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Lake Kournas

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Lake Kournas is the only natural fresh water...

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Lake Kournas

Posted on May 17, 2017 by Administrator

Lake Kournas

Lake Kournas is the only natural fresh water lake on Crete. Located a few km inland from Georgioupoli, the lake is a popular tourist destination nestled at the foot of Daphnemadara, the “Mountain of Daphne”. The lake used to be called Lake Korisia after the ancient city of Korion, reputed to have been a centre of worship of the Goddess Athena .

The lake and the surrounding land are a nature reserve and home to many water birds, fish, birds of prey, snakes and the diamond backed terrapin, a rare fresh water terrapin which appears nowhere else in Europe but in the lake.

The lake offers many opportunities for a wide variety of visitors with different interests. In early spring the area around the lake offers a phenomenal variety of flowering wild plants and an incredible array of insects. By late spring one finds many different birds on and around the lake, and the diamond backed terrapin also starts making a regular appearance while the edge of the lake becomes a fertile hunting ground for many different dragonflies. During the summer the lake becomes a very popular tourist resort, while from mid-autumn onwards nature takes over again.

The origins of the lake are shrouded in the mists of a long forgotten past and are subject to a few local myths. The most popular of these myths tells us that in the times before the lake was created, there was a wealthy village on the plain, which was known for a particular young female, the daughter of the local shepherd, who was of so beautiful that her appearance was the subject of many conversations between the men folk of villages far and wide.

The girl herself was unaware of the furore her appearance caused, and worked with her father herding the sheep. One day, after a hard days’ work, she and her father took a rest by the well at the Northern end of the plain. It was a hot, dusty summer day and the girl decided to wash herself in the spring, while her father stood guard. The father had been drinking secretly during the day and by the time they reached the spring his senses had left him.

Seeing the full beauty of his naked daughter reflected in the spring made him lose his mind completely and he attempted the unspeakable with the girl. The daughter, in sheer panic, begged the gods of the mountains the help her escape from her maddened father, and hearing her prayers, the Gods interfered and ordered Daphne, the water nymph in charge of the springs and streams in the surrounding mountains to create a flood which came rushing down the mountain and flooded the plain completely, destroying the village and drowning every soul in it, including the girl and her father.

It is said that to this day, on moonlit nights, the reflection of the girl can still be seen hovering over the water singing a sad song of betrayal while brushing her long, beautiful hair.


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