Crete : Regional Interest
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Lentas, South Iraklion
The first habitation of the site dates from the Neolithic and Early Minoan period (3rd millenium B.C.). In the late Classical period (beginning of the 4th century B.C.) the Gortynians established the sanctuary of Asklepios at the harbour. During the tremendous earthquake of 46 B.C. the city was destroyed and subsequently rebuilt. In the Early Christian and Byzantine periods, a small settlement developed and the basilica was erected. The most important monuments of the site are:
The Temple of Asklepios., the "Treasury"., the Fountain, a large, three-aisled basilica, an Early Minoan settlement (2600-2000 B.C.), the West Stoa, the North Stoa, the Nymphaion and two large, mud-brick cisterns.
Martinego Bastion - Kazantzakis tomb
The bastion heart shaped in plan with an acute angle, has two "piazza bassa" and one cavalier. It defines the southeast and the highest part of the fortification. Its name is due to Gabriele Tadini Martinego (1520) who started the construction of a circular tower at the place of the later bastion. It was one of the strongest bastions (the others were that of Pantocratora and that of Vittouri) which also suffered the main attack and most of the bombardment from the Turks.
On the top of the bastion itself there was made a cavalier (which looks like a smaller bastion), whose main purpose was the better defense and control of the area around the bastion.
The grave of Nikos Kazantzakis, the famous Cretan writer, is situated on the highest point of the Venetian fortification at the Martinego cavalier. The inscription by the wooden cross reads: " I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free ", a phrase taken from "The Odyssey" which Kazantzakis considered as one of his most significant works.
The playgrounds of the Academy of the local football team "Ergotelis" are located today on the main bastion and in the ditch around the bastion are the botanical gardens of the city.
Sirikari (GR Σηρικάρι) is a small village located 52 km away from Hania and 14 km from Kastelli at 500m a.s.l. The name Sirikari probably comes from the profession of the first settler, who has to be a silk weaver (Sirikaris).
A short ravine starts from Sirikari and ends close to Polyrinia. There is also a chestnut tree forest, the cave of the Holy Mother (Panagias), the byzantine church of Agii Apostoli, with frescoes of 14th century a monument of great importance and two old factories.
Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture (IMBBC)
A modern competitive organisation, IMBBC (part of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research - www.hcmr.gr) is widely recognized as one of the leading institutes in the Mediterranean. Its installations are located at Gournes, near Heraklion, Crete, where its laboratories, administration, library and conference facilities cover 1.500 m2. It has a wide range of state-of-the-art facilities needed to carry out its basic and applied research.
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.
Ágios Pávlos beach
Sfakia, South Hania
Ágios Pávlos (GR: Άγιος Παύλος)is a beach on the shores of Sfakiá between Agia Rouméli and Loutró. The pine trees from the high cliffs above almost reach the sea and form a unique landscape. The beach is sandy with pebbles with no facilities except for a small tavern. It can be reached only on foot ( about 1 hour walk from Agia Roumeli) or by boat. The picturesque small church of Agios Pavlos (Saint Paul) a byzantine basilica of the 10th century A.D. with frescoes, lies just a few meters from the sea. It is built with stones from the beach itself on the spot where Saint Paul reportedly baptised people on his way to Rome.
Xylóskalo (Ksyloskalo GR: Ξυλόσκαλο) is the point where the Samarian gorge starts. It is located on the Lefka Ori (White Mountains) in the plateau of Omalos, 43 km from the city of Hania at 1250m above sea level. It is also the entrance to the gorge. There are two tourist lodges where visitors can rest and have food or coffee and take panoramic pictures of the gorge and the White Mountains. There is also the information center of the National Park and a parking area.
Xyloskalo means the "wooden stair" and refers to a wooden staircase built by the locals in order to facilitate the entrance to the gorge as at this point the cliffs are very steep. Today this part of the path is made of stones and it has a wooden handrail.
About 1km before Xyloskalo a dirt road leads, after 5 km, to the Kallergis mountain lodge at 1680m a.s.l.
