After Plakiotissa, and having left behind numerous other smaller villages, such as Kefalados, Neochori, and Kalyvia, you reach Pretoria, right in the heart of Mesara plain, on the right bank of the Anapodaris [Reverse Flow] River.
Pretoria or Protoria is a typical Cretan village with stone paved lanes and traditional yards with flowers. Residents grow vines and olive trees and produce olive oil, wine, and sultanas.
Its name is the Byzantine word from the Gospel, the praetorium, i.e. the official residence of the praetor, a kind of magistrate in Ancient Rome. For a period of time the name of the village changed to Protoria.
At present-day Pretoria, at Damantri location, a grand central Minoan building was discovered, surrounded by a settlement and necropoles. According to archaeologists, this find has bridged a gap, as it had been suspected that a Minoan centre would be found in the eastern basin of the extensive plain of Mesara.
Visitors should not miss the Anapodaris River Bridge, an integral part of local history and the memories of residents.
Another important point for the village is the Holy church of Archangelou Michail (Archangel Michael) dating back to the 13th century.