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Kato Simi
Category: Town-Village
Prefecture: Heraclion
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Kato Simi


Kato Simi is undoubtedly the most scenic and most beautiful mountain village in the municipality. It is built at an altitude of 800m, in a deep gorge at the base of the mountain, which is full of fructiferous and other trees such as cherries, walnuts and surrounded by very tall mountains, which almost all are covered with woods. Symi has the largest forest cover in the prefecture of Iraklion. In its area there is the great forest of Viannos.As surrounded by high mountains, Kato Simi is almost immune from the northern winds and other winds. Only the southern ones influence it. At the edge of the village flows Blavopotamos where several streams are poured, which is despatched to Faflago and ends at the Libyan Sea. Because of its mountainous character you can find there a lot of caves. The most significant ones are Zympraga Caves, Kissospilios, Leri Cave, Boubouli’s Cave, Riza Cave and Chalavra Cave.Another important natural monument of the area of Kato Simi is the gorge of Kapnisti in which, according to tradition, lived in a huge man, called Sarantapichos.The most remarkable points of the settlement is Patela at the Upper Neighbourhood where there is a nice view of the wild gorge and the mountain slopes and of the lower location called “Stou Skepastou”, which is in the Inner Neighbourhood, where you can find a beautiful water fountain, the so-called Mesa Flega, one of many that spring in the wider region of Simi. The centre of the village there is a square with a majestic plane tree. Here are most of the cafes and the village life.The most important churches are those of Panagia Galatoktismeni and Nistikoktismeni (of Virgin Mary built with milk and built by fasted builders) and of Saint George. Virgin Mary of Galatoktismeni and Nistikoktismeni (the story of the church building) Once the wife of the Duke of Chandakas, a wise and soulful woman decided to go to fulfil a vow to God in Ierapetra. As the trip was long, she was obliged to stay overnight in several villages where their hospitality was exemplary. In Kato Simi, however, although the lord of the area was very hospitable, he could not resist to her charm and he tried to seduce her with violence in middle of the night. The lady got very angry and when she returned to Chandakas, she told the whole story to her husband who livid with anger called the council and raised the issue. There various methods of punishment had been proposed for such lawless acts and finally they decided to hang him on a tree, to spread honey on him and let the wasps to kill him. So it happened.The wife of the dead man decided in order his soul to be forgiven easier from God, to build a church for the sake of Mary, but instead of using water for the making of the mud, milk was used and the workers fasted all the time they worked. The church of St.  George is located about one km outside the village at an altitude of 940m. There are important wall paintings dating the mid of15th century. It’s built in a picturesque setting. Today Kato Simi is a quiet village with 239 inhabitants, mainly dealing with agriculture, livestock and beekeeping.The antiquities of Kato Simi The most important antiquities of Viannos are located in Kato Simi. This is the Middle Minoan Sanctuary of Hermes and Aphrodite in Kria Vrissi. The sanctuary is built at an altitude of 1130m and it is one of the most significant temples of the ancient times, because it is the only known place for worship on Crete and in Greece, where the worship lasted for many centuries without interruption.It was founded around 2000 BC and the rich finds which were excavated there, show that the religious rites were taking place outdoors, with sacrifices to fire, liquid offers, ceremonial dinners, etc. The influence and reputation appear to be large, which is evidenced both by the different rooms that were built around it for hosting priests and believers and from that the position is identical to the Holy Mountain, according to Ptolemy, which was located between the ancient Tsoutsouras and the ancient Ierapytna (current Ierapetra).The cult in this area started in the Middle Minoan period and continued until Roman Empire times. The main point of the worship in the Archaic Greek period (VII and VI centuries BC) was an outdoor altar, and burning with a layer of bone around it from the animal sacrifice. Into the ashes tubular libation vessels, stone offering tables, sacred pottery bowls of the late Minoan times, bronze figurines and several animal models, laminates with excellent presentations of men who lead or lift wild animals and other animals offering for sacrifice, and three swords (Late Minoan II) excellent art of excellent art were found.Clay figurines of a naked goddess, representations of Hermes and other things were found. There are also tiles inscribed with names of temple donors. Terraces on the surrounding slopes of the mountain were used in the days of the Feast for the accommodation of pilgrims.Near the altar, a little further south, an older sanctuary of Middle Minoan time was found with miscellaneous findings and ritual vessels.At the eastern almost the entire small temple of post Hellenistic time was discovered with clay figurines, and a Roman dedicatory inscription, referred to Hermes and Nikanoras Theomnastos, who apparently, had once repaired the temple. Other buildings near the sanctuary were used apparently as dwellings of the priests.

Places near Kato Simi


Ano Simi
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The last settlement of the municipality of Ierapetra towards the municipality of Viannou, built on a verdant landscape with amazing views.

Attractions:

- The Byzantine Church of Agios Georgios, in the 15th century with magnificent frescoes, made at the time of the fall of Constantinople.

- The three-aisled Church of Transfiguration, built in 1841.