Crete : Towns & Villages
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Sitia, East Crete
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.
Kalo Horio Village
At a height of 320 m above sea-level, Kalo Chorio (GR: Καλό Χωριό) λιεσ 25.7 kms. from Heraklion, to the right at the cross-roads at km 16.7 on the National Road to Agios Nikolaos and on the road to Gouves- Koxare- Kalo Chorio.
The present name does not figure in old Venetian documents, though there is a reference in the 1367 Duke’s archives of Chandax to a Kalo Horio, without however naming the district. The villagers maintain that the village was called Stravorina in the old days, and indeed there is a reference by Barozzi in 1577 to a village Stravorina in the district of Pediados. In the 1583 Register, the village Stravorina is mentioned as having 76 inhabitants and in the Turkish census of 1671 Istavrine is quoted as having 21 "charatsa" (A Turkish word referring to a tax paid by the head of each family; hence 21 families). However, Chourmouzis Vizantios in 1842 mentions Kalo Chorio, the present name was therefore given in the decade 1830-1840. The village counted 298 inhabitants in 1981 which is also the current population.
The Maza hill-top, south-east of the village, is 457 metres high. According to archaeologists (among them the famous N. Platon) and on the basis of recent finds, the name Maza comes from pre-Hellenic years and means Mother Earth. The pile of stones on the hill was, according to N.Platon, a town from the 10th to the 8th c. BC. The highest part was undoubtedly used as a shrine in Middle-Minoan years, and clay figurines and offerings were found there. The shrine lay quite close to the town. The shrine stopped being used in Proto-Geometric years.
Northeast of the village, by the country road that leads from Kasteli to Hersonissos, traces of ancient installations have also been found along with remnants of water tanks by a source that is still in use today. These water tanks, probably belonged to Hersonissos aqueduct, parts of which are still visible today in Aposelemi valley.
There is as well an interesting gorge close to Kalo Chorio, in the valley of Aposselemis river, worth seeing for nature lovers.
A small village 21km away from Kastelli Kissamou,at 340 m. a.s.l with 57 permanent residents. The village is mentioned by Fr. Barozzi since 1577. A little before the village of Sassalos, starts the gorge of Salasse, a small one which leads to Tyflos river, and is worthy to walk.
Agia Rouméli village - Tarra
Sfakia, South Hania
Agia Rouméli (GR: Αγία Ρουμέλη)is a small fishing village, approximately two kms from the ending of Samaria Gorge. It is accessible only by boat from Paleohora, and from Hora Sfakion. It serves mainly as a stopover for visitors coming down the Samaria Gorge, and waiting for the boat to take them to Sfakia or Paleohora. However those who decide to stay for a couple of days or more will find apart from the unique scenery, a great beach with crystal clear water, plenty of interesting walks and a good choice of accommodations, taverns, cafés and stores.
The place is also rich in history as it was inhabited since the antiquity. It is the site of the ancient city of Tárra (GR: Τάρρα), a famous cult place, that flourished from the Classical to the Roman times.
Sivritos (Ancient) - Thronos village
Sivritos (GR: Σίβρυτος) was an important and autonomous city of the ancient Crete. The city was built in the location that today is the village of Thronos. It was located on a hill dominating the valley of Amari. The name Sivritos is derived from the words si, that in the ancient eastern languages meant water, and the word vriti, that is of prehistoric origin and meant sweet. Therefore, Sivritos in the Minoan period meant sweet water. The derivation is also verified by the fact that near the hill where the city was located there are numerous sweet water springs.
Agia Pelagia, Maleviziou, Iraklion N-W
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.
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.
Anopolis village & plateau
Sfakia, South Hania
Anopolis is a small village, built on a small but fertile plateau, 12 km west from Sfakia at 600 m above sea level. There are still traces of the ruins of the ancient city that prospered around the 3rd century BC, who's port was Phoenix (Loutro). Ancient Anopolis was one of the thirty city - states that signed the peace decree with Eumenes B’ in 183 BC. and thus was able to mint its own coins.
During both the Venetian and the Turkish occupations, Anopolis was a center for revolutionary activities. It is the birth place of the freedom fighter Ioannis Daskalogiannis who's statue stands at the center of the village.There are three more small settlements, Limnia, Vigle and Pavliana on the same plateau.
The mountainous landscape is of outstanding wild beauty. In the village there are rooms for rent and a tavern.The village is worth visiting not only for its natural beauty but also for the opportunity to explore the White Mountains. One of the best hikes is to descent to the shore through the ravine of Aradena, a five hour walk through an imposing ravine that ends up to the wonderful beach of Marmara.
On the old road from Hania to Kissamos, 14km away from Hania is the coastal settlement of Kato Gerani which extends from the Platanias bridge to the village Pirgos Psilonerou. Awarded every year with the Blue Flag, the beach is organized and provide quite a lot facilities such as sun beds, umbrellas, shower, W.C. and sea sports. It is worth to take a small walk to the villages of the area, and enjoy the unspoiled Cretan nature and hospitality. Pano Gerani, Modi, Loutraki, Manoliopoulo are all within a distance no longer than 10 kilometrs.
