of the surrounding settlements, namely Zakros, Ziros, Sitanos and Adravasti. The games are also supported by local bodies and dozens of catering, hospitality, agriculture and food production businesses.
The paths of Pano Zakros are full of small gardens and fertile vineyards. It is worth walking among them on foot or by bike, depending on the ease of the path you choose. The contact with the earth and the sounds of nature, the gentle rustle of the wind, the play with the sunlight, the songs of the birds, the air that smells of thyme and mastic, will fill you with serenity.
For those looking for more action, the residents of Zakros and the Cultural Association have demarcated the “Tour of Zakros”, a path that starts at the entrance of the village and crosses uphill the stream bringing down the waters of the spring of Zakros when it overflows. It ends at the Mesa mill. Even in the months when there is no water, the area is beautiful and full of vegetation. Difficulty index 2-3.
Plan your visit to the Olive Oil Politeia. Experience the life cycle of nature, the tranquility around the olive tree and explore the paths of the village.