Axos

Axos is a traditional mountain village in the prefecture of Rethymno, located approximately 46 km southeast of Rethymno and belongs to the municipality of Mylopotamos. The settlement, which is built on a slope, north of Psiloritis, at an altitude of 510 meters and has approximately 250 residents, has been a tourist destination since the 1960s due to its historical and archaeological importance. The Ancient Axos (or Oaxos) was one of the 100 city-states of ancient Crete that flourished from the Late-Minoan and Geometric periods till the Roman times. It was prosperous even during the Byzantine period, when it was the Episcopal see.

According to a local tradition, Axos was destroyed by the Venetians and its residents moved few kilometers to the east and founded the village of Anogeia or Xigkanogeia.

Because of the altitude and the springs of Mylopotamos that flow down from the mountain, almost all the kinds of herbs and flowers of the rich Cretan flora thrive in the area of Axos. A big valley spreads below the village and between the Psiloritis and the mountains of Talaia full of gardens, olive groves, vineyards, vegetable gardens and many trees, such as orange trees, tangerines, walnut trees, cherry trees, morus (mulberry) trees, plum trees, pear trees, apple trees, pomegranate trees, fig trees, carobs, plane trees and kermes oak trees.

Apart from the marvelous natural scenery and the great history of Axos, visitors will also find here more than 10 springs with fresh water, full-flowing throughout the year, with the most imposing of all, the one that stands in the central square of the village. Warm water spouts from three lions’ marble mouths in winter and cool water – in summer. The fountain and the shade of the large plane tree is a magnet for every villager, especially after a walk on the quaint cobbled alleys of the village.

There are more than 40 churches in the village and the surrounding area. The church of Agios Athanasios Patelaros at Axikos offers the visitors an outstanding view. The other churches are: Meteoro with the temple of Peter and Paul, Agia Paraskevi (14th century), Agia Eirini (14th century), Agios Ioannis (14th century with rear frescoes), Agios Georgios (14th century), Holy Cross (16th century with an outstanding iconostasis), Michail Archangel (14th century), Panagia Kavousiani (14th century), a new built church of Agios Athanasios and many more.

Residents in Axos are engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry, petty trade and in recent years in tourism. A kindergarten and an elementary school operate in the village and there also are a bakery, abutcher shop, mini markets, shops, restaurants and cafes. For visitors’ accommodation there are hotels and rooms-to-let with an emphasis on rural tourism. The activity of the Cultural Association of Axos – “Livadas” is also remarkable.

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