Juniper Wood of Chrissi

The dunes of the central narrowest part of the island of Chryssi, we meet one of the most important juniper wood (sp. Juniperus macrocarpa) in Greece, which has prevailed (erroneously) with the name cedarwood. In other parts of the island, such as west and east, we encounter vegetation with Juniperus phoenicea being the main plant.

The wood occupies about 350 acres and includes junipers of an average age of 200 years. There are trees exceeding 10 meters in height and aged above 300 years. Juniper retains the sand with its vast roots. Walking in the forest is normally forbidden, although unfortunately this is not the case.

The presence of thousands of daily visitors who walk illegally in the wood and camp in the forest has burdened the state of the junipers, as the surface of the sand has descended as from 25cm to one meter at the base of the trees. The result is that the roots come to the surface, get dry and the trees die or cannot withstand the strong winds.


Saltpan of Chrissi

Next to the only house of Chrissi island, at position Spilios, we meet the old saltpan where salt was produced in the past. In winter the spot turns into a small pond with brackish water and it attracts many migratory birds. This is not the only pond on the island, as a smaller one is formed in the location of Kaki Alyki (=Bad Saltpan), near Vages beach at the eastern part of the island.


Agios Nikolaos church at Chrissi island

The church of Agios Nikolaos is located on the northern side of the island Chrissi, at the site where Tyrian purple was produced and graves are located. It dates back to the 13th century, although it has undergone more recent interventions. The temple is built on the site of an ancient building.

The temple was obviously the religious center for the hermits who lived on the island during the Byzantine period and later. It is no coincidence that there is a well with fresh water near the church and there are traces of ancient crops, probably also used by the hermits.


Shell Fossils of Chrissi

Chrissi can be considered a paradise for geology enthusiasts. One of the most spectacular geological sights of the island can be seen east of Belerinina beach, where you will meet thousands of fossils, mainly bivalves. The fossils form a so-called thanatocoenosis, that is, dead shells that have been gathered there by the streams and have fossilized over time.

Such other locations with fossils are also met in other parts of the island, such as the beach of Kataprosopo, Avlaki, Agios Nikolaos and the west part of Belerinna. A total of 49 species have been identified.


Chrissi island antiquities

An important settlement of the Minoan and Roman period has been found in the island Chrysea of ancient Greeks, the present island of Chrissi or Gaidouronisi. Buildings and at least three carved tombs have been identified near the church of Agios Nikolaos and the lighthouse on the island. The settlement was probably used for the production of Tyrian purple from the shells of Murex brandaris, exactly like the neighboring isle of Koufonissi.

The remnants of large orthogonal fields bounded by stone tracts, probably dating back from the Roman times, are distinguished. There are also traces of a harbor pier and an ancient saltpan in the site of the present harbour of Spilios. Even the temple of Agios Nikolaos is built on the site of ancient buildings.