In a medieval atmosphere…


A small, picturesque village at the foothills of Mount Attavyros, which, when first developed (around 1480), was called “Castellos”.  In 1947, the name was considered rather foreign and, thus, the inhabitants decided to give it a new name following a local myth. According to this myth, Althemenis, a prince of Crete, left his homeland to avoid killing his father, as an oracle had predicted. The young prince arrived to Rhodes, where he would establish a new Crete, “Kritinia” (meaning small Crete), to remind him of his land. However, years later, the prophesy was to be fulfilled. The prince killed his father, without wanting or intending to do so, and his own life met a tragic end. 

In later times, various conquerors took turns in ruling, until the Knights settled on the island. Then, just after the major natural disasters in the form of floods in 1479 and earthquakes in 1480-1481, the surviving inhabitants -along with everything they were able to save- built new settlements, among which the village Castellos, around the new built castle. The village of Castellos, today Kritinia, was named after the medieval castle built on a high rocky area overlooking the sea to the west. Over the years, being now under the Ottoman rule, the locals began to move higher up towards the foothills of Attavyros to save themselves from the frequent marauding forays of mayhem-loving pirates, and they finally settled in the place where the present-day Kritinia is.  

In 1852, the Church of Agios Georgios [St. George], the patron saint of the village, with its unique carved iconostasis, was completed and inaugurated. Around 1906, the idea of establishing a school came up, and so the “CASTELLO CITY SCHOOL” was established in 1909. One of the facts in modern history that we are aware of is that, during the Ottoman rule, a group of families from Crete left their island and settled initially in Kritinia and later on set up the villages of Embonas and Mandriko.

Nowadays, the villagers are mostly engaged in agriculture and less in fishing and livestock farming, while they see to it that the older monasteries of Agios Ioannis [St. John] dating back to the early 16th century, of Amartos, dating back to the times of the Knights, and of Agios Georgios [St. George] in Liros are well preserved.

One of the main attractions for many tourists is the castle of the village, as it offers a breathtaking view and is quite easy to climb. Once on the top and provided that the atmosphere is clear, one can easily make out the rocky islets “Makri” [Long] and “Stroggili” [Round]. Admission to the castle is free and so is the admission to the art museum, a bit further down the road to the castle, where you can admire traditional village costumes and household items. On the way, you will also come across a mill, where you can get local produce. After your visit to the castle, a stroll in the village is always a pleasure:  discover the chapel with its two old cypresses and its Byzantine icons. If you find yourself here during the summer months, a dive at the beach of “Kopria” is all you need to stay cool before moving on.




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