White Mountains, Hania
The famous - mainly due to the gorge of Samaria- plateau of Omalos (GR: Ομαλός) is surrounded by the high crowns of the Lefka Ori (White Mountains) at 1,040 to 1,250 meters and is just 38 km from the town of Chania. It extends to the counties of Sfakia, Selino and Kydonia in the prefecture of Hania. Its shape is nearly rectangular with a perimeter of about 25kms and a diameter of approximately 4 kms. It can be reached by car from the north (Neratzoporo) and from the south (Agios Theodoros).
Kissamos west coast
Platanos (GR: Πλάτανος = plane-tree) is located 10 km from Kasteli Kissamos. It is a large village, the second largest in Kissamos area, after Kasteli. It has approximately 1000 inhabidants, which are occupied mainly in green house and olive cultivation and tourism.
There is a doctor's office, gas stations, many shops, rooms for rent and taverns.
At the village's old square stand a plane-tree with a fountain.
A flourishing traditional seaside town on the Apokoronas Peninsula 17km east of Hania. Kalýves (or Kalives GR: Καλύβες) with its old tiled stone houses, mixed with the latest buildings form two separate districts, with typical island style. Most of it is literally built on the sea and has 1289 residents. Xydás (GR: Ξυδάς) river that runs through the town, is giving it a unique character and a cool climate that prevents the heat of summer. In the square, you will see a traditional water mill built in the early 20th century, one of the oldest in the area. Kalives is tastefully developed for tourism, and welcomes many visitors during the summer season to its safe sandy beach. With comprehensive amenities, there are many shops, taverns and kafeneion, in addition to banking, post office and petrol station facilities.
Two small villages, Epano & Kato (Upper & Lower) Rodakino halfway from Plakias to Frangokastelo, overlooking the bay of Korakas. Rodakino is 42 kms from Rethimnon, 27 kms from Hora Sfakion and 13 kms from Fragokastello. Rodakino is surrounded by small beaches some of them accessible only by foot, were visitors can isolate themselves from any trace of civilization. There are some small hotels and rooms to rent available and a couple of tavernas. The road to Rodakino is asphalt paved and there is a bus service to Rodakino from Rethimnon twice a day.
In the village the visitor can find a taxi station, and a gasoline station. A doctor is available for medical emergencies on the village of Plakias approximately 15 kms from Rodakino.
Rodakino played its own part during the eons, in the fighting of the Cretans against all the invaders. The village was totally destroyed during the Venetian occupation, with only one resident escaping to Peloponnese in Greece . Years after the destruction he returned to the site of the village, and he rebuilt it.
In Kourkoylo one of the quarters of the village the first rising of the flag of the revolution against the Turks was raised on May 24th 1821.
During the second World War the kidnapped German general Craipe was sent away from the bay of Korakas to the Middle East.
Rodakino, South Rethymno
At the end of the canyon that traverses the area of Rodakino lies the beach of Korakas at the bay of the same name. It is a nice, wide and 400m long beach, with clear waters and small grayish sand and pebbles. There are a few accommodation options in family run apartment complexes and a few taverns on the beach front. Umbrellas and sun beds are also available at the eastern part. The headland to the east separate Korakas Beach from another lovely beach named "Klimata". At the east side of that headland there is a small fishing harbour and along its coast there are sharp rocks in the shape of a crow's beak (Kórakas GR: Κόρακας, means crow) thus giving the name to the bay.
Pyrgou lies 20 km from Iraklion and 1km from Agios Myron at 400m a.s.l with 354 inhabitants. It is built on a hillside overlooking the area, with panoramic view to the village of Kroussonas and the ravine of "Agia Irini".
At the village's perimeter there are well maintained tower-like houses.
