at 0km (N) from Anatoli village
The village of the rising sun, as its name declares. The golden rays illuminate Anatoli, the hanging rocks, the Holy Cross church, Drygies, Karkasa, and give the impression that the sun keeps rising. It is an old, historical, traditional village, situated at 17 km in the north-west of Ierapetra, at an altitude of 600 m. Its housesare visible from the plain and seem like white doves, nested in the fortified mountain of Anatoli. A privileged place, it has been a cradle of men of letters, Notaries, University professors, with great history and civilization.In the 70s, most of Anatoli’s residents got down to the plain and worked in the glasshouse cultivations. They founded, along with residents from other villages the settlementsStomio, Nea Anatoli, Ammoudares. The small picturesque village Kalogeroi, which, according to tradition, was built by a Turkish Aga, is part of Anatoli. It is referenced sincethe era of the Venetian rule. In 1583, along with Kalogeroi, it had 666 residents. In 1951 it had 897 and in 2001, along with Nea Anatoli, it had 1235 residents. The Tower of theVenetian feudal lord still lies in ruins in the north of the village. It nurtured important men of letters, such as Antonios Damilas, scribe and printer, Neilos Damilas, scholarlypriest-monk in the Karkasia Monastery, Dimitrios Damilas, brother of Antonios, scribe and printer in Milan, who published the “Greek Grammar” in 1476, Anthimos Donos,and Ioannis Olokalos, whose notary documents have been recently published. The latter had his seat in Drygies, a wonderful location in the east of the village with runningwaters, a tavern with a view of Ierapetra and the little church of Saint Foteini. Anatoli was an important intellectual center, having a school during the Venetian rule and a secretschool during the Turkish rule.The area of Anatoli, a fortified position, produced great fighters during the Turkish rule, such as Emmanuel Lakerdas, general chief of Ierapetra, Iakovos Mahairas, AthanasiosBarberakis and Georgios Bekiaris.Its history and struggles were imortant in all the historical periods. It has many ecclesiastical monuments, Monasteries and Byzantine icons of great art.The old traditional settlement of Anatoli has remained untouched by time, with its stone-built houses, the alleys, the old Kato Vrysi. Five years ago, it entered a program ofrenovation, was characterized as a traditional settlement and today houses and tourist lodgings of exceptional esthetics are built in stone. In a few years, Anatoli of Ierapetra willbe one of the most beautiful villages of Crete, with its wonderful climate, its extraordinary view, its incomparable natural landscape on which the Museum of Natural Historyof Crete has worked and about which it published a relevant document.Anatoli as well as its residents have to this day been successful in the agricultural, tourist and intellectual sectors. Personalities coming from the village dominate the political,social and intellectual life of our country. Anatoli was a Municipality in the beginning of the 20th century, then a Community and today a Local Department ofthe Municipality of Ierapetra, building its future on solid foundations. Hosting important cultural events, with itshistorical, folkloric and musical contributions, it is a center of attraction of bothlocals and foreigners. With two taverns, two coffee houses, a renovatedold school and hospitable residents, it satisfies the most demandingvisitors. Anatoli is even rich in snails and wild mushrooms.
at 3.5km (NE) from Anatoli village
The village is located at 480m a.s.l. 24.5km away from Agios Nikolaos, taking the road from Kalo Horio- Prina, and 15 km from Ierapetra. It has 617 inhabitants, including the smaller villages Kamara and Psathi. Forests of platans, pine trees, olive trees and a spring with small waterfalls, are the characteristic of the villages environment. The hill " Kastelos " is overlooking the village and almost all the county of Ierapetra and the Libyan sea. At the top of Kastelos there is the cave "40 Chambers" with the small chapel of "Timios Stavros" in it. Sights :The gorge of Havga, the cave 40 Chambers, the cave Theriou Koufala, the hill Kastelos, the chapel of agios Antonios with curved temple and entrance, the chapels Agios Georgios, Agia Paraskevi, and Panagia Cultural associations :The cultural association of Kalamafka. Cultural events :The patronal feasts of Panagia at August 15 and Timios Stavros at September 14. Facilities to the visitors :No accomodation. A few taverns and cafes operating at day time.
