Tou Draco Oporos
(The Dragon's Portal)
These are across the valley from the Alpha Hotel, you can see them on the map marked as Koukoutsakis Shepherds caves. These were used by Eftihis Koukoutsakis, the grandfather of the current Eftihis (Lucky) during the Second World War to hide New Zealand soldiers on the run from the Germans. They are also the original living place of the ancestors of the Koukoutsakis family who came to the village 300 years ago.
Before this time there had been a battle there between the Turks and the Christians. It was claimed by one group of people who came to the Alpha Hotel on some sort of spiritual retreat/holiday that, after going into a trance, they heard and saw part of the battle. At least 7 Christians and some children were killed on the night of the battle; we don’t know how many Turks died.
As you turn off the main road going towards the carved caves there is a very flat area with some piles of stone. During Minoan times this was a place of sacrifice to their gods. The snake was worshipped there. There was a woman in the 1990’s who wanted to build a monastery there but it failed; it seems nothing can be built there; it always fails. It is also a place known as Viglistra; the shepherds would sit there and use it as a vantage point to view the village and look out for Policemen, Turks, Germans - Viglistra means a place to watch in Cretan.
If you go up the road past the turn off to the Carved Caves, above the road is the old path to Asphendiles. This path has a hole like a long cave, this was known as Tou Draco Oporos, the Dragons Portal.
It is said that the dragon would come out of the hole and eat children or weak people of the area. It used to be said that if you played music nicely enough outside the cave, the dragon would come out and obey your orders. 20 metres away from this is Dragon’s Water, a spring that no longer runs. However you can still see the water at the back of the road. It’s said that’s where the dragon came to drink water and attack animals in the area. Nobody knows what the dragon really was; it could have been a big snake, a real dragon or some kind of crocodile brought here by the Turks to terrify people.