at 0km (N) from Metaxochóri 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.
at 1km (NE) from Metaxochóri 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 1.8km (S) from Metaxochóri 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 2.2km (NE) from Metaxochóri 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 3.2km (NW) from Metaxochóri village
It was a familiar performance trying to find the right path out of Selakano. T's map v T's GPS (didn't show the start) v LW's words. Together they made no real sense, because the map was saying that the footpath ran due west out of Selakano while LW’s suggested route was taking me north. In the end good old red paint splashes got me going westwards along a concrete path (starting beside a concrete structure) not far north of the junction between the bunkhouse square and Stella’s taverna. You have to follow your nose here as the paths stop and start a bit, but the GPS did clutch in quite quickly and, as ever, was reliable. Distance:22km Time: 9 hrs. Mov av 3.4 km/hr Height overnight: 824m.(max 2,148m.)
at 3.4km (S) from Metaxochóri 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 4.7km (S) from Metaxochóri village
A small village built at an altitude of 540 m in the south parts of the mountain Dikti at the borders of the province of Ierapetra-Viannos. The imposing mountains above the village, the south horizon among the olive-covered hills and in the lower villages, the cool climate create in you a sensation of bodily and spiritual well-being at this balcony of the Cretan nature. Five settlements, two of them uninhabited today, constituted the Community of Riza, now a Local Department of the Municipality of Ierapetra.
at 4.8km (S) from Metaxochóri 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 5.8km (S) from Metaxochóri village
A stately village built in settlements, 22 km away from Ierapetra, at an altitudeof 225 m, next to the Ierapetra-Vianos provincial road. A green landscape,overgrown with olive trees, with an unlimited view of the Libyan Sea, to thesurrounding areas Koleitos, Kakon Oros, to the beaches Vatos and Kallikovrechtis.An almost abandoned village, with old houses built of stone, with chiseled doorframes and coats of arms bearing the Christian cross and proving its old gloryand history.Giannis Dimitromanolakis, an author from Gdohia, writes:“Gdohia sprouted right opposite the beach of the Libyan Sea. Nothing wouldhave been better for the pirates, who, like diabolical ghosts, emerged into thenight to kill and prey. The village’s history is dipped in blood, as it often sufferedfrom the raids of the pirates from the Barbary Coast. It took the name Gdohiafrom the catastrophes, from the verb “gdyno”, to skin, to set fire, to devastate.”Gdohia’s course in time has evidence of struggles, sacrifices and holocausts toshow. It was not only exposed to the pirates but it was situated on the naturalsouth passage going from the Viannos area to the Ierapetra area. This meantthat the hordes of barbarous conquerors burnt and devastated it, along withthe other Symiana villages, as they are called, in the West Ierapetra.Gdohia’s settlements are built leaving a distance between each other: KatoGdohia or Pitropiana, taking their name from the Epitropakis family livingthere, Pefkiana or Grysboliana, from the Grysbolakis family, Dimitromanolianafrom the Dimitromanolakis family, Daskaliana from the Daskalakis family,Papadiana from the Papadakis family. Great stonecutters, stoneworkers,famous for their art, Gdohia’s residents built the mansions of the whole areaand the famous bridge of Myrtos using stones from the quarries of Kolleitos.The miraculous church of Panagia (Our Lady) Evaggelistria of Gdohia, a workof art and a great ecclesiastical monument is also built by Gdohia’s residents.Gdohia village, once the seat of a Community, today a Local Department ofthe Municipality of Ierapetra, presents an exceptional sight-seeing interest. Itprovides natural landscapes, beautiful beaches, picturesque little churches onthe hills, a spacious square with palm trees, seats and a war memorial forthe fallen fighters of the liberation wars. In the 1881 census, 296 residents areregistered and 73 in 2001. Gdohia’s permanent residents, along with someforeigners’ families who have bought and renovated old houses, struggle forthe village’s development which gradually acquires the necessary infrastructures.A village with rich history and civilization, with vast olive groves, a nicemild climate, both during summer and winter, it hopes to come back to life.The old mansions, half-wrecked and burned in the German Occupation, standas if they were sculptures, a painting with the deep blue Libyan Sea serving asa background, narrate the flourishing, the glory and the history of Gdohia andwait to be inhabited again.
at 7.3km (E) from Metaxochóri 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.