Sitia

Sitia Crete

Sitia is the best ‘ambassador’ for Eastern Crete: genuine, unspoiled, friendly and picturesque. It is also the home of Vitsentzos Kornaros, a celebrated Cretan poet that gifted the world the epic poem of “‘Erotokritos’. It is characterized by its long sandy beaches, sparkling bays and fascinating mountainous landscapes that are unknown to most. Visitors looking for a relaxing experience and authentic Cretan hospitality will be well-served by including Sitia in their itinerary or better yet, using it as their base for the exploration of the easternmost parts of the island.

Sitia Today

Leaving its troubled history behind, Sitia today is a picturesque coastal town with about 11,000 inhabitants, built low on the hills around the lovely harbour. The home of Vitsentzos Kornaros, who wrote the Cretan epic ‘Erotokritos’, it has retained its local colour and its leisurely pace of life. It offers a beautiful seaside promenade next to the multi-coloured boats and wooden “kaikia” and a long sandy beach that attracts both locals and tourists. The port and the seaside promenade are arguably the busiest parts of the city, bursting with life, especially in the summer. Here you will find numerous restaurants, bars, cafes and, of course, the amazing tavernas of the city that are known for their fresh fish and Cretan delicacies. It is worth visiting the fortress of Kazarma to appreciate the view from up high, and maybe attend an event at the ‘Kornareia’, the cultural festival of Sitia. The city’s archaeological museum is a definite must, with exhibits covering the last 4000 years. The Folk Museum of Sitia is another excellent option, that offers visitors the opportunity to see a traditional house and learn about the rural traditions and customs of the people.

Sitia is a great jumping-off point for quiet holidays and there are many opportunities to explore the surrounding area. In terms of the stunning beaches, don’t miss Vai, Erimoupoli, Xerokambos and Zakros. For cultural activities and places, some of the most significant archaeological sites are those of Petras, Kato Zakros, ancient Itanos, Voila, Agia Fotia and Etia. Some of the prettiest villages in the region are Sitanos, Ziros, and Handras.

Venetian villa De Mezzo – Etia – Sitia

Venetian villa De Mezzo – Etia – Sitia

The Venetian villa Dei Mezzo, also known as the Seragio by the locals, is a once three-storied tower located at the village of Etia in eastern Crete, in the region of Sitia. The name of the village translates to “willow tree” in Greek even though it is uncertain how the connection was made.

Kazarma Fortress – Sitia

Kazarma Fortress – Sitia

The name Kazarma is derived from the Venetian Casa di Arma, which means barracks or armoury. Indeed, these were the barracks of the Venetian garrison, the army headquarters of the fortified town of Sitia. The walls of Sitia, which reached as high uphill as the fortress, were built at the same time as the Kazarma, in the late Byzantine years.

History of Sitia – East Crete

History of Sitia – East Crete

Sitia took its name from the ancient city of Itia or Itida which was located a little east of the current city. Itia was inhabited since the Bronze Age and experienced great prosperity during the 2nd century AD. It is also assumed to be the homeland of Myson, one of the seven sages of antiquity.