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Lassithi, a land with body and soul.
The eastern part of Crete and southernmost part of Europe, with its unique beaches and picturesque towns, a land lived by people who carry thousands of years of tradition and culture.
Lassithi for you to discover with body and soul

Agios Nikolaos

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Agios Nikolaos

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Map of Crete

To visit in Lassithi

Kritsa and Panagia Kera
West of Agios Nikolaos, a typical village, and the 14 th century church with the Byzantine frescoes.

Lato Etaira an excavated town dating back to 11th century BC

A unique Pre Minoan settlement near Agios Nikolaos

The monastery of Toplou
Near Sitia, Toplou is perhaps a Turkish word meaning canon ball, although other etymologies are possible. The monastery is dedicated to Panaghia (Virgin Mary). It was built at the end of the 15th cent. AD. Some say that an icon of Virgin Mary was miraculously found in a cave nearby and that this prompted the inhabitants to build it. Others say, however, that another, smaller monastery had existed there which Toplou replaced.

The monastery was big, comprising about 800 m2, with cells for the monks, kitchens, dining halls, storage rooms and guest rooms. The church has two aisles, one dedicated to Virgin Mary, the other to St. John the Theologian.

Because of its position on a promontory of Eastern Crete, the Venetians supported it, considering it a Christian outpost against the Turks. For this reason they supplied the canon which gave the monastery its Turkish name.

Despite successive destructions, it was regularly rebuilt. It seems that it was flourishing, because it had lands as far away as modern Iraklion and Agia Triada.

When the Turks conquered Crete, they destroyed Toplou which was then abandoned for a long time. But in 1704 it acquired special protection privileges from the Patriarch and was reinhabited. Another disaster befell the monastery in 1821 when a local Turkish governor ordered Christian males to be slaughtered, presumably because he was afraid of insurrection. During this massacre, 13 monks were killed and the rest fled for their lives.

After the Greek War of Independence, the monastery was inhabited again on and off, and it even included a school for Greek children.

Plateau of Lasithi and Dictaean cave
On Dikti mountains at a height of 1500 meters above sea level, with the white sailed windmills and the cave of Diktaion Andron

Take the boat from the port of Agios Nikolaos for a short trip to the last leper colony of Europe.

Thripti Plateau and Afentis top
More mountain climbing to go through unpaved road to an old and current mountain retreat, where excellent grape varieties produce equally good raki. Carry on to Afentis peak dominating the area from 1450m, for breathtaking views

Exakousti Monastery
Built in the midst of a pine forest, had been totally abandoned until 1960 when it was restored and opened again. There are exeptional examples of Byzantine art in the paintings found within the church, a building of last century.The monastry has a hospice for guests.

The village of Kato Zakros
On the extreme east of Crete, with the Minoan Palace of Kato Zakros

Ancient Itanos
The NE region of the island is a plain with glorious beaches and the impressive cliffs of Cape Sideros. Itanos is also known as "Eremoupolis" by the locals on account of the deserted ruins of the ancient city which, at various times, dominated the east coast.

The site has been inhabited since prehistorictimes.T he name Itanos is said to have been taken from the Phoenician Itanos when it was a Phoenician colony.

The city was an important port whih had trading contacts with the Middle East. Itanos was often involved in disputes with neighbouring cities, in particular Praisos, which was why it sought assistance from the Egyptian King Ptolemy.After the fall of Praisos, conflicts continued with the city of Hierapytna well into Roman times.

Itanos continued to mint its own coinage as an autonomous city under the Romans and even in early Byzantine times it was at its zenith. After that time nothing is known of it and it is supposed to have been destroyed by an earthquake in 795 AD.

Itanos' history is known from the treaties and alliances mentioned in inscriptions. As one wanders through its silent ruins, one can see the remnants of the garrison on the acropolis, the cemetery which was used for some 1500 years and early Christian Basilicae.


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