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Zakros%20Palace%20and%20Archaeological%20Site
Zakros Palace and Archaeological Site
Sitia, East Crete
at 0km (N)
Like the other Cretan palaces, the palace of Zakros, was first built in about 1900 B.C. The present ruins seen by the visitor belong to the second building phase, in about 1600 BC.
The total area of the palace, including ancillary buildings, is approximately 10,000 sq.m. It was not only the permanent residence of the royal family, but also the administrative, as well as commercial and religious centre of the surrounding area.
The long term excavations have yielded over 10,000 objects, many of them considered unique, which are now on display in the Iraklion and Sitia museums.

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Kato Zakros
Kato Zakros
at 0.2km (SE)
Small coastal village at the eastern edge of Crete. Here in 1961 a great Greek archaeoligist, N.Platon, unearthed the fourth largest Minoan Palace. Nowadays in Kato Zakros (GR: Κάτω Ζάκρος) live a few people, occuping with farming, and fishing. There are a few taverns and cafe bars available for the visitors as well as a few rooms for rent. The scenery is great and the sandy beach with crystal clear water is one of the nicest in eastern Crete. Apart from a visit to the Minoan site the visitors can take a walk through the imposing gorge of the dead or follow the path along the coast to the cave of Pelekita

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Zakros Gorge of Dead
Zakros, Sitia, East Crete
at 1.4km (W)
Within a few distance from the town of Zakros, starts the Gorge, which ends at the bay of Kato Zakros, almost near the Palace area. This gorge is of outstanding beauty, with large caves in its walls. In those caves were discovered tombs dated to the Minoan period, and finds of great archaeological importance. That is the reason why the caves are named "The Caves of Dead" and the gorge "The Gorge of Dead".
Because of its natural beauty and archaeological significance the gorge attracts numerous visitors every year.

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Pelekita Cave
Zakros, Sitia, East Crete
at 2.8km (NE)
The cave, with impressive stalagmites and stalactites, is located near the sea (~200m), at Pelekitá (GR: Πελεκητά), a place 3km away from the Palace of Zakros (~1 hour walk)and above the small bay of Karoumbi. In this cave were discovered signs of neolithic habitation. Its entrance is at 105m above sea, it is 310m long and its area is approximately 4.500m2. A little further there was found also the quarry from where the ancients took the stones to built their Palace (hence the name "Pelekita"). The cave is also known as "Sikias Spilios" (the fig tree's cave) due to the fig tree that is located at its entrance. The view to the sea from there is magnificent.

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Zákros town
Sitia, East Crete
at 4.2km (W)
A picturesque town built at 260 m. above sea level, located at the end of the road from Sitia to the eastern part of the island, 38km away from Sitia and 19,5km from Palekastro. Zakros has 750 inhabitants, farmers, producing olive oil of excelent quality, stock breeders and fishermen. It is the commercial and administrative center of the area with the villages : Adravasti (75 inhabitants, 300m a.s.l.), Azokeramos (58 inhabitants, 230m a.s.l.), Kelaria (34 inhabitants, 250m a.s.l.), Klissidi (15 inhabitants, 220m a.s.l.) and Kato Zakros a small coastal village, site of the fourth large Minoan Palace, located 7.5km from Zakros at the bay of the same name.
There is regular public bus transportation from Sitia to Zakros.
The town and the wider area offers quite few facilities to the visitors, apartments for rent, restaurants cafes, shops etc. During the summer cultural events are taking place at the central square of the town, attracting both tourists and locals.
The area is characterized by lush vegetation, due to the many springs and streams with running water, while watermills were built in some of them.

Xerokampos
Xerokampos
Sitia, East Crete
at 7km (SW)
Xerókampos (GR: Ξερόκαμπος) is a beautiful coastal settlement in a place of natural beauty.
The distance from Ziros is 20 km and from Zakros 11 km. The wonderful beaches, the healthy climate and the important ancient places of interest attract both Greek and foreign visitors. The settlement offers a infrastructure of small hotels, apartments, taverns, super markets and supporting facilities.
Xerokampos is an old settlement. It is first recorded in the 1583 Venetian census. The ancients were certainly aware of the beauty of this place and its important position and the site has been inhabited since the Minoan times.
The settlement would appear to have been at the spot called Katsounaki and on Trahilas hill a peak sanctuary already looted was discovered. There are important ancient sites from Hellenic times on the hills of Antisternia and Farmakokefalo.
At Farmakokefalo where the excavations are under the authority of the archaeologist N. Papadakis an important town, mainly of the Hellenistic era was brought to light. It is possible that the town is Ambelos which various literary sources and correlation place in this area of Crete.

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Palaikastro Archaeological site
Sitia, East Lassithi
at 10.8km (N)
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.

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Palaikastro town
Sitia, East Lassithi
at 11km (N)
Palekastro (Palaíkastro GR: Παλαίκαστρο) is a lively, unpretentious town, at the east coast of Crete 20 km. away from Sitia and the seat of the Municipality of Itanos. It was named after an old castle. Its sources main income is agriculture and tourism. Although the town is growing, it manages and retain its character and charm. The town's square is the center of activities and is lined with cafes and taverns. Many a pleasant hour can be passed here, watching the world go by. During the summer months, weddings are often held in the village, with the huge wedding feast taking place in the square, to which everyone is invited. A chance to try your hand at Cretan dancing!

