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Kritsa is a historical and traditional village and is the motherland for neighboring Agios Nikolaos as its inhabitants established the city. It has been built amphitheatrically at an altitude of 550 meters and oversees the wider geographical environment, to the east a large olive plain and the bay of Merabelos and to the west the Sitia mountains. The village maintains its old architectural character with its alleys and numerus churches.

The church of Panagia Kera is located just 1 kilometer southwest of Kritsa. It is particularly known for its preserved Byzantine frescoes. It is not known when it was built while its current form is the result of numerous interventions. It bears layers of frescoes with the oldest dating back to the 13th century and the second one to the early 14th century. The central nave includes scenes from the Christological cycle and the western nave the Second Coming. The temple is well known from the movie The Fairy and the Dancer, where many scenes were filmed.

The human presence has been uninterrupted in the area since the Late Minoan years onwards. Just three kilometers away from the village, there are the ruins of the ancient city of Lato. The ruins date back to the Doric period, 5th and 4th centuries BC. The city was destroyed around 200 BC. It got its name from Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis. Alexander the Great's admiral Nearchus also came from Lato. From the northern acropolis and at an altitude of 395 meters, the visitor can admire the view, which includes the areas of Agios Nikolaos, Kritsa, Krusta with the Katharo plateau, Kalo Chorio and Prinas.

The area is famous for the existence of interesting flora with rare endemic plants. The visitor can visit the special Rodanthi museum, located in the village, and learn about the plants of Cretan nature which the Cretans used for their diet, treatment and other daily uses. The museum also presents the natural history of Crete over millions of years through exhibits of large mammal and plant fossils.

Through the village and on a well-marked path, the gorge of Kritsa begins, which, after 10 kilometers of hiking, ends at the village of Tapes. Its entrance is very impressive with narrow passages and high walls. The visitor admires the geological diversity of the area and enjoys nature. It is a masterpiece of nature and is worth visiting, especially in Spring when there are flowers and water. A hat, suitable shoes and water are essential.

To the west of Kritsa and at a distance of 16 kilometers, there is the plateau of Katharo. The route crosses a beautiful forest. There are several crops of potatoes, apples and vines. Local taverns operate throughout the summer and offer traditional food. The shepherds' festival takes place on the first weekend after August 15th, and then the plateau is flooded with people who come to enjoy local delicacies, learn about cheese production methods and be entertained with traditional music.

(More articles about Crete on www.gomega.gr)