Karteros, Heraklion, Mycenae, Kalamata, Costa Navarino, Kyparissia, Ancient Olympia
Karteros Bay is located 4km east of the city centre of Heraklion, right after the Nikos Kazantzakis Airport and extends for another 3km to the east.
In the bay there are many taverns, bars and hotels and two small settlements, Karteros and Amnissos, which, however, due to the development of the area, have been merged.
The 2km-long with fine golden-sand beach, is usually open to north winds and thus wavy, mainly on its eastern side.
In June 2022, a new permanent state-of-the-art sports facility, the Karteros Beach Sports Center, was inaugurated by the Deputy Minister of Sports, Lefteris Avgenakis. Many sports events took place there ever since including the IHF Men’s & Women’s and Junior Men’s & Junior Women’s World Beach Handball Championships.
The Karteros Beach Sports Center facility includes four modern sand courts: a central with a removable perimeter stand and a capacity of 2,500 spectators; two additional courts with a capacity of 500 spectators each; a warm-up area and auxiliary areas (locker rooms, infirmary, doping control room, administration offices, flash interview areas, media area and offices).
Karteros derives its name from the Byzantine admiral Krateros, who, in 828 AD led a fleet of 70 warships to Amnissos to liberate Crete from the Saracens’ occupation.
He routed his opponents in a battle close to Chandax (nowadays Heraklion), but at the same night his officers neglected to put guards in the camp, and were attacked by the Arabs, completely surprised, and slayed.
Krateros was able to embark in a commercial ship and escaped, but the Saracens hunted him down, arrested him at the island of Kos and crucified him.
Kyparissia, a town with a population of 5,000 inhabitants and the capital of the Municipality of Trifylia, is located at the north-western end of the prefecture of Messenia and is amphitheatrically built, from the foot of Mount Aigaleo aka Psychro to the shores of the Ionian Sea.
Cyparissientas (the ancient name of the city) belonged to the kingdom of Pylos and participated in the Trojan War with a fleet of 11 ships under the command of King Nestor. The city is mentioned by both Homer in the Iliad, and Pausanias in the Description of Greece. Cyparissientas was renamed Kyparissia, its current name, during King Otto’s rule.
The trademark of Kyparissia, the Castle of Arcadia, was built by the Byzantines on the site of the ancient acropolis, with bulwarks at the four corners, of which the one on the eastern side, known as the Justinian's tower, is preserved today.
In 1970, a small outdoor theatre was built in the medieval castle, in which various cultural events are held on an annually basis. The view, over the entire Ionian Sea, from the castle is truly mesmerising. The old Upper Town, a traditional preserved settlement, with the Square of Arcadia and the plane tree, the Fountains at the entrance of the castle, the public baths (hammam) and the picturesque cobblestones, has been built around the castle.
At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, Kyparissia, like the entire Trifylia, experienced a great economic boom with the cultivation and export of raisins. Nowadays, a few metres from the castle, lies the Folklore Museum housed in the restored building of the Eparcheio (=Province). At close distance from the city there are several beaches, while along the Kyparissia Gulf is the second, to Zakynthos, most important breeding area of the loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta, a protected species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).