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Ziros village
Sitia, East Crete
at 11.3km (W)
The hilly village of Ziros (GR: Ζήρος) spreads over the lower slopes that the locals call Egremno (the Cliff) at an alti-tude of 590 m. at the pictureque Armeni-Handras plateau.
The village is the seat of the Municipality of Lefki.
The village was first recorded as Siros in 1577 in the Venetian Barozzi's catalogue of the villages of Sitia. In a census carried out by the P. Castrofilaka it was listed under the same name in 1583, with a population of 448. In 1928 with the first census after the union of Crete with Greece, the population was 742. Today the population of the village is approx. 742 but diminishing.
The Ziros community includes the villages of Kalo Horio, Hametoulo, the coastal settlement of Xerokampos, the deserted Lamnoni and some settlements inhabited seasonally like Agrilia, Lethi, Achladias, Makri Livadi and Anargyros.
The Ziros area has many antiquities from all periods, however no methodical excavations have yet occured. Ancient sited can be found at Plakospilios (roman settlement and tombs), St. John (an Archaic set-tlement), Fonias (a Minoan settlement), Stalos (Minoan tombs and settlement), Katsoulianos (Minoan tombs), Pentalitro (Minoan Acropolis), Katergari Papa Pigadi (Minoan Settlement), Anemomilia (Minoan building), Pirgales (Minoan Villa), Vrisi Hametoulou (Minoan settlement), Limnia or Palaki Mantra Hametoulou (Minoan buildings).
An important peak sanctuary of the Middle Minoan period existed at the Plagia hill but now it is ruined.
The Ziros area is dotted with caves and also other geological features, the most important are: the cave of Agrilia, the cave of Lygias Spilios and the cave of Voevodas. The Ziros area has also many remarkable churches to show with the most important from all the painted church of St. Paraskevi dated back to 1523. The St. Nikolaos church has graffiti dated back to 14th and 15th century.

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Agia Triáda village
Sitia, East Crete
at 13.2km (SW)
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.

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Voila medieval settlement
Sitia, East Lassithi
at 14.2km (W)
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.


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Toplou Monastery
Sitia
at 14.3km (N)
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.

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Handras%20village
Handras village
Sitia, East Lassithi
at 14.9km (W)
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.

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Armeni village
Sitia, East Crete
at 16km (W)
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.

Etia%20village
Etia village
Sitia, East Crete
at 17.1km (W)
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.

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Papagiannades village
Sitia, East Crete
at 17.3km (W)
The village of Papagianades (GR: Παπαγιαννάδες) with ~160 inhabitants, is situated in the area of Lefki at an altitude of 480 m above sea level, approximately 90 km from Agios Nikolaos and 19 from the town of Sitia.
It was first recorded in an Egyptian census in 1834 with 8 Christian families. It was also recorded by Chourmouzi Byzantios in 1842. In the 1881 census the village is recorded with a population of 77 pertaining to the Community of Handras.
The Ai Lias hill just before entering the village is of local interest as well as the Monastirakia, a ruined Minoan settlement.
There is also the church of Panagia Eleousa with frescoes dated back to the 14th century. The sightseer can sit and relax at the marvelous Panteli, a place in a gorge with lot of trees, joining the villages of Papagianades and Maronia. The chapel of Virgin Mary is worth visiting as well.

V%C3%A1i%20%20Palm%20grove%20%26%20Beach
Vái Palm grove & Beach
Sitia, East Lassithi
at 17.4km (N)
A palm tree forest stretching on a marvelous valley and sandy beach. It consists of self planted palm trees of Theophrastus (Phoenix Theophrasti). It is unique of its kind in Greece, Europe and probably the world. Vai because of its special value and beauty is protected by the Greek state, European Union and international contracts. The protected area covers 23.4 ha.
The sandy beach of Vai is amongst the most beautiful in Crete and Greece and attracts thousands of visitors every year since Vai is a top destinations especially for the new comers.
The small islets opposite the beach add a lot to the beauty of the place.
There is a parking area, a tavern, a canteen, umbrellas and seabeds.
There is regular public bus connection with the towns of Sitia and Palaikastro during the summer and many organised day trips by travel agencies.
If you don't like crowds, you can walk a little to the south from Vai to Psili Ammos a lovely small beach with fine gold sand which is nested in a small cove.

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Piskokéfalo village
Sitia, East Lassithi
at 17.5km (NW)
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".

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Goudouras village
Sitia, East Crete
at 18km (SW)
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.

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Sitia town
Sitia, East Lasssithi
at 18.8km (NW)
The easternmost town in Crete. A small and pleasant coastal town, built in a semicircle on the western side of the Bay of Sitia (Si̱teía GR: Σητεία), a typical, peaceful Mediterranean port. It is the capital of the county with the same name and is sited 69 km east of Agios Nikolaos.

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