the southernmost town in Europe
town of the district (county) of the same name, this lovely town of south-
eastern Crete is situated at latitude N 35001 and longitude 25045, 105 km
away from Iraklion, 36 km from Agios Nikolaos and 56 km from Sitia.
combines a brilliant past with a present of economic growth and extension.
It has the largest population in the prefecture of Lassithi and the fourth
largest in all Crete. In 1981 census 8,570 inhabitants were registered
within the town, and the population of the greater Ierapetra community
including the villages of Kendri, Gra Lygia, Vainia and Stavros was
It is a center
for winter tourism because the temperature seldom falls below 120
centigrade, and the mean annual temperature is 200 centigrade; also it has
the most hours of sunshine and lowest rainfall of all Greece.
It has a long sandy beach and clean blue sea which attracts thousands of
visitors every year.
the beach of Ierapetra, from east to west, within a distance of 4 miles is
suitable for swimming.
In the town there are two organized beaches, with umbrellas, sun-chairs,
bars, water sports etc. One is located east of the town and the other near
the port, in front of the old town.
The beaches of
Ierapetra are awarded each single year with Blue
Flags, by the European Community.
the ideal place for those who seek an intense night life.
Tourist facilities improve all time, both in terms of services and the
number of beds available.
The town has :
Kindergartens and full facilities for primary and
secondary education, and the authority for the inspection of the county's primary schools is based
in the town.
Public Treasury branch office
Post Office (ELTA)
Telephone & Telegraph office (OTE)
Electricity Board (DEI)
Public Health Insurance Branch (IKA)
Agricultural Research Station
A town Band
Packaging plant for vegetable produce
An important Archaeological Collection
A well equipped hospital
A library of 3,000 volumes jointly owned by the
Town Council and the Educational Society
A Cultural Center, and
Branches of all the main Greek Banks.
The visitor can
take a leisurely walk in the vivid center of the town, along the coast, in
the small municipal park near the Town Hall, or in the quiet picturesque
narrow streets of "Kato Mera" - the old part of the town.
Pick up a handmade gift from a colorful market stall and enjoy the
exciting sounds of busy Cretan life!
The character and the charm of the cosy old neighborhood has been retained,
while it has been given new life as a shopping and eating experience for
Local handicrafts and souvenirs, valuable gold or silver items, fashion
wear, leather goods or the latest sports goods can be found at surprising
prices all over town.
Blooming yards, narrow paved street, and churches. In this part of the
town every little quarter has its own old church clear and perfectly
preserved. Every one of them has its own history.
There are some small hotels, cafes, taverns and shops in the old town, and
many sights to visit, such as the mosque and the Ottoman fountain and
When Napoleon was en route to
Egypt and his campaign against the
Mamelukes, he stopped off,
according to the tradition, and spent
a night in Ierapetra.
The visitor to
the town today will search in vain for remains of the indomitable city
which succeeded in dominating the whole of eastern Crete and was the last
city to surrender to the Roman legions- a city which made political
contacts not only with many parts of Greece but also with the Near East
and North Africa.
There is nothing to be seen of the public buildings, theatres, houses,
cisterns and baths- nothing remains, at least nothing has yet found of the
temples and even sacred precincts dedicated to the particular deities
worshipped by the inhabitants.
The archaeologist' s spade has confirmed that the ancient Hierapytna was
indeed located where the texts of early travellers claimed, in the area
now known as Viglia or Poles to the west of the modern town.
The wealth of the ancient city was so impressive that Venetian governors
such as Alvise Grimani and Turkish pashas like Mahmout Pasha, made
systematic searches looking for archaeological treasures to carry off back
to Italy or Constantinople.
The port of Ierapetra is located at the old town and gives shelter to
small boats and ships. Efforts are made to enlarge the port so to be able
for bigger ships to dock and make Ierapetra the only one town on the south
coast line of Crete in direct line with the African countries and the
To day only fishing boats and small cruising ships can moor.
Various travellers of past centuries have written about the ruins of
ancient Hierapytna. Chr. Buondelmondi travelled around Crete in 1415 A.C.
and writes: "... we also saw a big harbor. I concluded that due to
age and the action of the sea which spreads away to the south, the harbor
has become silted up. The villagers have converted it from the once famous
port that it was into a fertile field"
The Fort "
The fort, built by the Venetians and Known to Ierapetrans as the "Kales",
has been erected on the top of the southernmost mole of the ancient
harbour. It is one of those monuments of the past which, because of its
solid construction and the fact that it was still garrisoned until the
latest years of the last century, still exists today to serve as a
reminder of some of the nation's most difficult times.
The Church of
The church of Afentis Christos, is near the fort, a little to the west in
the "Sarakina" area. It has two aisle, the second being
dedicated to St Charalambos. There is a beautiful wooden iconostasis and a
number of fine icons. It is regarded as being the oldest church in the
town, probably having been built in the 14th century. In about 1970
however, the western end was extended, changing the basic form of the
church. It is an old custom for the metropolitan to celebrate the
Resurrection, and the burning of Judas, at this church each Ester.
The Museum houses the Archaeological Collection of Ierapetra which is
supposed to exist since the Turkish occupation.
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