+ Cycladia Travel Guides | History



Lasithi Name

There are two possible scenarios concerning the origin of Lasithi name. The first one supports that it derives from the name of Sitia town, which the Venetians used to scribe it as “La Sitti”. According to the second one, Lasithi comes from the ancient Greek word “Lasios” meaning lush, which is hardly the case of Lasithi’s morphology nowadays!

Ancient Years
In antiquity, in the place where nowadays stands Agios Nikolaos, the town Lato pros Camaran was situated, serving as a seaport of Lato pros Eteran, a prosperous city-state during the archaic and the classical period. The area’s inhabitance history starts from the Neolithic period (5700-2800 BC) and, just like it happened with the rest of Crete, the Minoan civilization followed until its collapse in 1100 B.C. After the Minoans came the Dorians, when the ancient cities of Lasithi flourished, to pass in turn under the Roman rule. Crete and its four prefectures were finally integrated in the Byzantine Empire until 1204, with a small interruption by the invasion of Arabs in 824 that lasted about a century.
Venetian Period
After the fall of the Byzantine Empire the Genovese became the rulers of Crete. In 1206 Genovese pirates built the castle of Mirabello (meaning beautiful view in latin) which later came to the hands of the Venetians. Mirabello was finally destructed by the Turks in 1647.During the Venetian period the Cretans managed to develop their culture and commercial activities although rebellions against the Venetians were not scarce.
Ottoman years - Turkish Occupation
The entire island of Crete was dominated by the Turks in 1645 despite and hard resistance from both Venetians and Cretans. Crete was recognized as an autonomous state after 1867, under the sovereignty of the Sultan. It finally became a part of Greece in 1912.

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