Ierapetra

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Ierapetra

Ιεράπετρα
Ierapetra C.jpg
View of town port.
Greece location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Ierapetra
Location within the region
2011 11 Dimos Ierapetras.png
Coordinates: 35°0′N25°44′E / 35.000°N 25.733°E / 35.000; 25.733 Coordinates: 35°0′N25°44′E / 35.000°N 25.733°E / 35.000; 25.733
Country Greece
Administrative region Crete
Regional unit Lasithi
Government
  MayorTheodosios Kalantzakis (since 01 September 2014)
Area
  Municipality554.0 km2 (213.9 sq mi)
  Municipal unit394.8 km2 (152.4 sq mi)
Highest elevation
18 m (59 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
Population
 (2011) [1]
  Municipality
27,602
  Municipality density50/km2 (130/sq mi)
  Municipal unit
23,708
  Municipal unit density60/km2 (160/sq mi)
Community
[1]
  Population16,139 (2011)
Time zone UTC+2 (EET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
72x xx
Area code(s) 284x0
Vehicle registration AN
Website www.ierapetra.gr

Ierapetra (Greek : Ιεράπετρα, lit. 'sacred stone'; ancient name: ἹεράπυτναHierápytna) [2] is a Greek town and municipality located on the southeast coast of Crete.

Contents

History

The town of Ierapetra (in the local dialect: Γεράπετρο Gerapetro) is located on the southeast coast of Crete, situated on the beach of Ierapetra Bay. This town lies south of Agios Nikolaos and southwest of Sitia, and is an important regional center. With 16,139 inhabitants (in 2011), Ierapetra is the most populous town in the regional unit of Lasithi and the fourth most populous town in Crete. Ierapetra is nicknamed "the bride of the Libyan Sea" because of its position as the only town on Crete's southern coast.

Antiquity

Ierapetra has retained a prominent place in the history of Crete since the Minoan period. The Greek and later Roman town of Hierapytna was located on the same site as present-day Ierapetra.

In the Classical Age, Hierapytna became the most substantial Dorian city in eastern Crete and was in a continual rivalry with Praisos, the last Minoan city on the island.

In the 3rd century BC, Hierapytna was notorious for piracy and took part in the Cretan War with other Cretan cities, siding with Philip V of Macedon against Knossos and Rhodes.

The city of Gortyn surpassed Hierapytna's importance as an independent state when Hierapytna was conquered by the Romans in 67 BC (the last free city in Crete). The Roman conquest of Hierapytna coincided with that of Knossos, Cydonia, and Lato. [3] Today, the remains of the Roman harbor can still be seen in the shallow bay.

Medieval era

In AD 824, Arab invaders destroyed the city and rebuilt it as a base for pirates.

View of the old Venetian fortress. Ierapetra R01.jpg
View of the old Venetian fortress.
Old Ottoman mosque. Ierapetra R04.jpg
Old Ottoman mosque.

From the 13th to the 17th centuries, Ierapetra, now known by its present name, became prosperous under the influence of Venice. The Fortress of Kales, built in the early years of Venetian rule and strengthened by Francesco Morosini in 1626 [4] to protect the harbor, is a remnant of this period. Local myth, however, states the Genoese pirate Pescatore built the fortress in 1212. In July 1798, Ierapetra made a small step into world history; Napoleon stayed with a local family [5] after the Battle of the Pyramids in Egypt. The house he occupied still exists.

Modern era

During the Ottoman period, a mosque was built in Ierapetra.

Finds from Ierapetra's past can be found in the local Museum of Antiquities, formerly a school for Muslim children. The exhibition's centerpiece is a well-preserved statue of Persephone.

Present-day Ierapetra consists of two distinct areas, Kato Mera and Pano Mera. Kato Mera is the old town section located on the southwestern headland. It is characterized by a medieval street layout with narrow alleyways, cul-de-sacs, and small houses, which create a village-like atmosphere. The former mosque and the "house of Napoleon" can be found in this neighborhood, as well as the Aghios Georgios metropolitan church, built in the town center in 1856. Aghios Georgios is considered one of the most innovative churches in Crete. The church's ceiling contains many "blind" domes. These domes and the central dome are constructed mainly from cedarwood. Pano Mera is a much larger new town section, containing wider streets and three to four-story houses. Pano Mera is still expanding towards the west, north, and east.

