Crete : Regional Interest
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Agios Titos Cathedral
Iraklion Old Town
With the recovery of Crete from Nikiforos Fokas, the seat of the bishopric is transferred from Gortyna to Chandakas, which became the capital of the island. The new cathedral, which is the most established and largest in the city, is dedicated to the Apostle Titos. Here, amongst other relics, there are gathered the Holy Skull of the Apostle and the miraculous icon of Messopapaditissas.
When the Venetians took over Crete, they installed in the orthodox bishop the Latin archbishop, converting by that the church of St. Titos into a Latin bishop. In the middle of the 15th century, the Latin archbishop, F. Dandolo is renovating the church. Other distractions, caused by earthquakes and fire, resulted to the rebuilding of the church from the start around 1557. The church was a basilica, almost square in shape, with a dome in the middle and a bell-tower in the southwest corner. The church from the inside was divided in three aisles with two series of columns. During the Turkish period, the church was given to Fazil Ahmet Kioprouli and it was changed into a mosque, while the bell - tower was transformed into a minaret. The big earthquake of 1856 destroyed the temple which is being, once more, rebuilt. After the exchange of populations, the Church of Crete repaired it accordingly, and in 1925 it was dedicated again to Apostle Titos. East of the church there was the building of the archdiocese.
Agios Minas Cathedral
Iraklion Old Town
The Cathedral of St. Minas:The small church of St. Minas did not meet the religious needs of the constantly growing Christian community, so the demand arose for the erection of a new cathedral. The plot for the new church used to be a garden that belonged to a Turk from whom it was bought. The architect was Athanasios Moussis and in 1862 the foundation stone of one of the most magnificent and impressive Greek churches was laid. The outbreak of the Cretan revolution of 1866 demanded the stopping of the building work which will continue in 1883 in order to be completed in 1895, when the inauguration of the exquisite temple took place. The church is of the cruciform type with a dome based on a high spandrel, while internally there are also elements of a three aisle basilica. It has two bell towers, one in the northeastern corner and the other in the southeastern one. The right aisle is dedicated to Apostle Titos and the left one to St. Ten Martyrs of Crete. The inside of the church has gone through many changes with new additions. With plans of the architect Anastasios Orlandos the woodcut icon screen was replaced by another one made of marble, the same happened with the bishop's seat. The religious painting of the church was assigned to St. Kartakis who followed faithfully the principles and the models of the Byzantine icon painting. The hundredth anniversary from the inauguration of the Cathedral Church of St. Minas (1995) was celebrated with every solemnity that is suited in an equal occasion and more specifically to one of the most glorious and imposing Greek churches.
Sitia, East Crete
The picturesque hilly village of Arméni (GR: Αρμένοι) is situated at the plateau of Ziros, 27 km from Sitia through Handra and 23 km through the villages of Papagianades and Etia.
It was first recorded in a venetian census in 1583 with a population of 428. Today the village has approx. 400 inhabitants.
The sightseer is impressed by the numerous windmills in the area.
The church of Agia Sofia which used to be one of the most important churches of the Eastern Crete is also in Armeni. Amongst its icons, the Holy Mother presents interesting art features.
The Cave of Holy Spirit is also in the area of the village of Armeni. In the wider area you can also visit the Etia settlement.
Sitia, East Crete
Etiá (or Ethiá GR: Ετιά) is a small settlement situated 2 klm away from the village of Papagianades driving to the village of Armeni.
In a Venetian census was recorded with a population of 564. The village of Etia was at peak of its power around the Venetian occupation and from the presence of the St. John and St. Aikaterini churches one assumes that the village also existed through the Byzantine period as well.
The village used to be private property of the De Mezzo family, a venetian family, where they built their three-storeyed house, the Seragio Serai House, which used to host Turkish officers as well during the Turkish occupation and can be seen nowadays. This House is considered to be one of the most important samples of the Venetian architecture in Crete.
The church of St. Aikaterini used to be occupied by the Turks as a mosque until the Cretan revolution in 1897.
At the south of village of Etia there is the hill of Etiani Kefala at an altitude of 715 m. where it used to be a sacred place but unfortunately nowadays looted.
Agia Triáda village
Sitia, East Crete
The Agia Triáda (Holy Trinity GR: Αγία Τριάδα)) Community is 35 km from the town of Sitia at the end of the plateau of Ziros, with a population of 156.
