It is located at an altitude of 750 m, 50 km SE from the city of Hania and 20 km from the village of Vryses. Its population is approximately 500 people. The small villages that constitute the community of Askifou are Kares, Ammoudari, Goni and Petres. The most touristic organised of them is Ammoudari with restaurants, gas station, and some rooms for rent.
Lygaria (also Ligaria GR: Λυγαριά) is a small seaside resort 2 kms to the east of Agia Pelagia. It is built in a small cove with a lovely sandy beach protected from the summer winds (Meltemi). Lygaria started as a residential area comprising of summer houses built mainly by residents of Heraklion but soon it has developed to a tourist resort. It has a couple of small taverns, hotels and cafes by the beach and it is very popular with tourists and locals alike. There is regular public bus transport from Heraklion. The distance from Heraklion is 19 kilometers via the national road.
The monastery of Panagia Kaliviani is located at the 59th km on the road Iraklion-Phaistos. The monastery was built during the second Byzantine period. The small Byzantine chapel was painted with frescoes but most of them are today destroyed. The chapel was deserted until, during the Turkish occupation in 1873, an old small icon of the Annunciation of the Holy Mother was miraculously found there.and the monastery became a place of worship. The building of the new church, of Byzantine style, begun at 1911 and was completed in 1924.The monastery also houses a girls orphanage established in 1958.
It is located north of Mires close to a small gorge, with springs and covered with trees. There are many churches in the village the most important one being the church of Agios Nikolaos, a domed church dated to the 13th century. The walls of the temple are hand painted with biblical scenes and pictures of saints
Péfkoi (GR: Πεύκοι). A typical Cretan village, built at 420m above sea level, with narrow paved streets and old stone built house. There are many places worth to visit in the area. The folklore museum, housed in a small well preserved building located by the old school, provides information on the history and the day to day life of the village. At the top of the overlooking hill, named "Kastelopoulo" there is a building of the Late Minoan period which used to be a watchtower or a beacon. The 7km long road from Makrygialos to Pefkoi passes through the "Pefkiano" gorge, a wonderful landscape with plenty of pine trees (=pefko) who gave their name to the village. Approaching the village we see the dirt road that leads to the miracle working church of Agios Georgios Semekides, celebrating every year at November 3rd.
It is built at 500m a.s.l. and 37km away from the city of Rethymno, with 400 inhabitants most of them farmers and stock breeders. It took its name due to its position, "MYRIOKEFALA" means myriads of heads (here :Hills). It is the birth place of George Maravelakis, a great fighter of the 1866 revolution against the turks. The monastery of Miriokefala, an interesting sight, devoted to the Holly Mother, was established by Ai Kir Giannis (a Cretan Saint) in the 11th century. There are many icons of Byzantine art, among them this of Holly Mother.
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.
Two small dry and uninhabited islets off the bay of Messara, ~7.5 naut. miles to the west of Matala. Due to their close proximity to one another the two islands appear as one from a distance. They are also called "elephantaki" as from north they look like a baby elephant that is lying down. In mythology it is believed that the goddess Lito gave birth to the god Apollon and the goddess Artemis on these islands. In antiquity they were called Dionissioi after the god Dionissos. During the summertime there are small cruising boats that bring tourists here from Agia Galini and Kokkinos Pyrgos. There is only a small beach with fine pebble and rich seabed at the south side of the easternmost islet.
A Luxurious, two-storey house, built of large ashlar. The walls were strengthened by timber-frames and covered with a thick layer of plaster and marble slabs. The building has a paved courtyard, a shrine, storerooms for agricultural products, a staircase, and rooms with benches. It has been interpreted as a High Priest's house, due to the numerous ceremonial vessels it contained. The house was probably built in the 16th century. C. (MM III period) and, after its destruction by fire in the 15th century BC (LM IB period), was finally abandoned. The "Minoan Megaron" at Nirou was excavated in 1918 by St. Xanthoudides. In 1960, under the supervision of the Ephor of Antiquities N. Platon, the site was fenced and the building restored. The monument is consolidated and cleared at intervals by the 23rd Ephorate.
Michael Damaskenos or Michail Damaskenos (Greek: Μιχαήλ Δαμασκηνός, 1530/35-1592/93) was a leading post-Byzantine Cretan painter. He is a major representative of the Cretan School of painting that flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries, whilst Crete was under Venetian rule. He was a near-contemporary of the most famous Cretan painter of any period, El Greco, but though Damaskinos also went to Italy, he remained much closer to his Greek roots stylistically. There is little information regarding the life of Damaskinos. He was born in Candia (today's Herakleion), the son of Tzortzis Damaskinos. He had a daughter named Antonia who married the painter Yannas Mantoufos. Damaskinos lived in Venice for several years, where he learnt miniature painting and travelled extensively throughout Italy. He was a member of the Greek Brotherhood of Venice from 1577–1582, having been in Venice since 1574. He painted along with Emmanuel Tzanes the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of San Giorgio dei Greci in Venice. In 1584 he was back in Greece and worked mainly in Crete and the Ionian islands. His works are in traditional Byzantine style but with many influences from Venetian painting, mainly Renaissance artists such as Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese. He used a particular rose colour that characterised his paintings, his figures dimensions are defined by only few brushes while he was drawing wooden and never marble thrones as was typical in the Cretan School. That Damaskinos was highly regarded is shown by him being invited from Crete, despite all the many Greek artists already in Venice to paint the frescoes of San Giorgio dei Greci.. Damaskinos was also the first artist to introduce paler flesh tones into post-Byzantine painting and it was one of the stylistic features of his work which proved highly influential from the second half of the sixteenth century and onwards . As was usual for distinguished painters, Damaskinos signed his works: ΧΕΙΡ ΜΙΧΑΗΛ ΤΟΥ ΔΑΜΑΣΚΗΝΟΥ or ΧΕΙΡ ΜΙΧΑΗΛ ΔΑΜΑΣΚΗΝΟΥ, ΔΑΜΑΣΚΗΝΟΥ ΜΙΧΑΗΛ ΧΕΙΡ or even ΠΟΙΗΜΑ ΜΙΧΑΗΛ ΤΟΥ ΔΑΜΑΣΚΗΝΟΥ (creation of Michael Damaskinos) . Damaskinos having worked extensively in the Ionian islands has contributed to the fusion of the Cretan and the Heptanese School of painting. source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Damaskinos