Ierapetra's principal shopping street is Koundouriotou. In the central section of Pano Mera, there is a town hall, a museum, a cinema, and a hospital. To the west is the southern headland containing the fortress, a port for fishing boats, and the 'Navmachia' area, where sea fights among slaves for citizens' entertainment occurred during the Roman occupation. Further east is a short beach with bars and restaurants, followed by the quay for ferries to Chrissi. Further on lies the main boulevard, which contains hotels, bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops. At its end, a promenade runs parallel to Ierapetra Bay's long beach.

The local government has planned the development of a new international port. This plan is being opposed by some citizens who think it will destroy the local environment and scenery. They are supported by Ecocrete.gr, a local environmental tribune. [6]

Infrastructure

Education

In 2003, the Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Marketing and Commerce was opened in Ierapetra. [7] In the wake of the Greek financial crisis, in early 2013, the government had to decide whether to merge or close several schools (in a plan named "Athena" after the Greek goddess of wisdom), including TEI of Marketing in Ierapetra, sparking protests. Around 7,000 people staged a peaceful protest on 8 February 2013 holding candles and torches. Local authorities and local media described the march as "the biggest rally in Ierapetra to date." [8] On 12 February 2013, the town of Ierapetra witnessed a big protest rally, as thousands of people took to the streets once again, demanding the TEI school to stay in town and the hospital to be upgraded. [9]

Health

People in Ierapetra staging a protest rally for the hospital and the technical school of the city. Ierapetra rally for hospital and TEI 12 Feb 2013 c.jpg
People in Ierapetra staging a protest rally for the hospital and the technical school of the city.

The General Hospital of Ierapetra was set up in 1955 with funds from Cretans who lived in the USA. In 2010, it was announced that, under a government plan for new administrative divisions called "the Kallikratis Project", the hospital was to be shut down. This sparked an unprecedented wave of protests within the region, as the hospital serves 40,000 people including some from the neighboring prefecture of Agios Nikolaos. The protests culminated in a march that took place on 25 January 2011. Another march from Ierapetra to Iraklion followed on the same day, with over 2,500 people from and around the town taking part. Protests included occupying the building where the Decentralized Administration was located and an outdoor theatrical play performed by the protestors. Following those incidents, it was announced that the authorities had halted the plans to close the hospital, instead funding it with 1 million euros and promising to send more doctors. [10]

However, despite the promises of the government, problems still existed surrounding the inadequate provision of health services and the lack of staff in the only hospital in the region. As a result, a fresh round of protests began on 26 May 2011 with a rally outside the seat of the municipality in Ierapetra. Around 1,000 people came to storm the town hall, protesting the latest additions to the building and demanding hospital upgrades instead. The protest, which is regarded a precedent for the region, lasted for 16 days. [11] A row between the municipal authorities and the commission that advocated the upgrade of the hospital resulted in a stalemate and the prosecution of the people who led the storming of the town hall. The Head of the local church, Evgenios, mediated the negotiations and went to Athens along with the mayor and other officials. Negotiations eventually resulted in an agreement to upgrade the hospital. [12] Following an order by the incumbent mayor, 14 citizens were put to trial for the town hall occupation and were found not guilty on 11 July 2011. [13] It was the first such trial in the town to date. Another protest on 20 July 2011 featured a march from Ierapetra to Iraklion [14] and yet another despite the rain in Heraklion on 29 February 2012.

According to inspectors, the hospital was rated "as an example for other hospitals in regional Greece". However, it was merged by the government only two months before the June 2012 Greek legislative elections. Over the next few months, the merger caused yet more problems concerning bureaucracy, inadequate food and supplies, and a lack of qualified medical professionals. On 30 January 2013, people[ who? ] staged another protest outside the hospital of Ierapetra. [15] The hospital was at the center of a new rally in Ierapetra which took place on 12 February 2013 and another spreading throughout the prefecture of Lasithi. As a result, on 20 February 2013, thousands of people from Lasithi marched to Selinari, Lasithi, and Iraklion. Following the march, Cretans from Lasithi demanded access to health services, equal to the rest of Crete, and stormed the Regional Health headquarters in Iraklion. The unrest ended on 22 February 2013 following an agreement with officials that TEI schools, hospitals, and facilities would stay in the region. [16]

The situation relapsed in early 2014 and a new rally was held on 7 May 2014. People from Ierapetra went to Heraklion, where they met with Antonios Grigorakis, the Head of the Prefecture in charge of Health, who committed to installing a permanent pathologist in the General Hospital (coming from another hospital in the Prefecture of Lasithi). Three people were injured before the meeting following clashes with the police. [17]

Demographics

The municipality of Ierapetra was formed under the 2011 local government reform through the merger of 2 former municipalities Makry Gialos and Ierapetra, which became municipal units. [18] The new municipality of Ierapetra has an area of 554.003 km2 (213.902 sq mi).