Long ago, the village was called Tso and today it is named after the Cathedral.
Despite of the 8 km distance from the sea, its residents are very good fishermen.
The Agia Triada Community includes the smaller communities of Dasonari, Livari, Achladi, Stalos and Amigdali.
The archaeological search gave many indications of ancient features especially in Stalos where a Minoan settlement and some vaulted tombs were brought to light.
In the area of Livari there is a Minoan cave the Alogara.
Sitia, East Crete
Goúdouras (GR: Γούδουρας), is a coastal settlement near the Cape of Erythraio at the Libyan Sea. It is developing to a sea resort, there are sandy beaches, taverns and lodgings and a small shelter for fishing boats. There is also a remarkable production of early vegetables in green houses.
Nikos Kazantzakis Museum
The Nikos Kazantzakis Museum is dedicated to the great Greek writer, poet and philosopher Nikos Kazantzakis. It was founded in 1983 and it is located at the village Myrtia in Iraklion, next to his father's house.
The museum contains some of his personal belongings (pipes, glasses, pens, etc.) and a rich collection of his manuscripts and letters, first Greek editions of his books, documents from theatrical productions of his works, copies of TV series and movies based on his novels, portraits of Nikos Kazantzakis, copies of press releases and articles on his life and work.
The village of Mournies is a principal village, located 3.8 km south of Hania at 40m a.s.l. It took the name "Mournies" from the numerous mulberry trees, that use to be here even today. At the beginning of the 17th century, Mournies was famous for its beautiful villas, belonging to local noblemen. One of them, located southeast of the village, was the imposing three storey villa of "Koukounara". It had beautiful flowery gardens, fountains, statues ..., a real paradise, where many famous persons were received hospitality, amongst them the glorious Mme Ortans, the empress Eugene of Napoleon the third, queen Olga of Greece, and the king Constantinos in 1913. The villa today, being restored, houses a department of the Geek Navy.
Mournies was the birth place of one of the greatest statesman of the new Hellenic Republic, Eleftherios Venizelos. Venizelos' influence on the history of Greece was paramount, from his participation to the talks with the Ottomans that resulted to granting Crete independence in 1897, to the final union of Crete with Greece in 1913. The house of Venizelos located in Mournies is going to be a museum, and many personal items of the politician are going to be on display there.
It is an historical monastery of the 15th century, which collapsed in the earthquake of 1612 and was rebuilt with the financial aid of the Venetians. During the Ottoman conquest of Crete, the monastery was destroyed and devastated by the Turks. In 1704 the monastery was declared stauropegion. During the Ottoman occupation there was a school in the monastery, while, after 1870, it was founded there a school of mutual teaching. The Monastery is a stauropegion fortress. The main building of 800 m2 has three floors, which are divided into cells, guest - houses, kitchens, the abbot' s residence and warehouses. The katholicon is a two-aisled church; the northern aisle is dedicated to the Virgin, and the southern posterior aisle, to St John the Theologian. The monastery' s characteristic bell tower bears relief crowns and crosses with inscriptions and the date 1558. In the Monastery, there is also an interesting Museum.
Malia Minoan Palace
Archaeological site in Malia, Iraklion
The Palace of Malia, which covered an area of 7,500 sq.m. , was the third- largest of the Minoan Palaces and is considered the most "provincial" from the architectural point of view. The first Palace was built in 1900 BC and destroyed in 1700 BC when a new Palace was built. Following the fate of the other palaces in Crete it was also destroyed in 1450 BC. and the present ruins are mainly those of the new palace.
Historical and Folklore Museum of Gavalohori
Gavalohori, Vamos, Apokoronas
The exhibition of the objects takes place according to the contemporary museum conception, with explanatory texts, photographs, plans, models, and is enriched with new exhibits every year. The Museum is divided into seven rooms, according to the following units: The Arched House, Silk, Pottery, Lace-making, Masonry and Stone carving, Church and Woodcarving.
Kissamos, Hania west coast
Falássarna (GR: Φαλάσαρνα)is a quiet resort, with small hotels, apartments and taverns, close to the wonderful sandy beach. There are also many spots for free camping. Falassarna used to be the port of ancient Polyrinia. The peak of the city of Falassarna was during the Hellenistic period and at the time the city had its own coin. Its port was closed and surrounded by walls and it was connected to the sea with a canal.
