Crete is the land of rebels. Conquerors have been trying to capture the island for millennia. Yet, always Cretans stood up to them until they found their death or their freedom.
“Asi” means rebel. “Gonia” means corner. This little village, deep in the countryside of Western Crete (Chania Prefecture) was home to many leaders and center of the revolution against the Turkish Domination. Pavlos Gyparis and Georgios Psichountakis were the most legendary ones. Its strategic position (585 meters altitude) at the edge of the White Mountains made Asi Gonia hard to reach. The only way in is through the nearby gorge which could be easily warded. It was “rebels’ little corner”. Today, it counts no more than 500 residents, most of which earn their living by breeding cattle. An ancient occupation on this island inextricably linked with the art of making cheese. Some of the finest Cretan cheeses are produced In Asi Gonia. There are also three small cheese factories in the area which are worth visiting. Make sure that you have a taste of the local graviera and dry mizithra and perhaps take some with you. At the center of the village there is a historic and beloved church, Agios Georgios. Locals call him the Milk Carrier. Every year, on the 23rd of April, local farmers and shepherds bring their cattle to the church, milk them and give away the milk to all who attend. The priests bless the sheep for their milk. It is a famous local event and one of the most authentic ones in Crete. There are also a few excellent tavernas in the village.
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