at 6km (W) from Anatoli village
Deep inside the valley of the river Sarantapihos is built the village Mythoi. Itis 22 km away from Ierapetra, it is a small village, in a verdurous landscape,with a beautiful square under the shade of age-old planes. It is said that thevillage took its name from the plant “Minthi”, or mint, which is abundant there.However, it may have been named thus because of its many legends, traditions,and myths (mythoi), the most prevalent one being the Sarantapihos’one. A mythical giant, forty ells tall, like another Talos or Akritas Digenis, heprotected the residents from raids. There are the place names “Tou Sarantapihoui Patounia” (Sarantapihos’ footprint) and “Tou Sarantapihou to Mnima”(Sarantapihos’ grave).There is evidence of ancient inhabitation at the site “Leniko” where traces ofwalls can be seen. Also, in an excavation, the head of a woman of the Romanperiod has been found. At the sites Kastelou Haraki and Orfanou to Spiliari claypots, oil lamps, e.t.c. have been found. The site called Sarakina above Mythoiwas a fortress, a hideout of Saracen pirates. The village’s modern history isrich in contributions to the struggles against the conquerors. It nurtured thechieftains Emmanouil Xenikakis, Ioannis Hatzakis, Emmanouil Christakis andothers. During the German Occupation, residents of Mythoi took part in theguerilla corpses of the United Resistance of Captain Bantouvas. In the battleof Symi, one of the most heroic figures was lost, Apostolos Vagionakis, whostood up to the enemy’s bullets for the ideals of our unsubdued Crete. Theypaid the price of their participation to the struggles during the German Occupation,as 4 persons were executed, including the old and bedridden NikolaosIoannou Christakis.The community of Mythoi is today a Local Department of the Municipality ofIerapetra, in 1900 it had 360 Christian residents, in 1951 it had 423 and in 2001it had 287. In the north of Mythoi, around 6 km away, there is the settlementKarydi with the famous Monastery of Panagia (Our Lady) Karydiani and nowabandoned summer residences. The mountainous settlement “Minos”, whichis situated in a verdurous small plateau below the Afentis peak of the Lasithimountains, also belongs to the Community of Mythoi.The village Mythoi is a lively village with a rich social and cultural life. It has acultural association, a football team and field, and a modern olive press. Thevillage’s square with its old plane trees, the mulberry trees, the old fountain,the traditional coffee-houses with the raki and the local dishes, is a place ofreference for the residents of Mythoi. The sights, the wild natural landscapes inthe north of the village, the famous gorge of Sarakina, a monument of naturalbeauty, attract a lot of local and foreign visitors. The gorge of Sarakina is onof the most beautiful in Crete. Its steep, vertical sides cause awe, and reach aheight of up to 250 m. Its widest opening is no more than 15 m while in someplaces it’s so narrow that its sides seem joined. Its rich flora and fauna, dittany,the wild birds that nest there and the route inside the gorge are breath-taking.Its promotion is a foremost goal of the Local Department and the Municipalityof Ierapetra, of the residents of the village, who head to the future with optimismand anticipation for the development of their place.
at 6.3km (NW) from Anatoli village
One of the largest villages of Crete, in the north of the valley of the river Sarantapichos.It is 28 km away from Ierapetra and 40 km away from AghiosNikolaos, in a verdurous slope within immense olive groves, with an unlimitedview to the valley of Myrtos, the Libyan Sea and the mountain peaks that surroundit.The village took its name from ancient Malla, which is speculated to have beenbuilt at the same place or somewhere nearby. Ancient Malla was a city-state,with an army and a currency of its own, which presented Zeus, the Labyrinth,the Eagle and the word MAL. It is included in the 100 cities of Crete and in the“Cretans’ Common”. A lot of archaeological findings are now in the Museumof Heraklion, in museums abroad and in private collections. The inscriptionsfrom ancient Malla include treaties between “Malla and Lyttos”. “There shallneither be any spoliation of Malla by the Lyttos residents nor of Lyttos by theMalla residents”. Lyttos, an ancient city in the plateau of Lasithi, had often rumblingswith “Malla”, probably about the ownership and use of their mountainborders.An inscription found in 1848 contains the text of a treaty with the city Teos ofIonia. The city “Mallos” of Minor Asia is thought to have been a colony of Malla.The city Malla is also referenced in the alliance treaty of 30 Cretan cities withthe king Eumenis II of Pergamos.The most important of the gods the residents of Malla worshipped was ZeusMonnitios and he was also venerated in the adjacent cities. One of their greatestfestivities was Ypervoia.Evidence of inhabitation during the Hellenic and Roman eras has been found.During the Venetian rule, Malla, the seat of a feudal lord with two towers, wasthe largest village of Kastelania of Ierapetra. In 1583 it had 1483 residents, 5parishes and 7 priests. In the following censuses, in 1881 it had 754 Christiansand 15 Muslims. In 1951 it had 1253 residents and in 2001 499.Malles has been visited by a lot of travelers who have written down their impressions,the most prominent of whom being the Italian GEROLA.The Malles region also includes the abandoned village Aghios Georgios Loutra,the Holy Monastery of Exakousti, the old Monastery of Armos that was thesummer seat of the bishop of “Iera” and, as it has been reported, 7 bishopshave been buried there. Malles, except for their wonderful natural landscapes,the special routes for the nature lovers to the plateau of Katharos, to the sourceof Retiko and the surrounding mountains, has also important ecclesiasticalmonuments. Panagia (Our Lady) Messohoritissa, a church built in the times ofthe Palaiologoi dynasty, Saint Nicolas, the two-aisle church of Saint Charalambosand Afentis Christos (Our Lord the Christ), with the most beautiful temple,the work of the wood-carvers of Lasithi who specialized in church temples.Now a large village, Malles, with a rich history, folklore, civilization and strugglesin different historical periods, was visited by the national leader EleftheriosVenizelos. During the German Occupation, 18 people were executed. Itnurtured many and important Fighters. It used to be a Community, a formerMunicipality and is now a Local Department of the Municipality of Ierapetra.Rich in olive production, it has a cultural center, a post office, a football field andteam, cultural associations, an agricultural co-op and many traditional coffeehouses.
