Agios Nikolaos town

Agios Nikolaos town, Crete

Agios Nikolaos, city map
To see : lake, port, churches (some with frescoes), promenade, museums, chapel.
Curiously, this harbor city has a lake (Voulismeni) The lake is surrounded by the old town, which invites you to stroll around and relax. The lake has been connected to the sea by a channel since the end of the last century. The lake is the source of many legends and is now the tourist heart of Agios Nikolaos with its many cafes and small boats lined up. The port is quite large and can accommodate large ships. With its life, colours, lights and warm atmosphere, Agios Nikolaos is built on the ruins of the ancient city of "Lato pros Kamara". Despite the booming tourism industry, the traditional profile of the town remains intact. (see our page: the Agios Nikolaos area)

Agios Nikolaos. Voulismeni lake
Agios Nikolaos. Voulismeni lake

The cobbled streets and squares, the traditional houses and the lake at the entrance to the harbour are among the interesting sites to see.

The town of Agios Nikolaos received its name after the construction of the charming Byzantine chapel on the site called "Nissi" in the 7th century BC. B.C. This church has interesting frescoes from the 8th, 10th and 11th centuries. It offers a view of the city and the bay.

The site of the present town corresponds to the ancient "Lato pros Kamares", the port of "Lato Etera", an important and powerful town near the village of Kritsa. During the Roman and early Byzantine periods, it also served as a port. Under Venetian rule, the Venetians built the fortress of Mirabello on the site where the prefecture building now stands. Nothing remains of it today, but it gave its name to the prefecture and the bay. When the Venetians built another port in the area ofElounda ,

Elounda, Crete.
Elounda, Crete. Near Agios Nikolaos. Luxury tourism

to the northwest, called "Porto di San Nicolo", the importance of the port of Agios Nikolaos has decreased.

Le port a son charme donné par les maisons aux toits de tuiles qui l’entoure, par les illuminations (le soir) des lampes des magasins et par les bateaux et kaïkis attachés aux docks. Deux charmantes îles sont situées à l’entrée du port. La plus grande des deux sert de refuge aux protégées Kri-Kri. On peut y voir la chapelle d’Agion Panton ou de Tous Saints.

The Voulismeni lake or Xepatomeni is located at the entrance to the port and is the focal point of tourist life. According to mythology, Diana and Athena bathed here. After a landslide, the water became so murky that the bottom was no longer visible and the natives called it "bottomless" or "sunk". The water only became clear again after the canal was built in 1867.

For a walk through the city (no more than an hour), you can start at the bridge between the lake and the harbour (where the folklore museum is also located) and walk up Odos Kunduru, the main shopping street. Take the third side street on the right, Odos Plastira, where there are cafés with a great view of the harbour, the city and the lake.

Agios Nikolaos, Crete. Lively city centre
Agios Nikolaos, Crete. Lively city centre

Continuing along this street, you will come to the main square, the Platia Venizelu, where the church of Agia Triada is located, modern but traditionally painted inside. Going straight on, you will reach the coastal road where you will walk to the left, along the sea and the edge of the town, to return to the starting point after passing

The church of Agios Nikolaos, located near the entrance to the Minos Palace Hotel, is the oldest in the city. Here you can see some rare remains of wall paintings, dating from one of the most important periods of the Byzantine era, the War of the Images (726-842). At that time, churches were decorated exclusively with geometric and natural motifs. It was only after the end of this war that painters were again allowed to depict holy and biblical scenes.

Spinalonga, Crete
Island of Spinalonga, Crete. Near Agios Nikolaos

The key to the church can be borrowed from the reception of the Minos Palace Hotel upon presentation of an identity document.

Archaeological Museum :

The museum is located in Odos Paleologou, near the lake. Closed on Mondays and free on Sundays. The collection comes from various archaeological sites in the area and also from other sites in Crete.

Folk Museum :

This small museum, which is closed on Saturdays, offers various embroidered fabrics and jewellery as well as old manuscripts. You can also visit the municipal library of "Koundourios".

(see our page on Agios Nikolaos)

Source: "grecomania"