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Hiking in Palekastro area with view to Kastri hill and to Kouremenos bay

The small plateau south of Palekastro and the pictursque chapel in the midst

Sunrise in Karoumes bay, exceptional beach between Palekastro and Kato Zakros

Windsurfing in Kouremenos Bay

The bay of Kato Zakros and the Deads Gorge in the background

Palm Beach Vai, 7km north of Palekastro village

Xerokambos Beach, 10km south from  Zakros

Etia villa and Settlement

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Etia villa and settlementEtia probably took its name from the tree Itea (willow) The village seems to have been populated since the Byzantine period as one can see from the remaining churches of Aghios-Ioannis and Aghia-Ekaterini. During the Venetian reign it was on of the largest villages of the area with 563 citizens.

The area was a feud of the Venetian aristocrat Dei Mezzo from the great Dei Mezzo family, which is one of the most populous families of Sitia. Dei Mezzo built the villa that bears its name and is one of the most important Venetian monuments of the Cretan country side.

The building had a rectangular shape with an entry hall covered by arches; as was the main dining hall and the corridor. All the auxiliary structures around the mansion were probably built during the Ottoman reign. Many engravings and the escutcheon of the Dei Mezzo family can also be found.

The villa was built at end of the 15th century, the same time the Toplou monastery was built and it was preserved intact until 1828. The building was surrounded by a big yard and was protected by walls. The main gate was palatial and bore the coat of arms of the Dei Mezzo family. On the eastern side of the yard close to the door, a fountain was found; the water was passed to the basin along the road.

 

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