at 6.6km (W) from Anatoli village
A monument of natural beauty that attract a lot of local and foreign visitors. The gorge of Sarakina (GR: Σαρακίνα) is one of the most beautiful in Crete. Its steep, vertical walls in some parts reach a height up to 250 m. Its widest opening is no more than 15 metres while in some places it’s so narrow that its sides seem to join each other. Its rich flora and fauna, the dittany, the wild birds that nest there, the running water make the route through the gorge a worthwhile experience.
at 6.7km (SW) from Anatoli village
Myrtos (GR: Μύρτος) is situated 15km to the west of Ierapetra, at the estuaries of the river Sarantapihos, in a valley with olive and orange trees. It is a beautiful village built by the sea, with a beach street lined with taverns and cafe bars. In a short distance from Myrtos on a low hill lies the archaeological site of "Pyrgos" with the ruins of a villa from the post minoan period and a little further at "Fournou Koryfi" lie the ruins of a proto minoan settlement. Myrtos features a small archaeological museum with exhibits mostly from the area, an initiative of a local teacher. Myrtos is a popular tourist destination, with nice small hotels, picturesque taverns and kafeneions, a lovely sandy beach and hospitable people.
at 7.1km (W) from Anatoli village
Mournies (GR: Μουρνιές - meaning: mulberry trees) is a village of the western Ierapetra. It is located north of Myrtos, and 25 kilometers away from Ierapetra at 275m (elevation), built on the southeastern outskirts of the Lasithi mountains, with beautiful views of the Libyan Sea and the plains of Ierapetra. It has a mild climate, without extremes, ideal both for permanent residence and for holidays. The landscape is hilly plenty of olive trees. In the 2001 census it had 83 residents. Mournies is a beautiful, historic, picturesque and traditional village with cafes, a square with a war memorial, an old fountain, and narrow streets branching off the main street of the village. Mournies was named after the Mulberry tree which however is not abundant in the area.
at 7.1km (NW) from Anatoli village
At a mountainous, precipitous site, in the west mountain slopes of Dikti, at an altitude of 550 m above sea level and at 2 km from the village of Malles, is built the village Christos (GR: Χριστός – Christ). Christos is a beautiful, verdurous village, with many running waters, traditional, unchanged by time, with narrow sloping cobbled alleys.
