Why you should visit Kritsa, Crete’s largest village.

Why you should visit Kritsa, Crete’s largest village.

Reputedly Crete’s largest village, Krista is just a short bus ride away from Agios Nikolaos on the North- East coast. Famed for its local handicrafts, I discovered there is far more to this village than shopping. Nestling on the mountains, its location is stunning even before you approach the village itself. I was fortunate enough to be given a tour by fellow author and Facebook friend, Yvonne Payne, who divides her time between Kritsa and the UK.

Yvonne was a wonderful guide, taking me through the little alleyways and back streets of Kritsa, pointing out locations that had inspired her first book, Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa. Based on Kritsa’s local heroine Rodanthe, it tells the story of a young girl who fought against the Turkish Occupation. The house where she grew up has now been turned into the Kritsotopoula Museum, which was the next stop on our visit. Run by the delightful Maria Massarou, the museum gives a wonderful insight into what life must have been like here in the nineteenth century.

There is also a wonderful new statue of Rodanthe in the village. This is exactly how I imagined her from Yvonne’s book.

Our next stop after a delightful lunch in a local taverna, was the Rodanthi Museum. This is the culmination of the life’s work of curator, Giorgos Afordakos, whose museum is dedicated to plants and herbs, of which Crete has many unique, indigenous species, the most famous being the mountainous herb diktamo ( dittany). Seeing our interest, we were also given a behind-the-scenes tour of his private collection. An absolutely amazing place so do visit if you’re in Kritsa.

It was unfortunate that the Church, Panagia Kera was closed the day I visited but that gives me a good excuse to return. We ended by signing and swapping books and with a promise that one day in the not-too-distant future I’ll be back.

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