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Administrative Region : Crete
Regional unit : Heraklion

  • Kato Symi (Κάτω Σύμη) Heraklion
  • Kato Symi (239 inhabitants in 2001) is a village in the province of Viannos and the homonymous Municipal District of the Municipality of Viannos in the prefecture of Heraklion, on the border with the Municipality of Ierapetra. Sitia, since Symi was part of the former Municipality of Mournia, Lassithi. It is located in a valley overgrown with vegetation, in a landscape with imposing wildness. It is surrounded by a forested mountainous area. Symi, as it is more commonly called by the Cretans, has the largest forest cover in the prefecture of Heraklion, since in its area is the famous forest of Symi, a continuation of the forest of Selakanos, and it is often called the foothills. [1].

    Afentis Christos Church, Kato Symi,

    At the edge of the village flows the Blavopotamos, which continues its course to Faflago and ends at the Libyan Sea. Its distance from Ierapetra is 30 km and from Heraklion is 74 km.

    The main occupations of the inhabitants are agriculture, animal husbandry and beekeeping. Early vegetables are grown in coastal areas.

    Natural monuments and sights

    The entire valley of Kato Symi is overgrown with walnuts, cherries, apricots, pears and other fruit trees.

    Due to its intensely mountainous character, Symi has many caves, most importantly Zymbraga Spiliaria, Kissospilio, the cave of Leri, the cave of Bouboulis, the cave of Riza and the cave of Halavra.

    Another important natural monument in Kato Symi is the Tobacco Gorge, where, according to tradition, lived a huge man, Sarantapichos.

    The most important temples are of Panagia Galatoktismeni and Nistikoktimeni, of the Lord Christ, of Agios Ioannis the Forerunner on the road axis Ierapetra-Viannos and Agios Georgios. The first was built in 1385, as it is written in the box of the Holy Step and was named so, because according to tradition, the temple was built of mud and milk instead of water, with fasting craftsmen, throughout its construction. The church of Agios Georgios is located about 1 km outside the village, in the now uninhabited settlement of Apano Symi, which administratively belongs to the municipality of Ierapetra, at an altitude of 940 m. And has frescoes by Emmanuel Fokas, from the middle of the 15th century.

    The most remarkable places of the village are Patela in Pano Geitonia and the location in Skepastou in Mesa Geitonia, where there is a water source, the so-called Mesa Flega. The center of the village is in Karavos, where there is a square with an imposing plane tree. Here are the cafes and most of the life of the village.

    M.D. Kato Symi

    The Municipal Department of Kato Symi has a total population of 305 inhabitants. In addition to the headquarters, it includes the settlement of Loutraki, which has 66 inhabitants. In 1971 it had 45 inhabitants and is built at an altitude of 350 m. It is located 2 km from the sea and is a port of Kato Symi.

    Archaeological significance
    The ancient sanctuary of Kato Symi

    In Kato Symi are the most important antiquities of Viannos. This is the neo-palace (Mesominoic III b) Sanctuary of Hermes and Aphrodite in the place Krya Vrisi. The sanctuary is one of the most important in antiquity, as well as the only known place of worship in Crete and Greece that functioned for many centuries without interruption [1]. It was founded around 2,000 BC. The location of the sanctuary is identified with Mount Athos, according to Ptolemy, which is located between ancient Tsoutsoura and Ierapytna (today's Ierapetra). Worship in this area began in the Middle Minoan period and continued until the Roman imperial years. Finds from the sanctuary of Symi can be found today [2] at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.

    Historical data

    The village is mentioned in the census of the Kastrofylakas "Simi Catto" with the name (K97) and with 146 cat. In 1583. During the Turkish occupation some Turks lived there. In 1834 it had 38 Christian and 10 Turkish families, while Apano Symi was inhabited by 96 Christian families. In 1881 Kato Symi had 371 Christian inhabitants.

    During the Revolution of 1866, 2 young women from Kato Symi, Maria Panakaki and Ergina Tsagatopoula, while being pursued by Turkish soldiers, were knocked down like new Souliotisses from the Goupo cliff, as they preferred to die rather than be dishonored.

    In 1943, a German expeditionary force went to the village to punish the inhabitants for killing two Germans in the Symi outpost. At the entrance to the valley, a well-fortified guerrilla corps attacked the Germans, on September 12, killing 84 and executing 12. Other sources [3] speak of 70 German casualties. After that, the Nazis destroyed all the villages of eastern Viannos and western Ierapetra from the river Myrtos to the Amira and shot all the male inhabitants.

    Nikos Syggelakis or Chatzianagnostis or Symianos was born in Kato Symi in 1790, a heroine before the Revolution of 1821. It was the terror of the janissaries of Viannos.
    See also

    Holocaust of Viannos

    The battle of Symi

    External links

    Tourist Guide, Municipality of Viannos, published by the Municipality of Viannos
    "Archaeological Museum of Heraklion". Archived from the original on 5 August 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2007.

    "Greek Holocausts". It was archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2007.


    Heraklion and its Prefecture, Heraklion Prefecture Publication.

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