The municipal unit of Ierapetra has an area of 394.774 km2 (152.423 sq mi). [19] The municipal unit has a population of 23,708 (2011) and consists of the town of Ierapetra (population 16,139 in 2011), several villages, and the island of Chrissi. These settlements include:

The municipal unit of Makry Gialos was established as a municipality in 1998. In 2011, it had an area of 159.229 square kilometres (61.479 sq mi) and a population of 3,894. It consists of the communities:

Ierapetra as a Province

The province of Ierapetra (Greek : Επαρχία Ιεράπετρας) was one of the provinces of Lasithi. Its territory corresponded partially with that of the current municipality of Ierapetra. [20] It was abolished in 2006.

Economy

Employment
Primary sector: 49%
Secondary sector: 14%
Tertiary sector: 37%

The area's main economic activities are agriculture in the winter and tourism in the summer. Agricultural production in the area can be divided into two main parts. Whereas olive oil has been produced throughout the municipality since Minoan times at the latest, for the last thirty years large quantities of fruit and vegetables have also been exported. These are grown in plastic greenhouses, which cover an area of 15 square kilometers between the town of Ierapetra and Neos Myrtos. They also exist in Psari Forada in the western part, as well as, to a lesser degree, between the town and Goudouras in the eastern part of the municipality. The greenhouses were introduced by the Dutchman Paul Kuypers. The inhabitants of Ierapetra used to be on average among the richest on Crete due to their greenhouse exports. [ citation needed ]

Notable Landforms

Ha Gorge. HaGorgeExit.jpg
Ha Gorge.

Gorges

Beaches

Golden coast. Chrissi Island's Golden Coast in Ierapetra, Crete, Greece.jpg
Golden coast.

Ierapetra was selected from among 500 South European destinations by the QualityCoast International Certification Program of EUCC as one of the 50 most attractive tourist destinations for visitors interested in cultural heritage, environment, and sustainability. [21] In 2012, Ierapetra was one of the only three destinations in Greece that won the Gold QualityCoast award. It was ranked 2nd among the Top 100 chosen European destinations. [22]

Other

Climate

Ierapetra's average annual temperature 1956-1997 was 19.7 °C (67 °F). [23] [24] Ierapetra, along with Karpathos Island, was reported to be Greece's warmest location in 1987. [25] Ierapetra gets over 3100 hours of sunshine per year and is Greece's sunniest city. [26]

Climate data for Ierapetra, Crete, Greece (1956-1997)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)16.1
(61.0)
16.2
(61.2)
17.7
(63.9)
20.5
(68.9)
24.7
(76.5)
29.3
(84.7)
32
(90)
32
(90)
28.9
(84.0)
25
(77)
21.2
(70.2)
17.8
(64.0)
23.5
(74.3)
Average low °C (°F)9.2
(48.6)
8.9
(48.0)
10
(50)
12.1
(53.8)
15.6
(60.1)
19.9
(67.8)
23.2
(73.8)
23.4
(74.1)
20.6
(69.1)
17.2
(63.0)
13.8
(56.8)
10.9
(51.6)
15.4
(59.7)
Average precipitation mm (inches)100.9
(3.97)
70.7
(2.78)
44.8
(1.76)
20
(0.8)
10.4
(0.41)
1.3
(0.05)
0.2
(0.01)
0.7
(0.03)
13.7
(0.54)
41.7
(1.64)
61.8
(2.43)
118.3
(4.66)
484.5
(19.08)
Source: HNMS [23] [24]

Transportation

One can travel to Ierapetra by plane through domestic or charter flights to Sitia airport (59 km) or Heraklion airport (94 km). There are also frequent ferry departures from Piraeus to the Sitia and Heraklion ports.

Chrysi

Chrysi beach. Chrissi.jpg
Chrysi beach.

