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Makry Gialos Minoan Villa
In 1971 systematic excavations were begun by the Ephor of Antiquities Kostis Davaras north-west of the village at Plakakia. Here he located an important villa of the lateminoan period. The dig was completed in 1977 having shown that the villa had been destroyed by fire.It had strong outer walls, inner courts, many rooms with thresholds, flagged floors and areas perhaps connected with the worship of the Sacred Tree. It must have been roofed with bamboo canes covered by a layer of clay (as a number of the older traditional village houses still are). Among the most important movable finds were vessels of pottery and stone, figurines and an amygdaloid seal-stone of steatite engraved with a representation of a Sacred Ship. On the ship a sacred precinct or altar is shown with a tall palm-like tree standing like a mast. On the prow of the ship a worshiper or a priestess stands facing the altar, clenched fist raised to the brow in the recognized Minoan attitude of worship. This is the first clear evidence of the existence of Sacred Ships or Boats connected with the Minoan religion; it has its parallels in the ancient religions of Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Source: "Sitia" by Nikos Papadakis - archaeologist
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.
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".
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.
Sitia General Hospital
The hospital provides full medical treatment and services.
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Palaikastro Archaeological site
Sitia, East Lassithi
At the northernmost edge of the eastern coast of Crete lie the ruins of a settlement which flourished during the Late Minoan period (1550-1220 B.C.). At the same site, however, are preserved remains of the Early and Middle Minoan periods (3000-1550 B.C.), mostly cemeteries with well-built ossuaries, and ruins of spacious houses. The site ceased to be inhabited at the same time when Zakros was abandoned (1450 B.C.) but was reoccupied during the Late Minoan III period (1300-1200 B.C.). The city covered a total area of more than 50,000 sq.m., was densely inhabited but not fortified.
To the NE of one of the city's sectors lies the sanctuary of Diktaian Zeus, which belonged administratively to the city of Itanos. Cult practice was continuous from the Geometric period (8th century B.C.) until the Roman conquest. It seems that the sanctuary was plundered and destroyed by fanatic Christians at the end of the 4th century A.D.
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.
Sitia, East Crete
The village of Tourloti (GR: Τουρλωτή) is located in Eastern Crete, on the road from Agios Nikolaos to Sitia. Tourloti is 42 km from Agios Nikolaos and 27 Km from Sitia. Tourloti is a small, traditional village, the largest of a group of four, dotted across the hillsides in this area. It has changed little in the past few decades, and remains untouched by tourism.
However, it retains a healthy vibrant Greek community, of families living and working in the local area. The village has a prominent church, primary school, two small mini-markets, a bakery, chemist, post office, two kafenions and one small traditional taverna. The narrow streets with white washed houses, flower filled alleyways, and glimpses of spectacular views, give the village a unique, timeless sense of tranquility, far removed from modern city life. It is the centre for several religious celebrations and festivals, especially over Easter and the summer months.
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.
Vitsetzos Kornaros (1553 – 1613/1614)
Cretan poet of the Greek Renaissance
Vitsentzos or Vikentios Kornáros (GR: Βιτσέντζος or Βικέντιος Κορνάρος) or Vincenzo Cornaro (March 29, 1553 – 1613/1614) was a Cretan poet of the Greek Renaissance who wrote the romantic epic poem Erotokritos. He was a leading figure of the Cretan Renaissance.
Not many biographical sources exist about Kornaros himself apart from the last verses of Erotokritos. It is believed that he was born to a wealthy family in Trapezonda near Sitia, in 1553, and lived there roughly up to 1590. He then moved to Candia (present Iraklion), where he married to Marietta Zeno. Together they had two daughters named Helen and Katerina.
E4 Trail: 01. Kato Zakros to Zakros
Richard Ellis walk: Day 1
The E4 path out of Zakros starts a short way south of Hotel Zakros on the main road and is signed up to the right along with signs for old water mills and the like. You have to poke about a bit in the upper levels of Zakros to be certain of being on the right path but upwards and westwards is the key.
Time: 1.5 hrs.
Mov av 4.9 km/hr
Height overnight: 225 m.
E4 Trail: 02. Zakros to Vori
Richard Ellis walk: Day 2
2nd June - This is a fabulous start to the main walk, especially the first part from Zakros to Ziros across the high plains at about 700 to 800 m. The climb up out of Zakros on the old mule track (kalderimi) is gentle even if a bit broken and a bit overgrown in places.
Time: 8 hrs. 40 mins
Mov av 4.4 km/hr
Height overnight: 260 m.
E4 Trail: 03. Vori to Orino
Richard Ellis walk: Day 3
June 3rd - ...The short, direct, one marked with E4 signs ends in an olive grove with no way out ! You keep climbing on the basis that you will meet up with the Anavasi version of the route and then all of a sudden you find the dreaded stock fencing. I was lucky to find a way through (over) it, scramble up and over a ridge and see the easier, but longer, dirt road alternative on the other side of a full-flowing river. However, my choice of route seemed to be what the EOS expects you to do, as suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, there was another rare E4 sign on my side of the road on the way down to the river...
Time: 9 hrs.
Mov av 4.3 km/hr
Height overnight: 605m.(max 775 m.)
E4 Trail: 04. Orino to Metochi Asari
Richard Ellis walk: Day 4
June 4th - There now followed two 30-plus kilometer days aggravated by the fact that I wanted to summit each range that I passed through - even though there is no strict E4 requirement to do this. So, I set off from Orino by 7.00 am on the clearly marked dirt road which is the pass through the mountains towards the village of Thripti.
Time: 11.5 hrs.
Mov av 4.2 km/hr
Height overnight: 330m.(max 1,476m.)
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