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 Achlia Beach beach
 Afratabeach
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 Agia Eirini beach
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 Agios Georgios beach
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 Agios Matheios church
 Agios Nikolaoschurchbeach
 Agios Nikolaos church
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 Agios Stephanos
 Agios Vasilioschurch
 Akoumiachurch
 Alikamboschurch
 Aliki & Almiridabeachchurch
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THE ANCIENT TOWN OF ITANOS AND THE BEACHES OF ITANOS ON CRETE
Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta
Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta

Nederlands map of Crete A short drive north of the famous palm beach of Vai (in the north east of Crete, distance 2 kilometers) and the monastery of Toplou, you find the relatively isolated bays and beaches of Itanos (three of them in total, also including a rather nice and relatively quiet sandy nudist beach). As an extra bonus there is a Minoan / Dorian city at the entrance of the main beach. From the bay you look out over the Dionisades islands. Itanos was one of the most influential places in the east of Crete. It thrived from early Minoan to early Byzantian times. There are traces of a basilica and of Greek walls, and a lot of fallen apart traces on the hill.

Itanos was particularly powerful during the Greek era and it was flourishing by the seventh century B.C. Itanos was continuously at war with its neighbours, originally with Praisos, and when Ierapytna / Ierapetra destroyed Praisos, Itanos was at war with Ierapytna / Ierapetra.

Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta
Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta

An important reason for the conflict with Ierapetra was dispute over the control of the Temple of Zeus in Palaikastro / Palekastro. Only after another town (Praises) was defeated and some sort of cooperation with Ierapatra was established Itanos started to thrive. This was a few centuries BC.

The port of Itanos was situated in a very strategic place and the town started to trade with Egypt and the surrounding towns. In the 8th century AD Itanos was destroyed in an earthquake but the inhabitants stayed and rebuilt the town. Only in the 15th century after attacks by pirates the town was finally destroyed and deserted.

Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta
Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta

Because the west of Crete slowly elevates upwards and the east of the island is slowly sinking (6 to 9 meters in the last 2000 years, mainly caused by earthquakes, see also: Gramvousa) parts of the harbour of Itanos have now sunk into the sea. The town was situated on the plain between the two hills and on the hills stood the acropolis. On the eastern hill are the remains of a basilica and in the north is a graveyard. In Itanos there are many remains of walls and of foundations of statues. The site of Itanos covers an area of more than 16,000 square meters, and most of it is still not escavated.

Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta
Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta Itanos, Crete, Kreta

If after you've seen the nearby palmbeach of Vai you think that that is too commercial and too cultivated, than these beaches are closeby and a good option. In the area there are more quiet places to be found. Up north the road suddenly ends. Well: you are not allowed to drive any further for one reason or another. There are no tavernas, restaurants or anything at all at the site, so you must bring your own supplies. The reason is probably because a lot of the site has not been escavated yet, and it is not allowed to build houses any longer (we saw one). If you want a nice beach in the area with restaurants and hotels than Kouremenos (close to Palekastro) would be a good choice.


Hans Huisman, http://www.angelfire.com/super2/greece/ 2014
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