It is a small village with few residents, loacated 4 km to the west of the village Christos at an altitude of 600 m. The residents of Metaxohori (GR: Μεταξοχώρι, or Parsás - GR: Παρσάς) have immigrated to the plains of Ierapetra, in Stomio, Ammoudares and Xerokampos and work in the glasshouses. The village has been renamed in 1955 from Parsas to Metaxohori to honor the Ecumenical Patriarch Meletios Metaxakis who was born here.
At a mountainous, precipitous site, in the west mountain slopes of Dikti, at an altitude of 550 m above sea level and at 2 km from the village of Malles, is built the village Christos (GR: Χριστός – Christ). Christos is a beautiful, verdurous village, with many running waters, traditional, unchanged by time, with narrow sloping cobbled alleys.
A small village built at an altitude of 540 m in the south parts of the mountain Dikti at the borders of the province of Ierapetra-Viannos. The imposing mountains above the village, the south horizon among the olive-covered hills and in the lower villages, the cool climate create in you a sensation of bodily and spiritual well-being at this balcony of the Cretan nature. Five settlements, two of them uninhabited today, constituted the Community of Riza, now a Local Department of the Municipality of Ierapetra.
A long beach west of Lendas on the south shores of Iraklion. The name is probably a corruption of Dysikos (GR: Δυσικός) which is the one to the west. There is a small settlement with taverns and accommodation complexes, mostly rooms and apartments for rent. Dyskos used to be popular with nudists and nature lovers in the past and even in present days nudism is tolerated in the western part of the beach. The beach has small pebbles and sand. Those who chose Dyskos for their holidays will have, among other things, the chance to explore the area by small walking tours and enjoy the magnificent sunset.
Dóxa (GR: Δόξα) is a pretty village built on a height of 400 metres above sea-level and 20 kilometres to the west of Heraklion on the road to the mountainous Milopotamos.
The historical cave of Dóxa (GR: Δόξα) is located in a short distance from the village of Marathos on the road to Heraklion. It is at a height of 490 metres above sea-level, near a well-known taverna also called DOXA.
The cave has a total length of 50 metres and impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
Apladianá (GR: Απλαδιανά) is a small village built at the foot of the two Kouloukona heights. The settlement stretches out along the old national road, where it developed after the opening of the new national road. It comprises cafes, tavernas, and accommodation facilities included in the Countryside Tourism programs.
It is worth your while, however, to visit the old village, climbing there on foot or by car. Picturesque, narrow streets, wonderful old houses with interesting architectural elements, old cisterns and churches will reward your efforts.
The old village built on a height of 260 m above sea-level has 175 inhabitants and the settlement along the old national road, known as "Kampos ton Apladianon", has 78 inhabitants. It is 40 kilometres away from Rethymnon and is located at the foot of the highest peak of the Kouloukona mountain in the Tallaios range.
Already as far back as 1368 we find a mention of the Aplada family, the founders of the present village and in the topographical maps of the Civil Engineering Services of Rethymnon it figures as Pladiana. The settlement is not mentioned in the 16th and 17th cent. documents. In the 1881 census, Apladiana is attributed to the commune of Garazo, with 57 inhabitants and in 1900 it is referred to as the Apladiana Commune which, together with the Cheliana settlement, had 153 inhabitants.
Priniás (GR: Πρινιάς) is a small village located 35km southwest of Iraklion town and 4km from Agia Varvara, at a height of 610 m above sea level. The village of Prinias lies on the border of three regions: Malevizi, Kenouriou and Monofatsi, and is recorded as forming part of all three regions in the censi.
The beautiful village of Kaliviani (GR: Καλυβιανή) is located in the beginning of the peninsula of Gramvoussa.
The beauty of the village can be attributed to its wonderful stone houses and to the many flowers that blossom in every yard. Its people are friendly and hospitable.
The tradition is alive in Kaliviani, since even today the houses are built the traditional way, with stones, by skillful technicians.
Vorou (or Voritsi) lies at a height of 230 m. above sea-level and counted 62 inhabitants in 1981 and 48 in 2001. It is 25 kms away from Heraklion. To get there, you follow the National Road to Aghios Nikolaos and at kms 17.7 turn right, taking the road Gouves-Skotino- Vorou. Nowadays it is known as Voritsi but this name is not official. The name Vorou, on the other hand, in the district of Pediados is mentioned by Barozzi in 1577. At the beginning of this century there lived a wise man and a healer in the village of Voritsi. His name was Giorgos Konstantoulakis and people flocked from all over to Crete to seek his advice.
Petrokéfalo (GR: Πετροκέφαλο) lies 16km from Iraklion and 3km from Agios Myron at 340m a.s.l with 248 inhabitants.
It is built on a rocky hillside. The hill' shape resembles to a human head and it is supposed that the village owes its name to this (petrokefali = stone head) .
The settlement was fortified and lately were discovered significant ancient findings.
The patron Saint is "Agia Paraskevi" and there is a village feast on the 8th September in her honour.
Pentamódi (GR: Πενταμόδι)one of the oldest villages in Crete, is located in the valley of Gazanos river, 17km from Iraklion and 4km from Agios Myron at 350m a.s.l with 278 inhabitants.
At "Agia Paraskevi" a place with rich vegetation are organized every summer a series of cultural festivals.
A fountain of the 15th century with the blazon of the house of "Quirini" is one of the significant monuments of the area.
The patron Saint is "Agios Nikolaos" and there is a village feast on the 26th July in his honour.
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