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Ierapetra and the Southeast

The southernmost town in Europe

Ierapetra (Crete, Greece): old Turkish mosque and fountain

As the southernmost town in Europe, boasting one of the highest per capita incomes in Greece and the highest annual average temperature in the country (20C), Ierápetra should be a fascinating place instead of irritatingly dull. It literally means ‘Sacred Stone’. The myths say it was founded by the mysterious, mist-making Telchines who named it Kamiros, after the city on Rhodes. The Dorians, in turn, renamed the town Ierapytna.

By Hellenistic times the rulers of Ierapytna had much of eastern Crete under their thumbs, and they held out against the Romans even after they’d conquered all the rest of Crete. Piqued, the Romans flattened it; then rebuilt it. The Byzantines made it a bishopric, but it was sacked by the Saracens and toppled by an earthquake in 1508.

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Crete

Text © Dana Facaros

Images by C messier, Creative Commons License, Marc Ryckaert (MJJR), Marek Bakajsa from Bratislava, Slovakia, MLB, PD Art