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Sitia, East Lassithi
The village of Handras (or Chandras (GR: Χανδράς) is in the Municipality of Lefki at the Armeni-Handras plateau and 27 km from the town of Sitia.
First recorded in a venetian census in 1583 as Candra and Chandra with a population of 399 like today.
Ancient Minoan sites were found at the Plakalonia area as well as at the Gras and Katrani places.
There is a peak sanctuary at the hill of Xykefalo between Handras and Kasteliona at an altitude of 705 m. In spite of its looting a lot of ancient objects were found.
The cave of Panagia Gouda is at the Handra region.
This region includes the communities of Voila, Agios Panteleimonas and Pano Panteli. At Pano Panteli there is an old church the Metamorfosis in which there is an inscription that says: Petro Abramo was here in 1486.
Voila medieval settlement
Sitia, East Lassithi
The settlement of Voila (GR: Βόϊλα) is 1km away from the village of Handras. It is a medieval deserted village protected by the Greek Archaeological Authorities.
Passing through the village's alleys you can still see the ruins of old houses and their rooms, their venetian features and through this sacred silence of the place you have the impression that you hear the Byzantine king, the medieval knight or the Turk fighter gallop away.
The name of the village probably comes from the Byzantine word VOILAS or VOLIAS meaning the nobleman, the land owner.
In a census carried out by Kastrofilaka in 1583, the village of Voila had a population of 301. Many elements show that the village belonged to the venetian family of Zenos which during the Turkish occupation adopted the Ottoman religion and was renamed.The tradition says that he was the owner of a Castle in Voila which has an external inscription with the date 1153 equal to 1742 of the Christian diary. At the south of the castle there is a ruined church known as the church of Ginali.
Other attraction at the area is the old painted church of St. George dated back to the 15th century. From the inscription it is obvious that there is a family tomb of Salamons. The Solomons of the island of Zakynthos where our national poet Dionisios Solomos comes from, are believed to having been descended from the Salamons of Sitia.
At the top of the hill overlooking the village there is a fortress dated back to the Venetian occupation of the island of Crete.
Ierápetra Archaeological Museum
Ierapetra town, South Lassithi
The museum was founded at the end of the 19th century, during the Turkish occupation of Crete and was housed in several buildings in the past. Today it is housed in the building of the Commercial Ottoman School, which is protected by a preservation order. The collection includes findings from the broader area and from the Minoan to the Roman period. Among the items are painted sarcophagi, lamps, vases, figurines, relief plaques. One of the most important exhibits of the museum is the Clay sarcophagus dated to 1450-1400 B.C.
Ierapetra town, South Lassithi
The fort, built by the Venetians and Known to Ierapetrans as the "Kalés" (GR: Καλές), has been erected on the top of the southernmost mole of the ancient harbour. It is one of those monuments of the past which, because of its solid construction and the fact that it was still garrisoned until the latest years of the last century, still exists today to serve as a reminder of some of the nation's most difficult times.
The Municipality of NIKIFOROS FOKAS
The Municipality of Nikiforos Fokas is located in the north of Rethymnon Prefecture. The area is known for its outstanding natural beauty and its historical tradition and architecture. All of the municipality's settlements are steeped in history and contain fine examples of architecture, featuring stone buildings with vaulted entrances (known as "diavatika") and magnificent thresholds.
The municipality's jurisdiction extends over the fourteen former community wards of Agios Konstantinos, Ano Valsamonero, Atsipopoulo, Gerani, Gonia (Athanatos), Zouridi, Kalonyktis, Kato Valsamonero, Malaki, Mountros, Prines, Roustika, Saitoures and Frantzeskiana Metochia, which comprise a total of 21 villages.
The village of Apodoulou is located 55 km from Rethimno at an altitude of 450m. Remains of an extensive centre of the Old Palace period (1950-1700 B.C.) have been uncovered.at the site called Gournes, near the village of Apodoulou, at the west foot of Psiloreitis. The site dominates the Amari valley and controls the main route to the Messara plain. Excavations have brought to light three building complexes while tholos tombs of the Postpalatial period (1380-1200 B.C.) have also been located in the adjacent area.
The first excavations on the site were carried out by S. Marinatos in the 1930's. During World War II it was excavated by the German Archaeological Institute, under the direction of E. Kirsten. Since 1985, systematic excavations have been carried out by the Greek Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the University of Naples.
The most important monuments on the site are:
Building A. It lies on the east side of the hill, to the south of the massive retaining wall. It had two storeys, as is indicated by the two preserved steps of a staircase. Decades of pithoi and other vases found on the ground floor suggest that it was used for storage. The house was destroyed by fire which followed an earthquake.
Building B, located to the north of the retaining wall. It is a complex of rooms which originally communicated with Building A.
Building C. It lies to the east of house A and belongs to a later phase of the settlement.
