Aghios Nikolaos

Aghios Nikolaos, the capital of the prefecture Lasithi.

Lake Voulismeni

Lake Voulismeni, the heart of Aghios Nikolaos.

History of Aghios Nikolaos

Aghios Nikolaos (called Ag Nik by many British) is a nice city on the Gulf of Merabellou having a mild, dry conditions; it been the main city of the Prefecture of Lasi­thiou since 1904. Previously, it had been a tiny fishing settlement known as Mandraki.

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The raise of the village started in 1869 when it was colonized by families from Kritsa, Sfakia and elsewhere, achieving its existing advanced level with the support of tourism, having turn out to be probably the most remarkably established tourist towns with many hotels in Greece.

The treasure of the city, around which it has expanded, is the deep lake of Vromolimni or Voulismeni or Mandraki, in previous times. Earlier the lake was cut-off from the sea and folks believed that it was endless.
Spratt measured it and determined it to be Sixty-four meters deep. The edges of the lake are vertical therefore it couldn’t have been the crater of a volcano, however the hypothesis has been put for­ward that it could have been the mouth of a river whose waters left here. In our times, the lake is fed by an underground river.
The canal which connected it to the sea was made in 1867-1869.

In the northern area of the city is the harbor with its breakwater known since the Venetian times as Porto de San Nicolo. Left, toward the end of the small bay on a minimal slope, is the little 8th century church of Ayios Nikolaos, (from which the city acquired its name), covered with wall art.
Throughout ancient times the city of Lato pros Kamara, the main harbour of some other early city, Lato pros Etaira – which was on the location Goulas near Kritsa – had been on the location of Agios Nikolaos. It flou­rished in the 3rd century as a business harbor and a free and independent city having its unique coins. Throughout the Roman and the first Byzantine time it had been used as a harbor. During the Venetian times the Venetians constructed a fortress on the highest hill in the area which they called Mera­belle and from which the region and the gulf acquired their title.

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Archeological Museum

The archeological Museum of Aghios Nikolaos is at 68 K. Palaio­logou Street. and has a superb variety of archeological discovers from all over the Prefecture of Lasithi. Within the antechamber and the 7 exhibits anyone can check out the master­pieces of Minoan artwork.

A selection of offers from the graveyard of Ayia Photia, near Siteia, from the Neolithic and pre-ppalatial times. Bird-shaped vases having incised decoration. Vases in the Vasiliki and Pyrgos kinds. A Cyeladie thing, the tigani (‘trying pan’) of unidentified use, tools, weapons and fish hooks of beginning Minoan craft.

The goddess of Myrtos is the main attraction, a libation vessel, keeping a little, beaked ewer, has a small head and a long neck.

Stone vases, small, clay discs and gold jewellery from the pre-palatial time at Mochlos. Anthropomorphic and zoomorphic votive products from peak sanc­tuaries. A gold saw having insignias in Linear A. Sareophagi from the post-palatial time, vases in the Geometric pattern and heads and busts from Archaic, Classical and Roman periods.

Aghios Nikolaos church

The Byzantine church of Aghios Nikolaos, from which the present day city got its name, is, maybe suitably, trapped within the property of the five-star hotel Minos Palace. It is really worth the time to get there, though, to check out examples of the first fresco pieces located in Greece, dating back to the 8th or 9th century. The geometric designs as well as designs that make it through are the legacy of the Iconoclastic times, which prohibited the portrayal of divine pictures in christian artwork.

Ancient city of Kamara

 ancient city of Kamara.

Parts of the ancient city of Kamara.

Lato pros Kamara, built on the place of recent Aghios Nikolaos, was the port of Lato pros Etaira, close to todays Kritsa, and from the close of the Second century Before christ – following the abandonment of the inland town – the community of the Lato region.
In the heart of Aghios Nikolaos parts of 5 structures as well as streets have already been exposed. Four or five unique structures points reflection the history of the town for over 6 centuries, starting from around the Third century Before christ towards the Third century After christ.

