The beach of Karteros – “Akti” belongs to the Municipality of Heraklion and is named after the little river Karteros, which flows to the west of the beach, forming a small pond – a very important wetland with plenty of flora and fauna. Unfortunately, the particular wetland due to the intense and uncontrolled anthropogenic interventions has been seriously degraded.
BEACH PHOTO GALLERY
The Municipality of Heraklion is located on the northern coast of the prefecture of Heraklion and is the largest Municipality of Crete and one of the largest cities in Greece. Since 2010 and after the implementation of the Kallikratis program, the new Municipality of Heraklion now includes the municipalities / former municipalities of Heraklion, Paliani, Temenos, Nea Alikarnassos and Gorgolaini. The area of the new Municipality is 245.12 sq. Km. and the population of 173,450 residents, according to the latest census of 2011.
The municipality of Heraklion is one of the most famous travel destinations of both Crete and Greek territory. It is well-known both for the archaeological site of Knossos (it accepts millions of tourists a year) as well as for high-quality hotel facilities, conference facilities, but also for natural beauties throughout the municipality.
The beach of Karteros – Akti has a wide coastline with fine sand and shallow waters that smooth out, making it ideal for children and families. However due to the northern winds that blow in the area it have very often waves. Along the entire beach there are various restaurants and entertainment places, while the part that is managed by the Municipality of Heraklion through DEPTAI SA is one of the most organized parts of the beach with a lifeguard and infrastructure for the whole family. The total length of the beach is about 2.5 to 3 km, while opposite the beach there is a small rocky island, which in antiquity was connected to the land, forming two small coves, since the sea level was about 3 meters lower than that is today.
The Karteros River, according to the writer Stergios Spanakis, was named after Byzantine General Krateros, who landed on the beach for the recovery of Crete by the Saracens.
In ancient times, the name of the Karteros River was called “Kairatos” or “Amnisos”, while the particular beach was suitable for the picking up of ships and a suitable shelter for the fleet of Minoan Crete according to Strabo.
East of Akti beach and about 500 meters away is a small, mainly rocky hill, the hill of Paleohora in which around of it has been discovered ruins of the ancient settlement of Amnissos.
The Lilies Mansion, located on the eastern part of the hill, which was named after the white lilies of sand found in frescoes in the ruins of the villa and which suffered major damage during the Second World War.
The mansion was located on the northern part of the hill and it is covered with rocks. This building consisted of two rooms, separated by a wall, and there was a well that was collecting groundwater and water from a source that rocked from the rock.
To the west of the hill there are the ruins of the sanctuary of Zeus Thenata, while on the west side of the hill there are ruins of a settlement of the Late Minoan era, part of which is covered by the sea.
Southeast of the Amnissos area, on the eastern sides of the Karteros River valley lays the cave of the goddess Elythethias, the goddess of birth.
Access to the beach of Karteros and more specifically to Akti is easy because it is located just below the old Heraklion – Agios Nikolaos National Road, and has a large parking area. On the old national highway there is also a bus stop of Public Transportation, with the result that access to the beach is even easier. The wider area has been particularly developed and there are hotels, apartments and restaurants.
The distance of the beach:
From the Historical Centre of Heraklion (Lions Square) 11.4Km and an estimated journey time of about 21 minutes.
The beach regulation must exist at the entrance of the beach (reception) and in plastic leaflets which will be on small tables or hanging at the umbrellas.
Hygiene and Safety, Environmental Protection and Cleanliness of the Beach
It is rumored that the wider area of Karteros beach, Amnissos, was connected with the Minoan Palace of Knossos via a path that was discovered only in 1985. The beginning of this path was within the beach of Karteros – Akti, but unfortunately nowadays the beginning of the path has been destroyed and all that remains ism an old olive tree from which the starting point of the particular path was.
