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Agios Nikolaos

Crete rent a car | carrentalstop, Town of Agios Nikolaos

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Capital of the Lasithi prefecture, Aghios Nikolaos s is a modern town built on the northwestern point of the Mira­ Bello Bay. It is the administrative, cultural, and communications center of the prefecture and attracts many tour­ ists because of its picturesque harbor and the many interesting sites of the surrounding area. It has many high-quality hotels and rooms, of every kind and in a wide price range, as well as beautiful beaches, a good road network, and frequent bus services linking it to destinations both within the prefecture and beyond it.

Today it is a cosmopolitan center throb­ being with life, with elegant shops, res­ restaurants, tavernas, bars, discos, etc., where one can spend unforgettable holidays and indulge in a wide variety of interesting and enjoyable activities. 

Aghios Nikolaos was built on the site of the ancient town of Lato towards Ka­mara, which was a seaport of Lato He­ tera (the Other Lato). It flourished during the 3rd century BC and, being an autonomous city of Crete, it minted its own coins. 

During the Roman and early By­ byzantine periods, it continued to flourish and is mentioned as a bishop's see in the 6th century AD.

After this time, our information concerning the town grows scant and we only find it mentioned again during the Venetian period, when the Vene­tian occupiers built the Mirabello (mea­ ning "lovely view") fortress, on a hill near the sea - where the Prefecture headquarters are situated today- in or­ der to protect the small port. 

Nothing remains of this fortress but its name, which has now extended over the entire province and the bay which it once do­ nominated. 

The fortress was destroyed by an earthquake in 1303, was rebuilt, was once more destroyed by pirates, and rebuilt by the Venetians. 

In 1645, the Turks took the fortress, then recaptured it by the Vene­ tians who burnt it down. After that, it was no longer inhabited. 

At the same time, the Venetians had built another, more protected port, in the Elounda area, to the northwest, which they named "Porto di San Niccolo".

The town was deserted during the Turkish occupation, but its harbor still continued to be used and was known as Mandraki.

During the later years of Turkish occupation, a small settlement grew up around the port, which took the name of Aghios Nikolaos from the old domed church with a single nave, dedicated to Saint Nicholas, which stood on the small peninsula in the harbor.

The "trademark" of Aghios Nikolaos is the Voulismeni lake in its middle, which is linked to the sea by a canal. This is a particularly picturesque part of the town, with many outdoor coffee­ shops and restaurants all along the coast.

If your location is not in the area of Agios Nikolaos the options you have to visit the interesting beautiful town of Agios Nikolaos are either the bus or rent a car.


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