Kourtaliotiko Gorge

Kourtaliotiko gorge, Crete

The Kourtaliotiko Gorge, also known as the Asomatos Gorge, is a gorge on the southern side of the western part of the island of Crete. It is situated where the Kourtaliotiko River flows southwards between the mountains of Kouroupa and Xiron.

Entrance Arch to Kourtaliotiko gorge, CreteThe village of Koxare is at the northern end of the gorge. A road runs north to south through the gorge joining Koxare to Asomatos; it then leads west, on to the town of Plakias on the southern coast of Crete.

A small ruined church (Agios Nikolaos) sits within the gorge. There is also a 40 metre high waterfall.

There is a specific point on the gorge, about 20 metres from the northern entrance, where you can hear some “claps”, like hands coming together. These “claps” are the “kourtala”, that give the name to the gorge. They are the consequence of the wind being funnelled through the high caves of the gorge and breaking the sound barrier. The point near the northern entrance is the main point to hear that sound.

Birdwatching: Mount Kedros and Kourtaliotiko gorge
An important site for breeding raptors, montane and scrub species.
The cliffs on the side of the gorge provide a roosting site for the Lammergeier vulture.
Unlike most vultures, the Lammergeier does not have a bald head.

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