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Church of Panagia Kera The church of Panagia Kera is located southeast of the small town of Kritsa, a settlement with its own unique profile which played an important historical role. It dates from the Byzantine period, and grew considerably during the period of Venetian rule (1211-1647). One testimony to the vibrancy of Kritsa is the large number of frescoed churches in the area. By virtue of its size and rich fresco decoration, Panagia Kera is the most important of all these churches. The church’s interior was decorated with Byzantine frescos. The church’s architecture was created by a succession of additions and interventions. The central aisle, which had the form of a domed single-naved church, comprised the original church and was probably built in the Byzantine period. Early in the period of Venetian rule the central nave was restored, the dome was rebuilt, and the side aisles were added. The…
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.
The Village of Maroulas Maroulas is a quiet village situated on the heights above Rethymno, facing the sea at an altitude of 150 meters and surrounded by greenery, a spring and several valleys. In 1980, Maroulas was listed for its historical monuments but also for some of its houses. Amongst its rich historical heritage, visitors can discover important remains of ancient tombstones dating back to antiquity, two wonderful Venetian towers one of which is 44 meters high, a Byzantine church dedicated to the Ascension, a more recent church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and lastly a small chapel with iconostasis which adorns the small village square. During the first Venetian invasions, the middle-class houses of Maroulas were used as second homes or agricultural warehouses by the nobility of Rethymno. Its high position facing the sea and its narrow lanes without any main square make Maroulas a typical example of the…
Ierapetra city The town of Ierapetra is present throughout the history of Crete. According to the myths, Cyrbas was one of the first settlers. The town was initially called Cyrbas, from the name of its founder. Later it was called Kamiros, Pytna, Ierapytna and eventually Ierapetra. Growing from the early years of the ancient Cretan civilization, this gifted and strategic corner of Europe has always a strong point of interest and activity.  Ancient Ierapetra will reach her peak during the 2nd and 1st century BC. The town rules a very large area of southeast Crete which includes the once powerful cities of Pressos, Priansos, Malla and Oleros which once blocked her expansion. Ierapetra resisted the Roman invaders harder than any other Cretan city, however it was destroyed by the conquerors in 66 BC. It was rebuilt to a magnificent city according to the Roman model with a theatre and other…
Attali Monastery or Bale Attali Monatery or Bale is located on the hills of Agia Ypakoi near Bali village and is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. Although the monastery dates back to the 14th century, written testimonies date back to 1628 onwards. The Monasteries & Churches is built on numerous levels and features stables, an oil mill, baking premises, a fountain, a ceramics workshop and a Refectory featuring impressive murals. The catholicon is not situated at the centre of the Monastery, as is common practice, but in the north-eastern side of the complex, outside the citadel built around the monastery to protect it from pirate raids. Initially, the church was a single-space structure, but was converted into a two-aisle church in the 16th century. During the Ottoman era, the Monastery suffered extensive damage.
Lake Kournas Kournas lake is the only natural lake in Crete. It is fed by the waters coming down from the mountains, and from two sources located in the southeastern part of the lake, while drained, through the river of Delfinas, on the beach of Kournas which is 2,5 km further north. The abundant water throughout the year, makes the lake an important wetland area with a variety of flora and fauna, and so it is included in the Natura 2000 protection program. Kournas lake is surrounded by hills, just a few kilometres away from the sea and at the boundaries of Chania and Rethymno. The lake was known as Korisia in antiquity and is nowadays a destination attracting thousands of visitors every year. The lake’s water increases during winter, from adjacent sources in the mountains and decreases in summer revealing a gold sandy strip. The shallow clear waters at…
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