Tholos tomb at Sopatakia. Tholos tomb with dromos, lying to the east of the road that leads from Apodoulou to Nithavris. The dromos is 7 m. long and the chamber has a diameter of 3.10 m. Three larnakes were found inside the burial chamber. Dated to 1380-1200 B.C.
Source: The Hellenic Ministry of Culture
Kastelli (GR: Καστέλλι) is a small town in the countryside of the province of Pediada. It has over 2000 inhabitants and provides all the modern facilities and public services its residents and/or visitors may need. Many events are organized through the year by the municipality, the school and the cultural centre. In August a special festival, known as the Feast of Xenitemenou (ex-patriot feast) includes concerts, folklore, exhibitions and theatre plays.
Kenouriou, South Iraklion
Zaros (Greek: Ζαρός), at an altitude of 340 metres, is a town with a lake and gorge nearby. It has a couple of hotels and it is 44 km from Heraklion at the southern foothills of Mountain Psiloritis. The population of 3,400, produce olive oil, sultanas, vegetables and spring water. There are a couple of fish farms that serve both trout and salmon.
In Zaros, there are cafes near Lake Votomos, as well as a tavern that serves fresh trout called I Limni (The Lake). Close by is Rouvas Gorge, which is part of the Psiloritis mountain range and is on the hiking route known as the E4 European Walking Path. Nearby Zaros are traditional water mills which have been working since the 16th century, as well as archaeological sites and monasteries.
Zaros is also famous for its water "ZAROS" bottled by a company called Votomos SA.
Sitia, East Lassithi
Piskokéfalo (GR: Πισκοκέφαλο), a principal village located 3 km south of Sitia. Piskokefalo is the birth place of the great poet Vincentzos Kornaros, who wrote the masterpiece of Medieval poetry, "Erotokritos". The village is mentioned at the census of 1577 by Fr. Barozzi, and became the seat of the commanding officer, after the destruction of the town of Sitia in 1538 by the pirate Chairentin Barbarossa.
Nowadays Piskokefalo is a beautiful village where a stop is worthwhile.
The visitor can see the house of Kornaros, enjoy a coffee or a meal at the village's square, visit the spring at Zou, the old water mill, the church of "Agia Anna" and the small chapel of "Panagia Trapezounta".
Phourni Archaeological Site
Excavations at Phourni have brought to light 26 buildings, most of which had funerary use. The cemetery was used from 2400 B.C. until 1200 B.C. and each complex had more than one architectural phase. Most of the funerary buildings were used for many decades and contain successive burials. Excavations were begun in 1964 by Efi and John Sakellarakis and have been continued until today (1995) with short interruptions. Most of the buildings are preserved in good condition.
A small traditional town (~4000 people) 15 km south of Iraklion on the foot of the sacred mountain Yiouhtas. Renowned for its excellent wine (from the varieties: vilana, kotsifali and madilari) and the archaeolocical sites and caves.
In 1912, Xanthoudides noted the importance of Archanes, but Sir Arthur Evans was the first to characterize the site as palatial, declaring that Archanes was likely a Summer Palace for the Knossos kings. Spyridon Marinatos and N. Platon excavated minor areas in the region, but nothing supported Evans' theory. In 1964, J. Sakellarakis dug trial trenches at the Tourkoyeitonia site and uncovered the first evidence of a palace site. Since 1966, Archanes has been excavated by the Greek Archaeaological Society under the supervision of John Sakellarakis and Efi Sapouna-Sakellarakis.
The plateau is located in the center of the Ida mountain range at an altitude of 1400 m. It can be accessed from various sides but the only asphalt road is from the town of Anogeia. It has a roughly triangular shape and is almost flat. Visitors can enjoy the wild landscape, take a walk to the entrance of Idaion cave or to the freedom fighter sculpture, made with boulders from the mountain. An other interesting attraction is the various Mitata scattered all over the area.
Those are circular domed buildings made with stones and used by shepherds for accommodation and storage of cheese.
There is also a tavern with traditional food.
The area of Nida, in earlier times, before the systematic farming and logging damage the flora of Psiloritis, was covered by forests in which mythological and traditional tales put different events. Here Dimitra fell in love with the mortal Iasion.
The village of Milia
A traditional stone built settlement restored and available for accommodation. Near the forest of Vlatos.
Ancient town in Selino, South Hania
Located ~2.3km west of Sougia it was the religious centre of the cities in south-west Crete and the port of Elyros. It flourished during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. In 1957-58 Asklepieion was excavated by N. Platon. The most important monuments of the site are: The Temple of Asklepios, dated to the Hellenistic and Roman periods, Part of a Roman theatre, Rock-cut and built chamber tombs.
There two byzantine chapels dedicated to Our Lady and Agios Kirikos
The beach in the small cove has coarse pebbles and clear waters.
