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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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 AghiosNikolaos, in a verdurous slope within immense olive groves, with an unlimitedview to the valley of Myrtos, the Libyan Sea and the mountain peaks that surroundit.The village took its name from ancient Malla, which is speculated to have beenbuilt at the same place or somewhere nearby. Ancient Malla was a city-state,with an army and a currency of its own, which presented Zeus, the Labyrinth,the Eagle and the word MAL. It is included in the 100 cities of Crete and in the“Cretans’ Common”. A lot of archaeological findings are now in the Museumof Heraklion, in museums abroad and in private collections. The inscriptionsfrom ancient Malla include treaties between “Malla and Lyttos”. “There shallneither be any spoliation of Malla by the Lyttos residents nor of Lyttos by theMalla residents”. Lyttos, an ancient city in the plateau of Lasithi, had often rumblingswith “Malla”, probably about the ownership and use of their mountainborders.An inscription found in 1848 contains the text of a treaty with the city Teos ofIonia. The city “Mallos” of Minor Asia is thought to have been a colony of Malla.The city Malla is also referenced in the alliance treaty of 30 Cretan cities withthe king Eumenis II of Pergamos.The most important of the gods the residents of Malla worshipped was ZeusMonnitios and he was also venerated in the adjacent cities. One of their greatestfestivities was Ypervoia.Evidence of inhabitation during the Hellenic and Roman eras has been found.During the Venetian rule, Malla, the seat of a feudal lord with two towers, wasthe largest village of Kastelania of Ierapetra. In 1583 it had 1483 residents, 5parishes and 7 priests. In the following censuses, in 1881 it had 754 Christiansand 15 Muslims. In 1951 it had 1253 residents and in 2001 499.Malles has been visited by a lot of travelers who have written down their impressions,the most prominent of whom being the Italian GEROLA.The Malles region also includes the abandoned village Aghios Georgios Loutra,the Holy Monastery of Exakousti, the old Monastery of Armos that was thesummer seat of the bishop of “Iera” and, as it has been reported, 7 bishopshave been buried there. Malles, except for their wonderful natural landscapes,the special routes for the nature lovers to the plateau of Katharos, to the sourceof Retiko and the surrounding mountains, has also important ecclesiasticalmonuments. Panagia (Our Lady) Messohoritissa, a church built in the times ofthe Palaiologoi dynasty, Saint Nicolas, the two-aisle church of Saint Charalambosand Afentis Christos (Our Lord the Christ), with the most beautiful temple,the work of the wood-carvers of Lasithi who specialized in church temples.Now a large village, Malles, with a rich history, folklore, civilization and strugglesin different historical periods, was visited by the national leader EleftheriosVenizelos. During the German Occupation, 18 people were executed. Itnurtured many and important Fighters. It used to be a Community, a formerMunicipality and is now a Local Department of the Municipality of Ierapetra.Rich in olive production, it has a cultural center, a post office, a football field andteam, cultural associations, an agricultural co-op and many traditional coffeehouses.
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 (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.
Kritsa is one of the most picturesque towns in Crete, built amphitheatrically on a rock hill. It is located 11 km from Agios Nikolaos and has 2000 inhabitants. The people keep the old Cretan customs and the traditions and the town is considered one of the most important centers of the Cretan folk and weaving art.
The village is located at 480m a.s.l. 24.5km away from Agios Nikolaos, taking the road from Kalo Horio- Prina, and 15 km from Ierapetra. It has 617 inhabitants, including the smaller villages Kamara and Psathi. Forests of platans, pine trees, olive trees and a spring with small waterfalls, are the characteristic of the villages environment. The hill " Kastelos " is overlooking the village and almost all the county of Ierapetra and the Libyan sea. At the top of Kastelos there is the cave "40 Chambers" with the small chapel of "Timios Stavros" in it. Sights :The gorge of Havga, the cave 40 Chambers, the cave Theriou Koufala, the hill Kastelos, the chapel of agios Antonios with curved temple and entrance, the chapels Agios Georgios, Agia Paraskevi, and Panagia Cultural associations :The cultural association of Kalamafka. Cultural events :The patronal feasts of Panagia at August 15 and Timios Stavros at September 14. Facilities to the visitors :No accomodation. A few taverns and cafes operating at day time.