The sandy beach of Erimoupolis is situated slightly to the north of the magnificent palmforest of Vai. The visitor can combine a swim in the sea with a visit to the ruins of ancient Itanos, which used to be the one remaining Heteocretan city.
Itanos had been one of the most important coastal cities of eastern Crete from the Minoan years until the first Christian era. Nowadays it is known under the name of Erimopolis. Its citizens were dominating throughout the coast of Sitia, from the Samonion cape (today cape Sidero (iron)) to the Erythreon cape (what is today called Goudoura) and the island of Lefki (Koufonisi).
Recent surface excavations have proven that the area has been populated since the prehistoric times and is of great archeological interest. In the site of Katsounakia a large Minoan settlement was found but has not been excavated yet. In the hill of Trachelas a sanctuary was also found but had already been desecrated.
This impressive small gorge of Hametoulo starts from the region of Ziros by an altitute of 6oom, but you can enter by the region of small and traditional village Hametoulo and ends at the beautiful beach south of Xerokambos. It is relatively easy to cross. It is about 3,0 km long and the altitude difference from the entrance to the exit is about 400 meters.
There is a sacred relationship between the people of east Crete and the gorges since antiquity, when nature was worshiped and ancient Cretan deities were closely connected with its reproductive abilities.
Etia 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 wider region of Sitia, and especially its southeastern part, is characterized by exceptionally beautiful gorges, where orange and grey-green colours prevail on their rocky cliffs, creating gorgeous scenes of wild nature. The gorges of the region and of Crete in general, were created about 2 millions years ago, when Crete took its final form.
Here is to be found yet another Sitia beach sunning itself next to the crystal blue sea. It is situated 2 kms from Palekastro and 19 km far from Sitia. Why not try the famous fish soup (kakavia) found in the charming little fish restaurants next to the beach.
Petra is a traditional settlement, 1 km east of Sitia. A small tower from the Venetian period can be found there. It bears the name "house of Kornaros" and belonged to the homonym family. On the hill over the tower, a small palace and a settlement have been brought to light by recent excavations. The rooms of the palace were luxuriously adorned and its walls painted with bright colours.
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