Revisited: Pashley’s (1837) route from Askifou to Anopoli About Sfakia and Crete's rich history. Ancient maps, monuments, paintings, archaeological finds, old photos, archives, and history books and articles.

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Revisited: Pashley’s (1837) route from Askifou to Anopoli

by mike » 25 Oct 2016, 11:39

Back in 2013 I was puzzling over the route that Pashley took between Askifou and Anopoli.,92

The conclusion of my provisional speculations were summarized in the following picture:

In short, his route from Askifou to the place marked with an ‘X’ was easy to figure out. However, from ‘X’ to Anopoli (Riza, to be precise) was not so obvious. The one route that I was familiar with, marked on the map, did not fit his own description:

From this point [i.e., point ‘X’] we continually descend along the side of the mountains, by a very bad road, towards the plain of Anopolis, and we reach its northern edge at half-past one.

I returned to the area a few weeks ago to resolve the problem. This GoogleEarth image gives the places where I took some photos to explain the situation:

Photo 1386, taken close to path down to Timos Stavros, is aimed NW. I identify the road with green arrows, and ‘X’ is same as above. From this distance, and at this time of morning (sun angle) there is nothing to see other than a rocky slope:

I took two zoomed photos taken from same location. Photo 1386a has green arrows picking out walls moving up the side of the mountain:

Photo 1386b, more to the left (west) has more walls marked. Also, notice the impressive fault scarp (the smooth rock face):

Back to Google Earth where I include the track starting at the fault scarp:

Photo 1401 looks up along the track. A bit of the retaining wall can be seen at the upper left, passing through the fault scarp:

Photo 1404 is taken above the fault line, looking back to where photo 1401 was taken:

It is obvious that the track does not exist anymore. Only some of the walls, at some times of the day, are visible.

There is a vague hint of a route branch at photo location 1401. I followed the way down to the left (east), past an old ruined structure at 1410:

This route eventually wraps around the hillside and emerges at the structure/enclosure at 1385 (‘modern’ concrete roof):

OK, we now have Pashley following a kalderimi which gets him south of the depression down to Timos Stavros. He says that he traversed the mountain on a very poor ‘road’ (i.e., trail).

So, Pashley’s route probably followed, more or less, the current location of the road down to the Anopoli plateau. It is usual for routes that are not over steep rocky sections to be nothing more than footpaths (e.g., some of the high mountain routes, as an example; or other routes through mid-level forest). Even if not covered up by the modern road, such route locations deteriorate rapidly and no longer exist in a usable condition.

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Re: Revisited: Pashley’s (1837) route from Askifou to Anopoli

by Peter » 26 Oct 2016, 11:32

Great detective work - thank you very much!


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Re: Revisited: Pashley’s (1837) route from Askifou to Anopoli

by simon-1978 » 27 Oct 2016, 05:54

Hello Mike,
thank you for the comprehensive survey. I have walked the old kalderimi - starting from Mariana, crossing the Ilingas road and then ascending towards Thesparta cistern, then further continuing to the Roussies road, meeting it close to the Mouri crossroads - last May. The upper section (which can be seen on your photographs) is walkable and clear. A bit further below, close to the crossroads for the Timios Stavros chapel and in the area of Thesparta cistern, it is really unclear/eroded.
Best wishes

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Joined: 19 Nov 2015, 13:28

Re: Revisited: Pashley’s (1837) route from Askifou to Anopoli

by mike » 27 Oct 2016, 09:02

Thanks for the comments.

What I find interesting about this section of the kalderimi is that it implies a lot of traffic to justify its construction. I mean “a lot” only relative to other tracks and trails that one finds everywhere. Anyway, this may well be the remnant of a major connecting route with Askifou.

Simon, I followed the path only up to the fault line. My main purpose had been to find any route at all. Having accomplished that much, I only assumed that the section above the fault would be as bad/nonexistent as the section below the fault, and so did not check further. But, thinking about it, the upper part would have a better chance of surviving, because it is over a relatively more protected section of bedrock.

There are two main reasons for why a clear path below this point is either not obvious or destroyed. The first reason is that the lower section (below fault line) is over open rocky/gravely hillside, which is much more vulnerable to destruction by gravity and wandering animals. Trails on exposed slopes would require constant care.

The second reason is that the kalderimi at this point enters an area which has been extensively worked for various purposes. In these circumstances an incoming trail tends to split off into branches, each branch heading to a different work area. (For example, the Sfakia-Mouri route splinters in this way when it gets to the intermediate terraces). Here is an overview:

B1 is a structure that may be Roman era, judging by pottery.
B2 is a relatively more recent structure, e.g., up to Turkish period.
B3 I haven’t had a close look at. However, at the kalderimi branch point at 1401 there seems to be a path that heads for B3.

The Big Wall is almost 2 meters high in places. Below this wall to the east are a number of terrace walls wrapping around the hillside. Paths generally follow terraces/terrace walls if such exist - a tip for explorers if you want to find things. The path that the sheep now follow comes down from 1401 and finishes at the hut at 1385. In other words, once off the main kalderimi into this area, there was/is more than one way to go. Most were probably opportunistic/functional, heading to specific spots important for the people at the time.

Since there are many directions to head in, the precise route that Pashley might have followed is a matter of discussion. If we take his word that he traversed the mountainside, then we could assume he was heading towards the wells at Tria Pigadia, marked C3 on this overview:

There are some other buildings, walls, and a couple of fields scattered along this route, which makes it a logical direction for human traffic.

Incidentally, I have marked two other cisterns at C1 and C2. Are these the two that you have given names to (Mariana and Thesparta)?

The only remaining problem for me is that, even heading to C3, the natural lay of the land, and the land usage, is all to the east towards the Illingas gorge rim. Here is a photo of the road down from C3 (Tria Pigadia) to Limnia and Anopoli plateau:

The grade is steep, although not necessarily technically difficult. If Pashley’s path down to Anopoli did enter this way, I can understand why he reported it to be in poor condition. It’s not a healthy location for a path, and doesn’t logically fit working the fields/enclosures east of here.

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