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Cities & Villages

The Village of Archanes Archanes is a village built on the slopes of a low hill in a green area surrounded by olive groves and vineyards and has retained its name for thousands of years. The area is dominated by the large mountain Giouktas, and gorges, forests and nature abound. The local agriculture produces delicious wine, raisins and grapes. It was inhabitant in the Neolithic times (6.000BC). It reached its peak during the period 2500-1400 BC when the grand palace was being built in Archanes which was rebuilt on successive destructions it suffered over the years. During the first Byzantine period and the Arab rules, Acharnes and the surrounding area follow the same course in history as the rest of Crete, while under the Turks it was used as a base for Turkish officials. During the battle of Crete in 1941 (World war II) Acharnes was used as an administration…
The Village of Krasi The village of Krasi is about 47 km away from Heraklion. It is situated west of the foot of Mount Selena (1559 m altitude, at the southern edge of a small plateau. At the top of the village there is a large water reservoir called “Megali Vrisi” by the local people. Its abundant waters supply the village and water a large area of the plateau. The water reservoir was built in 1890, as an inscription on it suggests. It is a large rectangular stone-built construction, consisting of the reservoir and three arched openings on its northern side. Two of these openings were used to water animals in stone basins. In front of the reservoir and after the asphalt street there is a small square with a centuries-old plane tree. Writers and scholars like Nikos Kazantzakis, the Alexiou family, Markos Avgeris and Kostas Varnalis used to visit…
Agios Nikolaos city The city of Agios Nikolaos is built on the location of the ancient "Lato pros Kamara - port of Lato Etera". Both towns formed one administrative unit, which flourished during the 3rd century. Both worshipped goddess Elithyeia (goddess of childbirth) and they had the same coins - with Elithyeia or Artemis (Diana) on one side and Hermes Lation on the other - as well as their own economy. The Latians, contrary to other towns, which were almost constantly in war with other cities, were in good terms with their adjoining cities of Elounda, Driros, Milatos and Minoa. There is not enough reference about the Byzantine period. During the Venetian occupation (1204-1669) Genoan pirates built a castle on top of the Kefali hill (prefecture hill), which was renamed by the Venetians to Merabello and gave its name to the whole region. The castle has been destroyed by the…
Heraklion city Heraklion is the largest city of Crete and one of Greece’s major urban centers. Its development begun in the wake of the 9th century AD (in antiquity, Knossos was the island’s most important centre, followed by Gortyn). In later times, Heraklion came under Arabic, Venetian and Ottoman rule; its conquerors initially gave it the name Khandaq or Handak which was corrupted to Candia. Among the most outstanding sights of Heraklion are the fortification walls that delimit the “old city”. The first fortifications were built by the Arabs and were later reinforced by the Venetians (15th century). From the seven bastions, only the Martinengo bastion survives to this day; there visitors will find the tomb of the renowned writer N. Kazantzakis, overlooking the city. From the four gates to the city, the most important is Chanioporta (1570) with the characteristic winged Lion of Saint Marc and the New Gate (1587)…
Chania city A first-time visitor to Chania city is surprised by the great number of buildings and monuments with traces of great history and culture. The old town is located on and around the hill of Kasteli and was built over the ruins of the Minoan city Kydonia. It is surrounded by the Byzantine walls, the Venetian walls and the sea. The town of Chania, the first capital of Crete, kept its historical centuries-old heritage almost unaffected. Its flair has attracted scientists, philosophers, poets and artists from different countries and it has become a cultural centre. The Minoan civilization left behind grand tombs and interesting pottery objects. During the Venetian and the Ottoman rule, people of different nationalities and religions co-existed. Christians (Catholic and Orthodox), Jews and Muslims, have left discernible traces and produced particularly interesting creations. In the neighborhood of Topanas with its narrow paved streets, the visitor meets…
Rethymno city Rethymno is the capital town of the wider prefecture of Rethymno. It is located on the northern coast of Crete, at a distance of 80 kilometers from Heraklion. It is a town that uniquely combines the traditional and classy with modernity. The old town of Rethymno is picturesque, with the beautiful Venetian harbor, the castle of Fortezza and its narrow-cobbled alleys. The old city of Rethymno still preserves its old urban structure to a great extent, formed during the Venetian period and later reformed during the Turkish occupation. It has been declared a protected historical monument and a traditional settlement. Also, there is the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Folklore and the Religious Museum. The city of Rethymno is an ideal tourist destination for visitors who wish to explore the rich cultural heritage and the natural beauties of Crete. This well-organized city offers to visitors a variety of…
The Village of Margarites The village of Margarites is a traditional settlement which is located 27km southeast of Rethymnon, near ancient Eleftherna. Margarites is an old village known for its pottery production (is one of Crete’s four main pottery centres). The pots are handmade using techniques dating back thousands of years. Many craftsmen still use age-old traditional techniques and skills, whether for small pieces of pottery or the large storage jars used on the island in the Minoan period, as evidences by the large jars found in all Minoan palaces. Various village shops sell the local pottery. The village has several remains from older eras and several Byzantine churches. Walking around the village one can see ornate doors and walls dating from the Venetian era. These features, as well as the narrow alleys, retain certain aspects of traditional Cretan village architecture.
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