Sitia City

Rent A Car Sitia with Caravel car rental Crete

Rent A Car Sitia with Caravel car rental Crete.

Sitia is a nice amphitheatre city with population over 11.000 residents. This town is a refuge for thousands of Greek and foreign visitors that starting off to visit various traditional villages at that area. Sitia is famous for its Cretan hospitality. Visitors discover with amazement that every corner of Sitia hides various archeological treasures certifying great culture tradition. Sitia is named after the ancient city Itidos or Itia that is located at East Crete.

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History

The settlement of the town dates to pre-Minoan times. Excavations in the Petras neighbourhood have found architectural remains from the end of the Neolithic (3000 BC) and continue through the Bronze Age 3000-1050 BC, including the Minoan palace of Petras. Several other Minoan settlements have been found within the municipality, notably Itanos and Mochlos.

According to Diogenes Laërtius, Sitia was the home of Myson of Chen, one of the Seven Sages of Greece.

Ancient Sitia
Sitia was founded by Minoans as Iteia, and was a centre of refuge for native Cretans after the fall of the major Minoan settlements. The city continued to prosper through the Classical, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods as one of the island’s chief ports.

Venetian Era
The town was later expanded and fortified by the Venetians after their acquisition of Crete in 1204, who used it as a base of operations for the Eastern Mediterranean. During the Venetian occupation, the town was destroyed three times: first by an earthquake in 1508, then by the Turkish pirate Hayreddin Barbarossa in 1538, and finally by the Venetians themselves in 1651. This final destruction took place in the context of the Cretan War (1645–1669) in which the Venetians battled to retain their hold on the island against the Ottoman Empire. While Sitia did not fall in the initial Turkish advance the Venetians did not have the resources to withstand a long siege, and accordingly destroyed the fortifications and removed the garrison to Heraklion. The local inhabitants meanwhile removed westwards to Liopetro and the site was subsequently abandoned for the next 200 years of Turkish rule.

The main remnant of the Venetian occupation is the Kazarma (from Italian casa di arma), the old fortress overlooking the harbour.

Modern Era
After the Venetian period and subsequent abandonment the town was rebuilt until 1870 by the progressive Turkish governor Hüseyin Avni Pasha following the Cretan Revolt. It was subsequently created capital of the Sanjak of Lasit (later Lasithi, which it remains to this day). Under Turkish rule the town was renamed Avniye in honour of its rebuilder, but as the local Greeks continued to use the traditional named of Sitia this innovation did not survive Independence. Despite the turbulent history of Crete in leaving the Ottoman Empire and joining Greece, as well as the First World War, the population almost quadrupled between 1881 (570 inhabitants) and 1928 (2,100 inhabitants). Major public works were carried out by the Greek government in 1911 to modernise the town, in the course of which much of the Ottoman era town was rebuilt, as well as a fresh water supply.

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