at 7.2km (E) from Anatoli village
It is a small village, at 7 km in the north of Ierapetra, at an altitude of 212 m. According to tradition, the village took its name from a large uncultivated olive tree. It produced at least 10 sacks of olives and it provoked admiration by its size, and mostly by its height (Makrylia meaning tall olive tree). The village is old and traditional, with original Cretan style houses that have remained untouched over the time, in a beautifuland healthy environment, with a view of the overgrown with olive trees plain, with a rich history and hospitable residents. Foreigners have bought houses and live there. Thevillage’s interior is impressive, with the old olive presses, the bridge-house in the alley, the village’s architecture and aesthetics. Evidence of ancient settlements is reported by the locals.At the site “Ellinika”, in the south-east of the village, on the hill “Petras”, where there are traces of an ancient Acropolis. Also at the site “Kefalovrysi”, there is an unexploredcave, where ancient skeletons and fragments of pots were found. The Christians took refuge in this cave during the Turkish rule in order to protect themselves, as its entrance is high up and cannot be seen from below. In the same area, at the site “Elion Riza”, there are traces of ancient artifacts of domestic use and mortars chiseled in the rocks. There are natural caves at the site “Koutsounari” above the village, where the residents also took refuge in cases of danger from the raids of conquerors and pirates. Makrylia’s tower, which is referenced to in medieval sources, was situated at the Monastery of Saint Anthony which had 101 cells. A historical Monastery that, according to tradition, was the place of gathering and shelter of the area’s chieftains, being a fortified position, with the tower and the thick walls thatprotected those confined in the Monastery. There was also the Legend of “Avoli Merthia”, that is of the myrtle tree beyond which no bullets could pass and harm its defendants. In the Monastery, the catholicon of which has been erected and dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Paul, there was the Golden Bell. In the village’s precinct, during the Turkish rule, a lot of battles took place and the heroism of the residents of the wider region is well documented, with the most famous incident being the one of Nikolaos Varsamidiskilling Pitavotyros. Makryliá used to be a shelter for the residents of Ierapetra during the German Occupation, in 1583 it had 187 residents, with its first settlers coming from Meseleroi and building their first huts there. In 1951, it had 225 residents and, in the 2001 census, 120 were registered. It produced olive oil, carobs, cereals, had 3 olive presses, and 150 threshing floors in their cereal fields. A sight to see in Makrylia is a site below the village, where rocks of various geological periods, fossils of animals and fish can be seen, scientific research is conducted byforeign Universities and environmental education is provided to students. Today, Makrylia is a small lively village, its residents are increased, its physiognomy is set out by the renovations of stone-built houses, and it receives a lot of visitors for itssights.
at 7.3km (W) from Anatoli village
It is a small village with few residents, loacated 4 km to the west of the village Christos at an altitude of 600 m. The residents of Metaxohori (GR: Μεταξοχώρι, or Parsás - GR: Παρσάς) have immigrated to the plains of Ierapetra, in Stomio, Ammoudares and Xerokampos and work in the glasshouses. The village has been renamed in 1955 from Parsas to Metaxohori to honor the Ecumenical Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis who was born here. The Metaxohori settlement dates from the 17th century, as follows from the dating of the old churches. In the older times, Parsas, as its name was, was built at 2 km below its present position, at the site Myrtaras. Until 1929, it belonged to the Municipality of Mournies in the Province of Viannos. Since then it has been an autonomous Community, in the 90s it belonged to the Municipality of Nea Malla and today it is a Local Department of the Municipality of Ierapetra. In 1630 it had 138 residents, in 1940 it had 281, and in 2001 55 residents were registered in the census. The permanent residents however are no more than 7. Metaxohori has good infrastructures, an asphalt road, a renovated school, a memorial for the fallen fighters, beautiful old and new churches and the bust of the Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis. It is connected by a dirt road to the Symi villages Riza – Mournies. The modern history of Metaxohori is rich in important persons and facts from the period of the Turkish rule and the German Occupation. The most prominent figures were Captain Diakomanolis, during the Turkish rule, and Giorgos Metaxakis, a lawyer who worked in the Prefecture and spoke 7 languages. In 1943, 7 residents of Parsas were arrested and executed at Sfakoura of Riza. Metaxohori or Parsas, with the ruined Cretan style houses, the half-wrecked cemetery church, the wonderful natural landscapes, the view to the mountaintops, has an unbelievable tranquility, which is only disturbed by the voices of animals and birds, and a nice healthy climate. There are also amazing mountaineering routes for the nature lovers and the cave at “Kleisidi” where there are old findings, utensils and skeletons of people who took refuge there during the Turkish rule. In the north of Metaxohori, at a great altitude, there is the cave of “Neraidogoula”, which presents an inexplicable phenomenon. Sometimes in August unbelievable quantities of water flow out of the depths of the cave, flood the “Psoriaris” river and cause catastrophes. Perhaps this is why it took the name “Neraidogoula”, that is the source of the Fairy. However, in Metaxohori, the village is dominated by the figure of the Ecumenical Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis, 1871-1935. His contribution in the posts he served into was huge and his bust adorns the central square of Ierapetra. Metaxohori today waits to be repopulated, to be revived, since it has a wonderful climate and its air is scented by the verdurous mountain slopes of Dikti. Its few residents experience the tranquility and the solitude waiting for the emigrants, the mountaineers, the nature lovers to come and admire the village of the Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis.