Zoniana

The Zoniana is a mountain village in the prefecture of Rethymno, located approximately 50 km southeast of the city of Rethymno.

Built at an altitude of 640 meters on the foothills of Psiloritis, hidden by scattered olive groves, the Zoniana spreads on the slopes of the famous mountain. The village has few unexploited pieces of land, with an ultimate coexistence of people and sheep.

The village’s name derives from the local phrase “Zone Thee“, which means “listen to me, my God”. The history of Zoniana, though, gets lost back in the centuries, since its establishment is associated with the birth of the God Zeus and identified with the history of Ancient Axos.

The rebellious spirit of the villagers contributed to the liberation struggles against the Turks and during the subsequent wars. The inhabitants of Zoniana boast even until today that their village has never been conquered.

In Zoniana area the wild mountain villagers are in a peculiar feud with the state, yet the place has always been welcoming and has a tradition, which you probably must have lived first in order to understand its people.

Also, in the recent years the Zoniana has known one of the highest demographic explosions all over Greece and it is significant that most of the young people of the village still live there. On the main streets of the village the women’s presence is rear and there are no cafeterias.

The first tourist group arrived to Zoniana not long before, in order to visit the cave Sfentoni located at the entrance of the village, with rich stalactite and stalagmite decoration. On the other hand, the Zoniana Wax Museum, with 87 scenes and important figures from the history of Crete shaped in wax, has been operating here for many years.

Characteristic of this area are the events of “Sfentonia” with theatrical performances and festivals with local lyrists of Zoniana as well as the Shepherd and Cheese Festival, organized by the Cultural Association.

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