Ayios Nikolaos Tourist Attractions
Ayios Nikolaos David CunninghamThe little town of Áyios Nikólaos is situated on the slopes above Mirabello Bay which has developed into a popular holiday resort for long-stay holidays. There are beautiful beaches round the town and it is the center of eastern Crete. Linked with the harbour is Lake Voulisméni (fresh water), according to legend, the goddes Athena was accustomed to bathe.
The offshore island of Ayii Pántes is a reserve for wild goats.
St Nicholas Museum
The St Nicholas Museum, founded in 1970, contains artifacts from excavations in eastern Crete.
Address: 68 K. Paleologou Street, Greece
The Archaeological Museum of Áyios Nikolaos houses a collection of artifacts found in eastern Crete. Some of the finds date from 3000 B.C.
Address: 74 Konstantinou Palaiologou Street, Greece
Eleven km/7mi southwest of Áyios Nikólaos, amid ancient olive-groves, is the picturesque hill village of Kritsá, around which are a number of beautiful Byzantine churches, in particular the chapel of the Panayía tis Kerás (12th-14th C.; frescoes) and the church of Áyios Yeóryios (14th C.). On a hill 4km/2.5mi northwest are the remains, now partly covered by scrub, of the ancient city of Lató, probably built between the seventh and the fourth century B.C.From the terraced site, or from the acropolis above it, there are magnificent views of the surrounding hills and Mirabello Bay.
Kritsá - Our Lady of Kera Church
The church of Our Lady of Kera is a short drive from Áyios Nikólaos. The church is known for its frescoes.
34km/21mi northwest of Áyios Nikólaos, at the village of Mália (beach), situated in a fertile depression irrigated with the help of windmills, are the remains of a Minoan palace, similar to the palaces of Knossos and Phaistós but smaller, which was built about 1800 B.C. and rebuilt after an earthquake in 1700 B.C. and thereafter fell into ruin.There are also remains of the Minoan town of Mália and of a cemetery.
Six km/4mi north of Ayios Nikólaos, at the holiday village of Eloúnda, are the remains (partly under the sea) of the Dorian town of Olous.
22km/13.5mi northwest of Áyios Nikólaos (2km/1.25mi northeast of the village of Neápolis) is the site of the Minoan settlement of Dreros, with a sanctuary of Apollo (eighth-seventh C.; bronze cult images).
On the island of Psyra, at the east end of Mirabello Bay, are remains of a Middle to Late Minoan settlement.
East of Psyra lies the island of Mokhlós, which in ancient times was connected with the mainland. Here were found numerous tombs of the early Minoan period, the grave goods from which are now in the Archeological Museum in Iráklion.
30km/19mi southwest of Áyios Nikólaos, above a valley running south from Mt Diktí, the village of Máles has remains of the Dorian settlement of Malla.
15km/9mi south of Máles is Myrtos (beach), where there are Roman remains.
Ierapetra (Hierapetra), Greece
36km/22mi south of Áyios Nikólaos, on the south coast, lies Ierápetra, the most southerly town in Europe, in a fertile vegetable-growing area, which occupies the site of the ancient port of Hierapydna. The harbor is defended by a Venetian fort. In the Town Hall is a small museum of Roman and Venetian material.Some 18km/11mi southwest of Ierápetra lies the island of Gaidouronísi.Farther east, 5km/3mi off Cape Goudoúra, is the island of Koufonísi.
Khríssi is an islet lying exactly opposite to Ierápetra, nine nautical miles away, and reachable by small excursion boats. It also has lovely beaches and cedar trees.
Ierapetra (Hierapetra) Archeological Collection
The collection contains marble statues and inscriptions from the Greek-Roman era.
Address: Adrianou Kostoula Street, 72200 Ierápetra, Greece
20km/12.5mi southeast of Áyios Nikólaos are the remains (only partially excavated) of the Minoan town of Gourniá. With its narrow paved streets, its small houses and its palace and temple on higher ground, it gives a good impression of the aspect of a Late Minoan settlement of between 1600 and 1400 B.C.This is the best preserved of the Minoan settlements, and one of the most noteworthy archeological sites in Crete.
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