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.
In 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's History

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).


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