Places near Mirabello Gulf
Minoan Farmhouse at Chrysokamino-Chomatas
The Minoan farmhouse at the southern end of the hill of Chomatas was first occupied in the late Minoan IB period and then rebuilt and expanded in the late Minoan IIIA2-IIIB phases (ca.1500-1300 B.C.).
The original buildinghad five rooms. The latest phase of the house had 15 roomsand a large open courtyard. The finds from the building indicate routine domestic activities, as well as evidence for farming, animal husbandry, and food processing. Artifacts indicating weaving and ritual activities were found as well. In the latest phase of the house, one room contained a conical cup, ladle, a triton shell and two pairs of goat horns displayed on a raised surfacein a bedrock crevice, suggesting a small domestic shrine.
The house at Chomatas, excavated in 1996 and 1997, is one of many Minoan farmsteads and rural houses that once occupied the Kampos plain of Kavousi. This example provides details of the daily life of the occupants of a rural house of the late bronze age, as well as important information on the agricultural economy of Minoan Crete.
The Theriospilios is a small cave at Chiloftes - Therio location, 2km northwest of Kavoussi village (Ierapetra region) at an altitude of 40m, on a steep slope.
The Theriospilios cave has a total length of 44m, a maximum width of 25m and a height of 0,5 - 7m. After entering the cave, you enter in a low hall with dimensions 7m x 8m. There is a huge and spectacular room with length 37m and width 25m and height 1,6 - 7m with sloping floor. It is worth to note the presence of a large population of bats in the cave at least 200, which the visitors should take into consideration to take care not to disturb!
Theriospilios cave in Kavoussi, East Crete Theriospilios cave in Kavoussi, East Crete Theriospilios cave in Kavoussi, East Crete Theriospilios cave in Kavoussi, East Crete Theriospilios cave in Kavoussi, East Crete
Olous or Olus is an ancient, sunken city situated at the present day town of Elounda, 7km far from Agios Nikolaos.This place was settled in an organized fashion from Minoan times. Olous was one of the most important of the hundreds of cities of ancient Crete with more than 30,000 inhabitants.
It was located on the Isthmus where the island of Hersonissus, opposite, unites with the main land mass of Crete. During ancient times, the isthmus was wider and at a higher level. It was cut off during 1897-98 by the French during their command of Mirambello, shortly before Crete became self governed.
The governmental system, or rules of law, of Olous, was a type of democracy. Here they worshiped the gods Tallaios, Zeus, Apollo and Vristomartis, the latter to whom a temple was dedicated. To honor them, they used to do the "talladutes" games in the nude, and also the "vristmatia" games. They also worshipped Hesculapius who had saved the town from an unknown disease that had plagued the Oloudians.
According to the narrations of various travelers of ancient times, we learn that the inhabitants had a social and professional level of development. From inscriptions that have been found, it is suggested that they were engaged in trade, with maritime affairs and in crushing shells to make colours and paints. They were also involved in the mining of whetting stones.
Olous disappeared either because of a landslide or as a result of the large earthquake of 780 A.D. Many ancient artifacts and inscriptions have been discovered from here, most of which are on display in the archaeological museum of Aghios Nikolaos, or at The Louvre.Olous used to have its own currency. Sborous accounts for eleven different types of coins, most of them depicting Vritomaris Artemis on the one side, and Zeus as an eagle, dolphin or star on the other.
The prosperity of Olounda continued on until the first Byzantine period. This fact is revealed by the church at Poros, with its great mosaic, which can be visited today, and by the church of Kolokytha with its beautiful white marble.At Leroklis, (the Book of Sinekdinos), you can find Olous under the name of Aligos. Darkness, however, shrouds the following years between the ninth and thirteenth centuries.