Chrysi (Golden) or Gaidhouronisi (Donkey Island) is an uninhabited island some twelve kilometers (7.5 miles) off the coast of the town of Ierapetra. It is 5 km (3 mi) long and on average one kilometre (0.62 miles) wide. On average, the island is 10 metres (33 feet) above sea level. Kefala, the highest point of the island, is 31 metres (102 feet) above sea level. The island is known for its white beaches, sand dunes, and forest of pines and junipers. The western tip of the island has some remains of past settlement: a few Minoan ruins and a 13th-century Byzantine chapel dedicated to Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas). The main sources of wealth in the settlement were fishing, salt export, and the export of porphyra (Tyrian purple), a scarlet dye made from shells. After the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, the island was abandoned, although it was later used as a hideout.

Nowadays the island is protected as an "area of intense natural beauty". The island attracts many tourists, especially in the summer. As camping is forbidden on the island, only day trips are possible. Ferries leave the quay at Ierapetra daily at 10 A.M. and return at 5 P.M. Visitors are not allowed to roam freely over the island, but only on designated paths and some beaches close to the eastern tip of the island. There is a small tavern at the ferry landing. The rocky islet of Mikronisi (Small Island) lies 700 metres (2,297 feet) to the east of Chrysi.

Minoan sites

Related Research Articles

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Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus and Corsica. It bounds the southern border of the Aegean Sea. Crete rests approximately 160 km (99 mi) south of the Greek mainland. It has an area of 8,336 km2 (3,219 sq mi) and a coastline of 1,046 km (650 mi).

Heraklion Place in Greece

Heraklion or Iraklion is the largest city and the administrative capital of the island of Crete and capital of Heraklion regional unit. It is the fourth largest city in Greece with a population of 211,370 according to the 2011 census. The population of the municipality was 173,993.

Lasithi Regional unit in Crete, Greece

Lasithi is the easternmost regional unit on the island of Crete, to the east of Heraklion. Its capital is Agios Nikolaos, the other major towns being Ierapetra, Sitia and Neapoli. The mountains include the Dikti in the west and the Thrypti in the east. The Sea of Crete lies to the north and the Libyan Sea to the south.

Myrtos

Myrtos is a coastal village in the west of the municipality of Ierapetra, in the Regional Unit of Lasithi on the Greek island of Crete. It is located 50 km (31 mi) from Agios Nikolaos and 15 km (9.3 mi) from Ierapetra, on the road to Viannos. A little to the west of the village is the iconic conical Kolektos mountain. Myrtos is situated on the Libyan Sea. The patron saint of the village is Saint Anthony. The population of the village in 2010 was approximately 600 people.

Sitia Place in Greece

Sitia is a port town and a municipality in Lasithi, Crete, Greece. The town has 9,912 inhabitants (2011) and the municipality has 18,318 (2011). It lies east of Agios Nikolaos and northeast of Ierapetra. Sitia port is on the Sea of Crete, part of the Aegean Sea and is one of the economic centers of the Lasithi region. European route E75, which ends in Vardø, starts in Sitia. Sitia is served by the Sitia Public Airport. Sitia has not experienced the effects of mass tourism even though there is a long beach along the road leading to Vai and several places of historical interest.

Agios Nikolaos, Crete Place in Greece

Agios Nikolaos, Hagios Nikolaos or Aghios Nikolaos is a coastal town on the Greek island of Crete, lying east of the island's capital Heraklion, north of the town of Ierapetra and west of the town of Sitia.

Koutsouras (Κουτσουράς) is a village in Lasithi regional unit, in Crete, Greece 22 kilometers east of Ierapetra. Its population is 818. It was the headquarters of the municipality of Makry Gialos and is the biggest village in the region. Key economic activities include agriculture and tourism. It has nice beaches and a golf course is due to be built over the next five years. The coast is rocky and there are beautiful pebble beaches with crystal clear waters. Today it is the seat of Makry Gialos municipal unit and part of Ierapetra municipality.

Heraklion (regional unit) Regional unit in Crete, Greece

Heraklion is one of the four regional units of Crete. The capital is the city of Heraklion.

Makry Gialos Place in Greece

Makry Gialos is a former municipality in Lasithi, Crete, Greece, with a population 3,894 in 2011. It is located on the south-east coast of Crete. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Ierapetra, of which it is a municipal unit. The municipal unit has an area of 159.229 km2 (61.479 sq mi). The seat of the municipality was in Koutsouras, 22 kilometers east of Ierapetra. It was established in 1998 when the communities of Schinokapsala, Orino, Stavrochori, Chrisopigi, Aghios Stefanos, Pefki, Lithines and Pervolakia amalgamated into one municipality (Δήμος).