Gouves (Pano) Village
Pano Gouves (GR: Πάνω Γούβες) is a village of the district of Pediada in the prefecture of Iraklion at a height of 100 metres above sea-level. It lies twenty kms away from Iraklion, to the right at 17.3 kms on the National Road to Aghios Nikolaos. The village is built on the western flanks of the Ederi hill (322 m.). The name comes from "edera" which means ivy and symbolises affection.
The name Gouves, on the other hand, comes from Gouva and means a hollow in the earth. It also means, in Crete, a hole in which during the middle ages, people stored their wheat.
The earliest reference we have of the village is that of "Guves" in 1387 documents of the Duke’s archives in Chandax. Later on, in 1577, Fr. Barozzi mentions "Guvos" in the district of Pediados, and then "Guves" in the 1583 Register, with 252 inhabitants. Finally, in 1630, Vassilikata refers to "Vuves’.
This is the birthplace of the poet Ioannis Konstantinidis.
There are several outstanding churches in the village, among them: Zoodochos Pigis, Aghios Giorgos, Aghios Ioannis and Panayia (dedicated to the birth of Our Lady).
Matala, South - West Iraklion
The Red beach is located around 700m south from Matala. It is a beautiful secluded beach with fine reddish sand originating from the rocks of the area. The name "Red Beach" is given by the visitors due to its reddish color while its original name is Ammoúdia (GR: Αμμούδια). The sea gets a lovely blue-green color, making the landscape really unique. The only way to access Red Beach is on foot or by boat from Matala. The walk from Matala takes about 20 minutes and it can't be considered as an easy one. Red Beach however can get pretty crowded in the high season. There is a small stone-wall canteen offering snacks and drinks and a few umbrellas and sun-beds.
Nudism is tolerated at the two ends of the beach.
Priniás (GR: Πρινιάς) is a small village located 35km southwest of Iraklion town and 4km from Agia Varvara, at a height of 610 m above sea level. The village of Prinias lies on the border of three regions: Malevizi, Kenouriou and Monofatsi, and is recorded as forming part of all three regions in the censi.
At a height of 140m. above sea-level, this village has 142 inhabitants and is 22.5 kms away from Iraklion. According to the villagers, the name comes from the church of Aghios Nikolaos Skotino at the entrance of a cave. It was built at the end of the Venetian period. Today an extra wing has been added, dedicated to Aghios Charalambos. This church of Aghios Nikolaos Skotino presumably functioned as a "Hedge School" (or "Hidden School") under Turkish rule when education had been banned. When the locals said: "We are going to Skotino (which also means "darkness")", they meant they were going to school.
Turkish administration refers to this place as Skotino Perasma in 1671.
Very close to the village (1.5 km) the cave of Aghia Paraskevi draws crowds of tourists and is well worth a visit.
Arkalohóri Exhibition Centre & Theatre
A modern exhibition and congressional centre offering 8000 square meters of total space, 1500 of them being indoors. Among many events that take place in this centre is the Pancretan Agricultural and Commercial Exhibition of Arkalochori held every two years at the end of August. The exhibition attracts a large number of enterprises, manufacturers and services participating and is being visited by over 30,000 visitors from all over Crete. It is considered to contribute essentially in the rapid commercial and cultural development of the wider area.
The Municipal Open Theatre
Located in the area of the exhibition centre the theatre is of semicircular shape with a capacity of approximately 1000 seats. The facility offers also a canteen, toilets, dressing-rooms for the actors, store room of scene and backstage.The cultural events that the Municipality organises every summer, attract visitors not only from the wider area but also from Iraklion city.
Malevizi, North - West Iraklion
A traditional village - birth place of Domenikos Theotokopoulos (EL GRECO) - with many pottery and weaving workshops. Close to the village is a small beach with taverns and a large hotel resort. Fodele is known also for its quality orange production.
Zouridi is a village of the county of Rethymno, located 19,5 km away from the city, built at 260m a.s.l. with 90 inhabitants. Here excavations unearthed findings from the post palace period, and the Roman period as well as many venetian houses. Nowadays the village is characterized as a preservable settlement, and buildings such as the old high school are going to be restored.
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