Tuesday, 19 July 2016

TRAVEL TUESDAY #36 - CRETE, GREECE

“You have your brush, you have your colours, you paint the paradise, then in you go.” - Nikos Kazantzakis

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Agios Nikolaos or Aghios Nikolaos (Greek: Άγιος Νικόλαος = St Nicholas) is a coastal town on the Greek island of Crete, lying east of the island’s capital Heraklion, north of the town of Ierapetra and west of the town of Sitia. In the year 2011, the Municipality of Agios Nikolaos, which takes in part of the surrounding villages, claimed 27,074 inhabitants. The town is a municipality of Crete region, and sits partially upon the ruins of the ancient city of Lato pros Kamara.

Agios Nikolaos was settled in the late Bronze Age by Dorian occupants of Lato, at a time when the security of the Lato hillfort became a lesser concern and easy access to the harbour at Agios Nikolaos became more important. The name Agios Nikolaos is a common place-name in Greece and Cyprus, since Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors and of all of Greece.

Near the town there’s the archaeological site of ancient Priniatikos Pyrgos. It appears to have been first settled in the Final Neolithic, circa 3000 BC. Activity on the site continued throughout the Minoan Bronze Age and the Classical Greek and Roman periods, spanning a total of up to 4,000 years. Since 2007, Priniatikos Pyrgos has been undergoing excavation by an international team under the auspices of the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies at Athens. 

Agios Nikolaos is probably best known as a tourist town that serves as a hub to the twenty or so small villages and farms that make up that part of Lassithi. Tourist attractions include the small lagoon Lake Voulismeni, small beaches in the town, the tiny island Agioi Pantes, the archaeological museum, the local flora exhibition “Iris” and numerous fairs. Just a short ferry ride away from Agios Nikolaos is the island of Spinalonga, an old Venetian fortress turned ex-leper colony in the beginning of the 20th century.

Tourism is mainly West European with Greek tourism concentrated in mid August, though there is a considerable number of Russian vacationers in East Crete. The lagoon features a small park with a trail, traditional fishing boats, ducks, pigeons, an amphitheatre and many cafés. The modern city of Agios Nikolaos became internationally well-known during the 60's, when it was “discovered” by famous film-makers (Jules Dassin, Walt Disney etc.), BBC producers and many others. It was then that the rapid tourist development of the area started. Daphne du Maurier’s short story “Not After Midnight” was set in and around the town.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

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5 comments:

  1. Wow! What a beautiful place. The color is amazing!

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  2. My brother raved over Crete and Cyprus! For a vacation island living sounds perfect, but I don't know how it would be to live there. Still on my bucket list! Thanks for hosting:)

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  3. I love the way the lights are reflecting in the water. what a lovely spot.

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  4. Pretty shot with the light on the water. Not been to Greece...looks so lovely.

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