| Cressa Ghitonia's History
Cressa Ghitonia Village is a
designated “Traditional Cretan Neighbourhood” of the 1800’s that has
been fully reconstructed while maintaining all of its original elements.
At each of Cressa Ghitonia’s 15 houses, suites, studios or rooms you
will have the opportunity to travel back in time, but still benefit from
all modern comforts.
Each-and-every-one of our rooms is truly unique, with historical value, and it has maintained its heritage.
the past centuries, most of these properties where the permanent
residences of the people of the village of Sfaka or were used by them
for their everyday activities. One of the houses used to be a winepress,
in another the Sfakans used to produce olive oil, and in a third they
made and repaired shoes. Every room has maintained its original layout
depending on the property’s former use.
Crete has a long history through the centuries and its
strategic location at the crossroads of the ancient civilizations of the
Mediterranean was the main reason for the continuous claim of the island
by many occupants.
Crete is the birthplace of Zeus, the
ruler of the gods, people and hospitality. Even today the hospitality of
the Cretans is more than a ritual. The first European civilization, the
Minoan, emerged here between 2800 BC and 1400 BC. Even today, the
palaces of Knossos, Phaestus, Malia and Zakros reflect the splendor of
the Minoan civilization through the masterpieces of architecture,
pottery, gold, silversmithing and painting. The most powerful fleet in
the then known world, as evidenced by the different findings across the
Mediterranean, brought wealth to Crete from trading the famous Cretan
cypress and its agricultural products. This brilliant course was
terminated in 1400 BC when the Achaeans and the Dorians made their
presence on the island, founding new towns (eg Lato, Polyrineia) and
gave the baton to the Classical Greek civilization.
After the conquest of Crete by the
Romans, the capital moved to Gortys, which subsequently became the
capital of the Roman province of Crete and Cyrene. During his journey to
Rome, St. Paul stopped in Crete and proclaimed Christianity, beginning a
century-old monastic tradition in more remote areas. The island became
an important Christian center as depicted in hundreds of religious
monuments, scattered everywhere.
In 824 AD Crete was conquered by the
Arabs, who turned Candia (today’s Iraklion) to a base for pirate attacks
in the Mediterranean Sea. After many failed attempts, the Byzantines
managed to release Crete in 961, under the commands of the later emperor
Nikiforos Fokas, giving a new impetus in Christian tradition on Crete.
After the conquest of Constantinople by
the Crusaders in 1204, the Venetian became the new rulers of Crete until
1669. During this period Crete experienced a great economic and
spiritual wellbeing. The big cities were rebuilt, decorated with amazing
monuments and fortified with massive walls. Moreover, the art reached
its apogee with great personalities from the field of hagiography, as El
Greco (El Greco) and Michael Damascinos. Moreover, literature, music
and theater thrived and produced masterpieces, like Erotokritos and
Erofili. All these were abruptly interrupted in 1669 when Candia,
Crete’s last stronghold, surrendered
by the Ottomans.
Successive revolutions led to the autonomy of Crete in 1897. In 1913 Crete became part
of the Greek territory, honoring the longed dream of all Cretans for the
Union. During the Union of Crete, the politician Eleftherios Venizelos
came into foreground, who would later become the greatest leader that
ever ruled Greece. The most important historical moment of Crete after the Union with
Greece was the Battle of Crete, when all the Cretan people resisted the
Axis with unbelievable bravery, along with the allied forces -
Englishmen, Australians and New Zealanders - that arrived on the island
(May 20th – 29th 1941).