The Samaria Gorge accessible to the disabled in 2023 - 3 December, 2020
Today, Thursday, December 3, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Chania announced the program agreement between the Region of Crete and the Directorate of Forests of Chania - Decentralized Administration of Crete for the implementation of the necessary interventions in the Samaria Gorge from Agia Roumeli until after the Doors (narrowest point of the gorge) to be accessible to the disabled in a wheelchair.
The interventions that are planned concern both the section within the Samaria Gorge, in a length of about 2 km, as well as the whole accessibility chain from the port of Agia Roumeli to the entrance of the Gorge and beyond, from Chora Sfakion, Sougia and Paleochora to Agia Roumeli.
In total, they will be financed from the European and national resources of the Region of Crete, while a complete digital, internet application will be created so that there is a complete recording, representation and information on the existing, real state of the accessibility infrastructure that will be implemented so that each interested visitor can have full knowledge of the situation they will encounter in the field. All the projects in order for the Gorge to be accessible to the disabled in a wheelchair are estimated to be completed and operational by the summer of 2023.
At the same time, wider interventions are underway in Agia Roumeli for its overall promotion as a gateway to the Samaria Gorge. Specifically, through a Program Contract between the Region of Crete, the Technical University of Crete, the Municipality of Sfakia and the Ministry of Culture, the necessary studies are completed for the restoration and promotion of the most important standing monuments, ie the Ottoman tower (Koule) that dominates at an altitude of 270m. west of the settlement, the church of Panagia at the northern end of the new settlement and the two newer bridges adjacent to the riverbed. The group of monuments of Agia Roumeli that is under study includes the church of Agios Pavlos on the homonymous beach to the east, a reference point on the uphill route to Agios Giannis, while the upgrade of the "Museum of Man and Stone" is also planned, which is housed in the old primary school of Agia Roumeli.
It is reminded that already included in the Integrated Spatial Investment of the Region of Crete for the UNESCO Areas, is the project for the protection and promotion of the Byzantine / post-Byzantine churches of the Samaria Gorge (Agios Nikolaos, Agios Georgios, Metamorphosis Sotiros, Osia Maria from Egypt, Master Christ) while the integrated network of hiking routes in the Municipality of Sfakia follows. Finally, through the NSRF of the Region of Crete, the Integrated Landscape Management of the Samaria National Park is implemented by the White Mountains Management Agency.
The Governor of Crete, Stavros Arnaoutakis, stated in this regard: "Today we announce a program agreement for an accessibility project that concerns our fellow human beings who face special difficulties, whose needs are at the heart of our strategic planning. This intervention will make the Samaria Gorge - a symbol of Crete - accessible for the disabled in a wheelchair by 2023. On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we believe that tackling the social exclusion of vulnerable groups is not just an obligation, but an immediate priority at local, national and European level. For the Region of Crete, the improvement of the quality of life of the disabled is our basic choice".
The gorge of Samaria
The Samaria Gorge, a National Park since 1962, is recognized internationally for its uniqueness by the Council of Europe, UNESCO and the European Union. A year ago, in the context of the ten-year evaluation for the European Diploma of Protected Areas, the Council of Europe recommended to the Gorge-administered bodies that appropriate measures be taken to facilitate access to the national park for people with disabilities up to 2.5 km from the southern entrance of the National Park.
The Regional Governor of Crete thanked the Institutions that cooperate for the implementation of this important and emblematic intervention for the access of the disabled to the Gorge (Directorate of Forests of Chania-Decentralized Administration of Crete, White Mountains Management Agency, Technical University of Crete).
Finally, it should be noted that during the meeting it was emphasized that a relevant recommendation of the Council of Europe had preceded, which was identified with the planning at local level and has activated appropriate financial tools directing significant resources to the protected areas of Crete. In a more comprehensive context, interventions are being prepared for the monuments of Agia Roumeli and the tour routes of Sfakia in order to highlight Agia Roumeli as a gateway to the unique wider environment of Samaria.
From: https://flashnews.gr/post/445342/parado ... i-samarias