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Sitia is a small and pleasant coastal town, with a continuing presence and a historical life which has its roots in ancient times. built in a semicircle on the western side of the Bay of Sitia, a typical, peaceful Mediterranean port.  Today it has a population of 9000. Visitors in Sitia particularly enjoy the climate and the wonderful beaches. The highest temperature in the summer is approx. 32 C. and the lowest in winter is 7 C. Sitia is the seat of administrative and public services for the county and provides a modern airport with flights to and from Athens and a port with daily connections with Piraeus and other islands of the south east Aegean sea. A comfortable and safe road network connects Sitia with the other towns of Crete taking the visitors wherever they wish, so is a good starting point for several excursions throughout Eastern Crete. Some of the most important places to visit are Toplou Monastery, Palaikastro, Vai, Zakros, Kato Zakros, Xerokampos, Makri Gialos, Itanos.

Getting Around

A fine sample of the wild nature of Crete stretches from Sitia to Makrys Yialos. Remote beaches and secrete routes create an out-of-this planet atmosphere: sun, dust, stone and sea. The beach bordering the east side of town, stretching up to Petra, was polluted in the past. Now, by dint of private initiative, the beach is clean, with shower installations dotting the fine sand. This beach is conveniently placed near the town and attracts young people who enjoy surfing in its crystal clear waters. Now, lets have a look at Vai, the renowned palm forest of Crete. If you must see Vai, then you had better visit it off-season. The locals would rather bathe at  Itanos, the name of a submerged ancient town the ruins of which are visible from the shore. Moving south from Vai, on routes reminiscent of Mexican landscapes, you will come across the Medieval Monastery of Toplou endowed with a very large estate, Palaikastro with the Chiona beach, Kouremenos and Rousolakos beaches. Kato Zakros is one of the best places very well knowing for its Minoan palace and fish taverns. Xerokampos, although difficult to access, offers one of the last idyllic spots of Crete: white sand, absolute serenity, and wild lilies growing on sand dunes. Now, if you also enjoy boating, you could hire or rent a boat and row or speed to Koufonissi from cape Goudoura. The isle,  is deserted but with interesting Minoan ruins, sand dunes, wonderful beaches. The isle is ideal for camping as well. In addition, there are organized excursions to the isle from Makry Yialos. More information about daily trips to Koufonissi is available from the boat owners at Makry Yialos.

History

The name Sitia is derived from the ancient city of Itia, birthplace of one of the seven wise-men of the antiquity, Mison. Sitia existed during the Late Minoan period and until the Venetian period. During the Venetian occupation the town of Sitia was destroyed three times. In 1508 by a terrible earthquake, in 1538 by the pirate Barbarosa and in 1651 by the Venetians so as not to fall in the hands of the Turks.
For two centuries Sitia ceased to exist as a town, until 1869. The present city was built in 1870. Since then, Sitia is developing to one of the most important urban areas in Crete. Sitia is the birth place of the great poet Vintsenzos Kornaros, who wrote a masterpiece of Medieval poetry, "Erotokritos". The poem narrates the story of the princess Aretousa, daughter of the king of Athens Hercules, and Erotokritos, son of Pezostratos, member of the king's court. The most imposing monument of the past that dominates Sitia is the fortress of the castle called Kazarma from the "Casa di Arma". Kazarma was one of the buildings of Medieval Sitia, and it served as soldier's
barracks and army headquarters. Kazarma and the imposing wall around it were originally built in the Late Byzantine period. The walls were repaired by the Venetians many times and especially after the terrible earthquake of 1508 and the attack by the pirate Barbarosa in 1538.

 
 
 

 
 

 

 
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