Intensive archaiological survey has shown that the Tholos warehouse probably served as a granary of horreum from which Rome received shipments of its grain supplies. The port of Tholos has had a long history of occupation and use as a commercial harbor and transshipment point, from the Middle Bronze age (ca. 2000 BC) untill the Roman period (1st c. BC-6th c. AD). Especially during the 1st and 2nd c. AD, Tholos held a prominent position in wider intra-Mediterranean trade. The warehouse, elaborate in architecture and imposing in size, measures 55.70m long (N-S) and 9.60m wide (E-W). Of brick and concrete construction, it had a vaulted roof, plaster floor, and ten substantial buttresses on the east side. The port of tholos and this warehouse served as a transshipment point for boats carrying grain between Alexandria Egypt and Rome. Grain and other products, some stored in amphorae, would be unloaded in Tholos, stored for a time in the warehouse, and then shipped by carts across the isthmus of Ierapetra to cargo vessels waiting in the harbors of Hierapytna.
It is a small island ίn the north west of Mochlos that you can visit by boat from Mochlos or Agios Nikolaos. It is uninhabited now and barren.The name has alternative spellίngs and must have come about because the shape of the island seemed to resemble that of a louse ( psira : louse). South-west of the island, tucked into the corner of the bay of Merambello, is another tiny island called Konida - «the nit». It was a big Minoan hub-harbour. The settlement which was amphίtheatrically buίlt οn the side of a small cape consisted from the houses of traders, seamen, craftsmen and fishermen. Ιn almost every house existed a fireplace at one corner. There were some bigger houses one with a private temple, one with obviously a dry dock and another one decorated with exceptional murals simίlar tο those from Knossos. Two bear breasted women are depicted with fancy dresses sitting οn a rock near the seashore.Numerous very good finds οf the Minoan era were discovered especially pots. The settlement was twice destroyed once due to an earthquake and after that by the volcanic eruption οn Santorini. Psira was inhabited again in the Roman time. The excavations by the Αmerican Archaeological School are continuing.
Kolokytha island is located in the Mirabello bay opposite the resort of Elounda. In essence, it is a peninsula connected by a very thin strip of land with Elounda which is interrupted by the small isthmus of Poros.
The island has a length of 5.2 km and a width of 2.2 km. In ancient times here was the ancient city of Olous and the island was named Kalydon. Later during the Venetian rule in the region there were the saltpans of Venetians, who actually created and the island of Spinalonga, which before was a continuation of Kolokytha island, and built on it a fortress to protect the bay.
The isthmus of Poros built in 1897 by the French allies to join the lagoon of Elounda with the bay of Mirabello. They also built a stone arch bridge over the isthmus. Near the bridge there are stone windmills which create a unique scenery to the landscape of the surrounding area.
The island is a breeding place for endangered species such as Eleonora's falcon, the Audouin's gull, the sea turtle Caretta Caretta and more.
The island is full of bushes and shrubs and is an ideal place to walk in the paths between abandoned fields and ruins of earlier times. Also worth visiting the small beaches, the small church of St. Luke and the Byzantine church of Agios Fokas.
29 km easternly of Agios Nikolaos City. One pleasant surprise of the prefecture of Lasithi is the beach Tholos. In the coastal street of Agios Nikolaos-Sitia you take a left turn in the plates as soon as you reach Kavousi village. In the end of a winding way through olive grove this tropical beach is found.
Tholos is the beach of Kavousi and is usually quiet in the afternoon. The green waters and the olive grove that reaches up to the sand make this beach a destination for those who explore eastern Crete. The beach is nice, mostly with pebbles and sandy at the west end. There are some tamarisk trees near the beach, where you can find shade.
Apart from the taverns and restaurants at Pachia Ammos and the settlement of Kavoussi, there are also two fish taverns at the beach, where you may find fresh fish and seafood, drinks and refreshments. The beach offers some facilities for swimming and sunbathing (sunbeds and umbrellas), but, of course, the best shade is that of the tamarisk trees. The left end of the beach is better protected from the winds and the beach is sandy there.
Also, accommodation in hotels and rooms to let is possible and at the nearby village-resort of Pachia Ammos (some 8,5 kilometers far away, at the South). Together with a small church and one more house this is about all the buildings that you can find here. A little bit past the main beach is another smaller hidden beach that is used by naturists.
Also at the beach of Tholos you may see ruins of the Roman period, whereas an Early Minoan settlement is found on the small islet of Psira, opposite to the beach. The fans of natural sightseeing should visit the Messona gorge or the impressive Kavoussi gorge and the cave Theriospilio, with interesting stalagmites.