A completely different picture than by other parts of Sitia is projected on the plateau of "Karydi", located on the mountainous area on the southeast of Sitia and west of Zakros. Here is the "Kingdom of Stone", the "rocky-garden" of Nikos Kazantzakis, the imprints of the world's creation.
The Cretan endemic plants in the region of Sitia usually grow in high altitudes, in gorges and isolated areas. Some of these plants are extremely rare or in danger of extinction. Most of the endemic plants grow in rock cracks and steep cliffs, where humans and animals cannot reach them.
The mountainous areas of Sitia, in comparison with other mountainous areas of Crete, do not have intense formations. However, due to the limestone composition of its rocks, the rain and river water has created an extended surface carst. In some places, the carst is quite impressive and has formed hundreds of limestone tips that look like a meteorite rain with uneven shapes.
Two areas of the Sitia province are integrated to the "NATURA 2000" network (EU guide 92/43/ AIE), which are of great interest, in terms of natural environment. One of is by Toplou - Cavo Sidero - Vai region:
The wider region of Sitia, and especially its southeastern part, is characterized by exceptionally beautiful gorges, where orange and grey-green colours prevail on their rocky cliffs, creating gorgeous scenes of wild nature. The gorges of the region and of Crete in general, were created about 2 millions years ago, when Crete took its final form.
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