Everyone knows (and who does not know it—must know!) that the climate in Crete is one of the best on our planet, which is why the island was chosen for the post-flight rehabilitation of our cosmonauts. In 2016, the company ΤΕΖ Tour, together with the charity society “Dialogue of Cultures—United World”, installed a bust of Yury Gagarin in the park on the Heraklion embankment in honor of the 55th anniversary of his space flight. Russian cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin took part in the opening ceremony of the monument, and on April 14, 2019, the Cosmonauts Park was founded in Heraklion!
While undergoing rehabilitation on Crete, Russian cosmonauts Fedor Yurchikhin, Anton Shkaplerov, Oleg Artemyev, as well as physician and cosmonaut-researcher Mikhail Potapov planted olive trees next to the monument to Yuri Gagarin on the city’s embankment. The initiative proposed by TEZ Tour was supported by the leadership of Crete and Heraklion. At the beginning of the event, Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura, Crete governor Stavros Arnaoutakis, mayor of Heraklion Vasilis Lambrinos, as well as Archbishop of Crete Irinaios greeted the cosmonauts, exchanged warm statements about friendship between Russia and Greece, and common past closely intertwined in history; then the cosmonauts planted olive trees. Thereafter the cosmonauts sat down to sign autographs to the delight of all who came (there were a lot of visitors and not only Russian-speaking ones), and then they were photographed with everyone. The holiday was a success. Now, as is planned, the trees will be planted next by American astronauts.
Answering journalists’ questions, the cosmonauts said that the space station is located so that almost all the time they saw Crete and Greece from orbit and dreamed after returning to earth to go there; and now, their dream has come true: they are undergoing rehabilitation in Crete, and are recognized that Greece is the best of the countries (with one small reservation -“…is it after Russia”).