The coastal sea zone of AKTH Beach consists of deep-watering waters with a soft sandy bottom. At a short distance from the coast and towards the east side, there is an extensive reef – which is developed on the small island of Karteros. On the small island, the swimmer can browse and discover the little secrets of it. Small fishes roam the landscape looking for food in the seaweed that grows on the rocks. Larger, like the Germans and the little scribes, form flocks that swell swiftly. The sea urchins, hard-boiled, walk slowly by scraping the rock and eating the micro-algae. Crabs are circulating in the slits of the rocks. Although they are big in size, they fear the presence of the human, whom they just notice, disappearing. Using a mask, a snorkel and a pair of flippers, a small lens and a small underwater camera, the visitor can see the life of the reef that is near the island and capture it with the camera. You can start from the shallows and see the small tongues in the sandy bottom and the mummies look for food in the sand. Starfish sprout from the sand and start their afternoon sherry. Then you will meet rocks from the reef. Their first image gives you a splendor but also a challenge to find its secrets. Swim slowly and with your eyes nailed to him you will see plenty of life. Arriving in the shallow waters of the reef to the island, you will see at depths of 5-6 meters an underwater landscape with Posidonia meadows. A unique marine plant, endemic to the Mediterranean Sea, that forms vast meadows and hosts a large number of species. Posidonia Posidonia is responsible for the protection of sandy beaches from erosion and an indicator of water purity and good status of the marine environment.
Dunes are the result of sea and wind action. These are sensitive and dynamic ecosystems that harbor plenty of plants and animals. Their ecological significance is great and is attributed to the dune vegetation, which has a primary structural role in their creation and preservation, as this vegetation retains the sand, stabilizes the coastline and the soil from the corrosive action of the sea and the wind and works protective as a natural barrier (seawater and watering of the aquifer, wind intensity) for the hinterland. In addition, dams are fragile and fragile ecosystems adapted to changes caused by natural causes (wind, wave), and regardless of sandy deposits (extent, thickness, height), they play an important role in the underground hydrology of the wider region and this is due to the fact that they have considerable storage capacity with respect to the underground waters that they harbor in their mass. Organisms living in dun-dwelling ecosystems are adapted to live in the hostile environment of dunes characterized by lack of fresh water and high salinity values of the air. At the same time dunes protect the soil from the corrosive action of the sea. In the sand dunes we will find precursor plants close to the wave and first in the range of sand dunes that have adapted to this dry and hostile environment, having developed particular features such as small size, light green colors, thorns, hard leaves and hairy leaves as well as a deep powerful root system. Then we will find the sandy species. Plants needed to stabilize the newer dunes thanks to their powerful and extensive root system. They thus prepare the ground for its colonization by other species such as the sea lily (Pancratium maritimum). This is a characteristic and emblematic type of sand dunes, as it blooms, the beaches acquire a unique beauty. It forms bulbs at great depth and dense clusters in the sand.
For the term “load-bearing capacity” there is a large number of definitions in international literature. However, all these definitions involve two central opinions: Firstly, the biophysical element related to the maintenance of the integrity of the natural resource, in this case, the beach. So, there is a maximum limit which must not be exceeded or else the natural ecosystem will suffer strong pressures. And, secondly, behavioral element which reflects the ability of the leisure experience.
Althoughuntiltodaytherehasnotbeenawidelyaccepteddefinitionoracommonlyacceptedprocedureforthecalculationoftheload-bearing capacity of the beach, the calculation of the load-bearing capacity of each beach is done with the combination of different procedures found in international literature, the main goal being the best protection and conservation of the natural resource and the environment.
For the calculation of the load-bearing capacity of this beach, the following data – information were considered;
The number of umbrellas that the beach management body gives to its guests is about 250 umbrellas, that is, 500 beach chairs which correspond to 500 swimmers. This number is much smaller than the bearing capacity of the beach.
The main goal of the suggested management plan aim sat the optimal sustainable management of the waste produced by visitors of the beach during their stay in the coastal zone.
The administrators of each beach must place appropriate bin for recycling where possible and to cover the needs of the beach at the same time.
It is suggested that in every beach – whether it is organized or not and taking in to account the number of visitors – there are at least blue bins for the recycling of packaging, brown bins (compost bins) for the recycling of organic waste and green bins for mixed waste.