Lasithi Plateau Place in Greece

The Lasithi Plateau, sometimes spelt Lassithi Plateau is a high endorheic plateau, located in the Lasithi regional unit in eastern Crete, Greece. Since the 1997 Kapodistrias reform, it is a municipality whose seat is Tzermiado and the second biggest village is Agios Georgios. The municipality has an area of 129,9 km2.

Priniatikos Pyrgos

Priniatikos Pyrgos is an archaeological site near Istron River, in the eastern Cretan regional unit of Lasithi, (Greece). The nearest big town is Agios Nikolaos, Crete. The site is on a coastal promontory. It appears to have been first settled in the Final Neolithic, circa 3000 BC. Nearby, there's a small resort town of Kalo Chorio, Lasithi. It is not to be confused with Myrtos Pyrgos on the south coast.

Viannos massacres

The Viannos massacres were a mass extermination campaign launched by Nazi forces against the civilian residents of around 20 villages located in the areas of east Viannos and west Ierapetra provinces on the Greek island of Crete during World War II. The killings, with a death toll in excess of 500, were carried out on 14–16 September 1943 by Wehrmacht units. They were accompanied by the burning of most villages, looting, and the destruction of harvests.

Chrysi (island)

Chrysi or Chrisi is an uninhabited Greek island approximately 15 kilometres south of Crete close to Ierapetra in the South Cretan Sea. Approximately 700 metres east of the island is the island of Mikronisi. Administratively these islands fall within the Ierapetra municipality in Lasithi.

Stavrochori is an historic village of eastern Crete. It belonged to the former province of Sitia and later to the former Makry Gialos municipality. Today it is part of Ierapetra municipality. It is located in a wooded valley, 29 kilometers north east from Ierapetra and 35 kilometers southwest from Sitia. Once it was the most populous village of the region and the administrative center of the surrounding settlements. Since the last 30 years, the majority of its population has moved to the seaside settlement of Koutsouras, 7 kilometers to the south. Stavrochori is a traditional village with many sights. It is also the birthplace of Ioannis Papachatzakis or "Stravogiannios", a violinist, who lived and died in Ierapetra. He was one of the most important Cretan traditional organ players of the last century.

Agios Stefanos is a village within the Lasithi prefecture in eastern Crete. It belonged to the former province of Siteia until that was abolished in 2006. Between 1997 and 2010, it was part of the former Makry Gialos municipality. Today, it is part of Ierapetra municipality. It is located 30 kilometers north-east of Ierapetra, 40 kilometers southwest of Sitia, and six kilometers east of Stavrohori. It can be approached through the famous forest of Pefkoseli. Its patron is Saint Stephen. Saint Stephen church, at the entrance of the village, is an ecclesiastical and historical monument of Crete. Since the last decade, the majority of the population has been moved to the village's seaside settlement of Makry Gialos, some six kilometers to the south. Makry Gialos is one of Crete's most important tourist resorts.

Isthmus of Ierapetra

The Isthmus of Ierapetra is a strip of land on the Greek island of Crete which connects the easternmost municipality, Siteia, to the rest of the island. Its name comes from the largest settlement, Ierapetra (Ιεράπετρα), which is situated on the south coast.

Pacheia Ammos

Pacheia Ammos is a village in the municipality of Ierapetra on the island of Crete in Greece. It is located on the north coast of the island, 15 km to the north of the city of Ierapetra, at the fork in the road that leads to Heraklion in the west and Sitia in the east.

Ha Gorge Gorge in Crete, Greece

Ha Gorge is a narrow gorge, at the Monasteraki Dakos, on the eastern part of the island of Crete in Greece. It is located in the west slope of Thrypti mountain range, and exits east of Vasiliki village in the plain of Ierapetra. From this location scenic views overlook Pahia Amos and the bay. Being practically inaccessible to people, the gorge maintains a rich and diverse flora and fauna. Its depth is about 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) and the fissure is said to be one of the largest in the world. Late Minoan IIIC sites are in the area.

O.F. Ierapetra F.C.

O.F. Ierapetra Football Club, short for Omilos Filathlon Ierapetra and also simply known as OFI, is a Greek professional football club based in Ierapetra, Lasithi, Crete, Greece. The club was established in 1970, and its traditional colors are black and white. It is the oldest and most successful football club representing the town of Ierapetra, hometown of one of the greatest Cretan players of all time: Petros Vouzounerakis, of whom the club's home ground is named after. The club currently competes in the Super League 2, the second tier of the Greek football league system.

References

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