You will find there’s house of the Roman time. The principle constructing belongs to the Second century After christ however it has been discovered that this section is constructed on top of more aged remnants. The well-built home consists of an atrium having a two-columned elevated structure with a drain at the middle, obviously where rainfall from the roof collected, and from there carried to the main drain in the street using a clay-based channel.
In a somewhat afterwards period of the building, possibly after some catastrophe most likely as a result of flames, rash and short-term maintenance took place; openings for example windows and doors had been enclosed, while some structural pieces were gathered together in a part of the atrium – a Corinthian column capital, a smaller marble column which had suffered temperature destruction creating cracks, and rock basins.
The rooms of the building, numbering a minimum of 8, had been situated around the atrium, however the property may resume under the nearby modern street. Interesting attractions are the doors with vertical jambs; the thresholds, created from plastered mud brick; the plaster attached to the wall structure, the various openings next to a construction associated with the use of water.
There exists one more building of the period which just a tiny portion is existing.

The next constructing was most likely in public use, with particularly solid wall structure, paved floor and huge rectangular rooms.
The 4th building are structural remains from the Hellenistic time. This part wasn’t created throughout the Roman time. Simply wall structure of the home preserve, at a reasonably depth.
On the higher level the fifth construction is conserved which as time passes has gone through numerous interventions. The discovers date to a least 3rd to 4th century After christ.

The discovers consist of elements of clay and glass vessels, lights, coins, tiny bone items. A headstone inscription which was moved there in the ancient times describes a couple, people of Kamara, Apella and Roda Patronas who hope that their town Kamara should prosper always and forever.

Beaches

Beach of Kitroplatia

Beach of Kitroplatia in the heart of the center.

The beachfront nearest to the center is the shingly small cove of Kitroplatia, incredibly enjoyable even with being right in the heart of city, even though usually populated.

The primary municipal beach (with admittance charge), beyond the marina (yacht harbour) to the southwest edge of the city, isn’t less occupied. Ahead of this point there is a frequent flow of folks travelling to the superb sandy beach at Almiros or Ammoudara, 2 km towards the south, or making use of bus or bike to get to the nice beaches at Kalo Horio and beyond.

Ammoudi beach

Ammoudi beach, north of the city center.

In the other direction, heading north, a lot of natives just jump off the rocks along Akti Koundourou, though the earliest actual sandy beach in this way is at tree-shaded Ammoudi, one more municipally operate beachfront about 1 km from the center – once more, commonly busy.
Ahead of are even more tiny beaches on the way to Elounda.


Useful locations

Port boat trips

From the port various boat trips are starting.

The bus station is north of the centre in the new town. There are local buses to the centre roughly every 30 minutes. Bus destinations are Elounda, Ierapetra, Heraklion, Sitia, Kritsa, Plaka, Sisi, and Sitia.

Here you could find the latest bus timetable.

The tourist office by the bridge is particularly helpful, if often busy. There are a lots of maps and brochures, as well as currency exchange at good rates and cheap internet access.

Boat trips to point around the Gulf leave from all around the harbour. There are daily trips to Spinalonga, and various fishing, barbecue, beach and sunset tours, often with meals included.

Unfortunately, Aghios Nikolaos and its environs compared to the number of inhabitants, the majority of reported violations of the animal welfare laws in the period of 2016-2017 are complaining (together with Ierapetra).

Hotels in and around Aghios Nikolaos

Overview of available hotels in and around Aghios Nikolaos at the best price!


Video about Aghios Nikolaos

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Video about the Lake Voulismeni, port, Kitroplatia beach, marina, center and main shopping streets of Aghios Nikolaos.


Map Aghios Nikolaos

Map Aghios Nikolaos

Important phone numbers
call to international phone number
Tourist Information Office ++30 28410-22 357
Tourist Police ++30 28410-26 900
Police ++30 28410-22 321
City Council ++30 28410-28 286
Port Authority ++30 28410-22 312
Post Office ++30 28410-22 276
Fire Station 199
Bus Station ++30 28410-22 234
Taxi ++30 28410-24 000
Museum ++30 28410-22 462
Hospital ++30 28410-25 224
Veterinary Clinic ++30 2841-100 303 (Mobile 6945955860)
Olympic Airways ++30 28410-28 929

Directions to Aghios Nikolaos

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