An important issue that the administrators have to deal with, whether they are public or private is the collection of the cigarettes which are thrown by the swimmers on the beach. It is suggested the placement of ashtrays next to each chair which will be cleaned by the beach staff, after the guests leave the beach. This waste should not be thrown in the bin with the mixed rubbish because they can cause fire. They should be put in a special metal bucket, soaked with water and then thrown into the common bins, as no management plan for this kind of waste has been found until now.
At the point where the bins are placed there should be explanatory signs in many languages and the waste should be carried to the recycling centers regularly.
Moreover it should be mentioned that these weeds that are washed out at the beach are not an attractive view, but there is a processing method by a Greek company producing compost from seaweeds.
In general, it is suggested the following bins are placed:
All the bins should always be closed and the administrator of the beach is responsible to make sure the bins are closed.
Any other waste like batteries, electrical and electronic equipment should be given at the reception and the administrator of the beach has the responsibility to put them in the right bin, or inform the guest where the nearest container is.
In any case no rubbish should be thrown in to the wrong containers and of course nothing should be thrown into the beach or the sea.
If the nest is in danger beacause of the pedestrians or the vehicles, surround it with a “fence” you can make from wooden sticks placed around it and tied with some rope.
CAREFUL: Do not dig the nest. If there are stones or other things that may prevent the baby turtles from finding their way to the sea, then remove those obstacles.
If it is in the shade (e.g. under an umbrella), try to remove it.
If you find an injured turtle
You put the turtle in a SAFE PLACE away from people and noise. YOU ALWAYS RAISE IT FROM THE SHELL (never from the wings or the head).
If the animal is big it must be carried by 2 persons by catching the shell from behind the neck and over the tail.
YOU PLACE THE ANIMAL CAREFULLY making sure the wings do not remain under its body.
We put the animal in a place which is PROTECTED AND QUIET, AWAY FROM STREAMS AND WIND. In the summer months you should cover the would with a piece of WET CLOTH. The temperature of the place should not fall under 15 degrees Celcius. The turtle does not have to be put in sea water and if it is wounded at the head or exhausted, it MUST NOT BE PUT IN WATER BECAUSE IT MY DROWN.
If it is trapped in nets or fishing hook, you remove them carefully. In no circumstances should you TRY TO PULL A HOOK FROM THE MOUTH OR TAIL.
You control all wings and if you find RECOGNITION TAGS call the Rescue Network (210 8944444). You will be sent a special form which you have to COMPLETE carefully to help the turtle you found and also other turtles.
If you find a dead sea turtle
If the turtle is dead it should be CARRIED TO THE LAND and the Coast Guard as well as Archelon should be contacted. BE CAREFUL, IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE TURTLES LOOKS DEAD BUT IT MAY BE IN DEEP SLEEP, ESPECIALLY IN THE COLD MONTHS.
YOU SHOULD CALL THE OFFICIAL VETERINARIAN AND IF THERE IS NOT ONE, YOU CALL ANOTHER VETERIANARIAN OR THE COAST GUARD. .
If you find a tag it should be removed and sent to ARCHELON.
ATTENTION, THIS IS ONLY FOR DEAD ANIMALS. It would be very helpful for ARCHELON if you take a photograph of the animal and especially its wounds.
Complete the special FORM sent to you by ARCHELON AND finally call the LOCAL AUTHORITIES for the burial of the animal.
For more information http://www.archelon.gr/ .
The outfall of Karteros is within walking distance of the homonymous settlement of Karteros, which belongs to the Municipality of Heraklion. It has the code GR431393000 and is called “Karteros Οutfall” and is included in the national census catalogue. Unfortunately, the wetland of Karteros is an area where human activities have significantly degraded it, while the total area of the wetland has shrunk considerably. Previously there was a steady flow, however due to intense water abstraction at various points in the river, either for water supply or for irrigation; there is a flow only during the winter months. Saltwater marshes that were near the sea have been destroyed, while a road crosses the river and the outfall. In summer, surface communication with the sea is interrupted, but the river retains water in the outfall. In the wetland the reeds (Phragmites australis) dominate. Part of the wetland is protected by the Presidential Decree of the small island wetlands, while the whole area is included in the General Urban Plan of Heraklion.
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