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In the Municipality of Archanes-Asterousia, the hamlets that have been listed by the relevant ministry (Ministry of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works) are Pano Archanes and Ethia. The latter is a beautiful small village in the Asterousia where you can see all the aforementioned traditional elements, especially after the buildings’ restoration by their residents.

However, it is the village of Pano Archanes that is considered representative of traditional architectural heritage. Featuring 200 listed buildings and after an extensive renovation program spanning a number of years, it is considered exemplary on a national and global level. Since the 1990s and for about 10-15 years a series of renovation programs were completed in the village, resulting in Archanes gaining second place in the European awards for the renovation of hamlets.

The traditional Archanes house combines the nobleness of the neoclassical building and the simplicity of the farmhouse, and a stroll along its alleys will definitely impress you.

Neoclassicism, Archanes and their journey through time

Neoclassicism was first adapted in Crete in large public buildings built by the Ottoman government and in the timid, sporadic and remarkable infiltration of certain typical elements of neoclassical form (small wooden columns with ornamental corners) in the various urban Ottoman mansions and villas.

The 19th century was a period of significant changes for the country. It was a time of reforms in the Ottoman Empire and the founding of the Greek state. Both developments embraced a European orientation, which influenced city planning as well as architecture. The Bavaria-born kings of Greece believed that folk and traditional architecture could not express their new country adequately, and selected neoclassicism as its official formalistic approach.

Neoclassicism revolutionised interior layouts to cover the needs of the new buildings. It replaced old materials with new to correspond to new construction specifications. In terms of style, it was greatly influenced by German classicism while it also incorporated romanticist elements, affected by a movement to revive the Ancient Greek magnificence.


Other settlements remarkable for their monuments and historical value, as explained above, are:

  • The entire uninhabited Kato Astrakoi village. That is where the “Astrakoi Gorge” path begins
  • The settlement of Kounavoi, in its connected part, where the “Kounavoi Gorge” path starts.
  • The village of Myrtia, in its connected part (home of the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum)
  • The Agios Vasileios settlement, combined with the nearby archaeological site and monuments, where the “Spiliotissa Gorge” path starts
  • Part of the Alagni settlement
  • The Epanosifis Monastery

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