Polyrinia ancient town
archaeological site in Kissamos
Polyrinia (GR: Πολυρρήνια) was one of the most important cities-states of the Western Crete.It was built amphitheatrically on top of the hill (418 m altitude) with a commanding view of both the Cretan and the Libyan sea, located 49 km from Hania and 6 km from Kissamos . The history of Polyrinia starts in the Minoan period and continues to the present day.
Α principal village located at 280m a.sl., on the main road to the southern coast, 47km from Hania and 22km from Kastelli with 370 inhabitants. There are a post Office and police station, workshops, olive press, wheat mill etc. The village lies at the entrance of the gorge of Topolia and 27 km away is the monastery of Chrissoskalitissa.
The gorge is lush with plane-trees, wild olive trees, flowers, and bushes. Its walls are 300m high, and the width in some cases is 5m only. Through the gorge flows the river Tiflos.
A little after the village, there is a well maintained footpath on the mountain side which reaches the Agia Sophia Cave at 285m a.s.l. The cave is of great scientific interest, has a diameter of 70m and it is 20m high. There are marvelous stalagmites and stalactites of various shapes.
At the left end there is a small church with an icon that, as tradition says, came from Constantinople, and has been wedged in a rock. In the cave were discovered many finds from neolithic era.
Two patron feasts are taking place there each year: One on Tuesday after Easter and a second on December 24, when the birth of Jesus is represented.
Kissamos west coast
The village of Sfinari is blessed with many water sources so it is overwhelmed with trees and flowers. Fresh fish is guaranteed as it abounds in the sea around the village, dolphins are often seen in the sea. To the rocks near the beautiful beach of Sfinari come the seals to give birth to their babes. The village offers many rooms for accommodation and there are taverns in the village and by the beach in the trees that cover the sea side.
Agia Rouméli village - Tarra
Sfakia, South Hania
Agia Rouméli (GR: Αγία Ρουμέλη)is a small fishing village, approximately two kms from the ending of Samaria Gorge. It is accessible only by boat from Paleohora, and from Hora Sfakion. It serves mainly as a stopover for visitors coming down the Samaria Gorge, and waiting for the boat to take them to Sfakia or Paleohora. However those who decide to stay for a couple of days or more will find apart from the unique scenery, a great beach with crystal clear water, plenty of interesting walks and a good choice of accommodations, taverns, cafés and stores.
The place is also rich in history as it was inhabited since the antiquity. It is the site of the ancient city of Tárra (GR: Τάρρα), a famous cult place, that flourished from the Classical to the Roman times.
Sfakia, South Hania
Loutro is a small village halfway from Agia Roumeli, where the Samarian gorge ends, to Hora Sfakion, accessible only by boat. The majestic scenery, the calm, the crystal clear water and the hospitality of the local people gave Loutro numerous friends and ardent visitors. No cars, no bikes... nothing to spoil the peace of this historical place. Some small hotels, apartments and rooms as well as a few lovely taverns offer their guests a friendly atmosphere that makes Loutro an ideal place for vacation and relax.
Adele Village & Beach
Adele village is at a distance of approximately 8 Km east of Rethymnon town located on the road to the Monastery of Arkadi. It is a beautiful small village built in an altitude of 70m above sea level with a population of 350 people. Strolling around the village, through the narrow paved small streets the visitor will come upon beautiful picturesque house yards, freshly whitewashed houses, historical churches and tasteful traditional coffee shops.
A beautiful small town in the county of Rethymno with great views, natural water springs and lush vegetation. It's located at 260m a.s.l. between the rivers "Mousselas" and "Petres", 22km from the national road and 5km from Episkopi. Argiroupolis is the site of the ancient city of Lapa.
Agia Paraskevi Cave
This is one of the three largest caves in the prefecture of Heraklion. It lies at half an hour distance to the north-west from the village of Skotino and is at a height of 225 m. above sea-level. The entrance to the cave is impressive: a large arch, 27 m wide and 10 m high. To the right one can see the ruins of an ancient chapel on which the modern chapel dedicated to Aghia Paraskevi was built. There is a feast held in front of the chapel on July 26th .
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