Crete : Regional Interest
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at 30.8km (NW)
Gavalohóri (GR: Γαβαλοχώρι) is an old big traditional village, with fine examples of traditional rural architecture and stone buildings that are well preserved. The village has been declared a traditional settlement and is awarded a protected status. Many interesting buildings still stand, such as the 18th century olive press, the church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) and that of Agios Sergios, the old school and the complex of the wells from the period of the Venetian occupation.
at 31.3km (E)
The village of Apodoulou is located 55 km from Rethimno at an altitude of 450m. Remains of an extensive centre of the Old Palace period (1950-1700 B.C.) have been uncovered.at the site called Gournes, near the village of Apodoulou, at the west foot of Psiloreitis. The site dominates the Amari valley and controls the main route to the Messara plain. Excavations have brought to light three building complexes while tholos tombs of the Postpalatial period (1380-1200 B.C.) have also been located in the adjacent area.
The first excavations on the site were carried out by S. Marinatos in the 1930's. During World War II it was excavated by the German Archaeological Institute, under the direction of E. Kirsten. Since 1985, systematic excavations have been carried out by the Greek Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the University of Naples.
The most important monuments on the site are:
Building A. It lies on the east side of the hill, to the south of the massive retaining wall. It had two storeys, as is indicated by the two preserved steps of a staircase. Decades of pithoi and other vases found on the ground floor suggest that it was used for storage. The house was destroyed by fire which followed an earthquake.
Building B, located to the north of the retaining wall. It is a complex of rooms which originally communicated with Building A.
Building C. It lies to the east of house A and belongs to a later phase of the settlement.
Tholos tomb at Sopatakia. Tholos tomb with dromos, lying to the east of the road that leads from Apodoulou to Nithavris. The dromos is 7 m. long and the chamber has a diameter of 3.10 m. Three larnakes were found inside the burial chamber. Dated to 1380-1200 B.C.
Source: The Hellenic Ministry of Culture
at 31.5km (NE)
Margarites (GR: Μαργαρίτες) with 300 inhabitants, is located 27 kilometers from Rethymnon at 300 m above sea level near the amcient town of Eleftherna. Margarites, is a village with Venetian roots, mentioned by sixteenth-century travellers. In the nineteenth century, Margarites was a flourishing town, whose centuries-old ceramic tradition began at least as early as the Ottoman period. Margarites is undoubtedly the most important pottery centre in western Crete.
Kokino Horio village
at 32.9km (NW)
Kókino Horio (GR: Κόκκινο Χωρίο), which is located at a higher altitude, has maintained its traditional architectural style even more so than the other villages with its narrow roads, beautiful gates and tiled roofs.
A group of cisterns, built in a sloping field, gather the rainwater, an interesting example of local architecture, dealing with the permanent problem of lack of water.
Above Kokino Horio one can see the strangely shaped hill Drapanokefala or Calapodha (so named during the venetian occupation). The coastline northwest of the village is an extremely interesting place for a stroll due to the ground formation and the caves, such as the cave of Petsi (or Karavotopos).
Another cave called Katalimata, located at the centre of the village, is also an interesting site.
At cape Drapano, approximately 10 metres under water, is the impressive Elephant cave, an area 60mx60m full of stalactites and stalagmites of various shapes and colours.
Video - The Elephants' Cave
Messara bay, Iraklion South
at 33.3km (E)
Kokkinos Pirgos (GR: Κόκκινος Πύργος) is a small coastal community, 2km away from Timbaki with a nice, long sandy beach, one of the longest in Crete, and a clear transparent sea. The part of the beach to the north west of the harbour is called Makrimaliana (or Kakoskalo) and the south east part of it is called Katalyki . The harbour in front of the village of Kokkinos Pirgos, offers docking facilities for sailing and fishing boats. There are hotels, restaurants, bars, etc. across the harbour and along the beach. You can always find good fresh fish in the taverns of the village. Kokkinos Pirgos (meaning red tower) , took its name from a castle that use to be there during the Middle Ages, which was built by red clay earth.
at 33.4km (NW)
Pláka (GR: Πλάκα) is a lovely village in the Apokoronas area, less than one kilometer away from Almyrida, with interesting architectural style, which is unfortunately changing due to intense building mainly for tourist purposes. Its ~300 permanent inhabitants, occupying mostly with farming, stock-breeding, fishing and lately with tourism.
It has all the basic amenities, including excellent tavernas, bars, a grocery store and a kafeneion.
Plaka is built on the slope of a hill at 70 m above sea, with a panoramic view of the bay of Souda. The surrounding environment has maintained its character well and is ideal for walks either inland or along the coast. Visitors can also admire a magical sunset from here. Every summer -at about the end of July- a two days traditional feast - The Plakiana - is organized to honour the memory of the great local lyra player Mihalis Papadakis or else Plakianos. During the feast guests enjoy Cretan dances and can visit the textile and ceramics exhibitions. The custom of Klidonas is celebrated at the end of June and the Carnival usually takes place in March.
at 33.6km (NW)
A beautiful small sea side village with long sandy beach where wind surf, canoes, paddle boats, umbrellas and sun beds can be rented. The place provides all the facilities for the visitors with small hotels, rooms, apartments and many taverns with traditional food and fresh fish. Recent years it became very popular with expatriates and there is a significant development in the real estate sector.
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