Psiloritis, a mythical and sacred mountain in ancient times, is the highest mountain on Crete, with its top, called Timios Stavros (Holy Cross), at 2.453 m. The ancient name of Psiloritis was “Idi” or “Ida”, a name that was given to it owing to the great view the mountain offered. However, there are references that “Idi” or “Ida”, which means “wooded mountain”, was given to it because the mountain was extremely rich in ancient times as far as its vegetation was concerned. The southern slopes of Psiloritis are steep while the whole area is full of canyons and caves. Homer wrote that the mountain was rich in water while in the “Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri there is reference to the waters of a small river of hell that come from Ida.
There are also many references by Heordotus, Plato and Isiodos that Psiloritis was a wooded mountain. Most of the woods on Crete were destroyed during the Neolithic period to shape cultivation land and land suitable to graze animals. Deforestation continued during the Roman, Arab and Byzantine period. The most destructive period for the woods of Crete was during the Venetian and Ottoman occupation of Crete during the period from the 13th to the 19th century.