Lissos (GR: Λισσός) nowadays is uninhabited and can be reached from Sougia only by foot (~1& 1/2 hours walk) or by boat (~20 minutes).
Aptera & Itzedin Forts
Aptera, Apokoronas, Hania
Those are two Turkish castles that are built in the 19th century using material from the nearby archaeological site of Aptera. The lower castle is that of Itzedin (also known as Kalami fort) named in honour of the son of the Sultan of the time, by the commander of Crete, Reouf Pasha was used in the past as a prison.
Elyros, Ancient city
Elyros ("Έλυρος" in Greek) is an ancient city, located in southwest Crete, in Kefala Hill, near the village Rodovani and is presently unexcavated. Elyros was flourishing at least as early as the Greek Classical Period, e.g. 500 to 350 BC. In the Classical Period Elyros was the most important ancient city in southwestern Crete, having about 16,000 inhabitants. It was an industrial and commercial city with large weapons production. Syia and Lissos were its harbours. Apollo, Phylakides and Philandros, sons of Apollo and nymph Akakallida, were worshiped there. In the third century BC Elyros was at war with Kydonia, an important center of Cretan power, located in the modern city of Chania. The citizens of Elyros sent to the Delphi Oracle, a bronze votive complex that represents a goat feeding the sons of Apollo when they were infants. It is also one of the thirty cities that signed the decree with Eumenes B’ in 183 BC.Elyros was also important during Roman times. A Roman statue, the Philosopher of Elyros was recovered here and is now in the Archaeological Museum of Chania. During Byzantine times, Elyros was the seat of an Archbishop and the remains of the bishopric church, a sixth century basilica, can still be seen in the centre of the old city. Robert Pashley was the first who identified the location of the city, near village Rodovani. Thenon studied more carefully the ruins of the city and discovered the inscription that says: “it seemed to the city of the Elyrians”.
The output of its mint consists of silver drachms from the 3rd c. BC, which depict a wild goat and a bee; in addition to their function as religious symbols, these undoubtedly hint at the stock-raising activities in the region, particularly to this kind of wild goat, which can still be found in great numbers on the island. The bee also has reference to the abundant honey-production of Crete.
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 Aghios Nikolaos, in a verdurous slope within immense olive groves, with an unlimited view to the valley of Myrtos, the Libyan Sea and the mountain peaks that surround it.
Malevizi, North - West Iraklion
Kroussónas (GR: Κρουσώνας) is an historical town built in a semi-circle on the eastern slopes of the Psilortis (the highest mountain in Crete), between the hills of Koupos and Livadiotis, at 460 meters above sea-level. It is at a distance of 21 kilometres from Heraklion. A magnificent 10kms route, ideal for nature-lovers is that from Kroussonas to the wood of Vromonero at 1300m a.s.l.
Lato - Archaeological Site
Lato (Gr: Λατώ) was an ancient city of Crete, the ruins of which are located approximately 3 km from the small town of Kritsa. The Dorian city-state was built in a defensible position overlooking Mirabello Bay between two peaks, both of which became acropolises to the city. Although the city probably predates the arrival of the Dorians, the ruins date mainly from the Dorian period (fifth and fourth centuries BC). The city was destroyed ca. 200 BCE, but its port (Lato Etera or Lato pros Kamara), located near Agios Nikolaos was in use during Roman rule.
There is some suggestion that the city was named after the goddess Leto (of which Lato is the usual Doric form) and may be mentioned in Linear B tablets as RA-TO. Lato also minted coins in antiquity, bearing the likeness of the goddess Eileithyia who appears to have been the one particularly worshipped at Lato.
Nearchus, admiral of Alexander the Great, was born at Lato.
Erotokritos, medieval poetry
masterpiece of the Cretan Renaissance
Erotokritos (GR: Ερωτόκριτος) has been characterized as a masterpiece of the Greek language which unites the magic of myth and a deep understanding of everyday life. It expresses the "threefold ideal which is bravery, beauty and wisdom." A work rooted deeply in authentic Greek traditions, humanity, true feeling and pure love for life and freedom.
The story takes place in Athens where King Herakles lives with his wife Artemis and their very beautiful daughter Aretousa, with whom the handsome and brave young man Erotokritos, son of the king's advisor, has fallen in love. After many difficulties and trials, the couple is married amidst celebrations and magnificent contests.
The world of this work is the ideal Greek world of friendship, pure feelings, authentic Greek traditions. It is the world of the beauty of Athens and Crete which is "the throne of virtue and the river of wisdom."
The language of this work is authentic Greek and Cretan, a synthesis and conscious effort of the poet to express lofty human feelings and values with simplicity, directness and truth.
The poem was written by Vitsentzos Kornaros (1553-1613/14) a noble Cretan from Sitia with a very strong presence in Greek letters.
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