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Information about the place (9)
Itanos is a very short distance from the palm grove of Vai. It is
located 27km east of Sitia on the northeast coast of Crete. Itanos was an important
settlement from Minoan times until the Christian era.
Vai is 25km east of Sitia, on the east coast of Crete, and is the site of Europe's only indigenous wild date palm grove.
Greek & Roman Geography (ed. William Smith)
Itanus (Itanos, Ptol. iii. 17. § 4; Steph. B.: Eth. Itanios), a town
on the E. coast of Crete, near the promontory which bore the name of Itanum. (Plin.
iv. 12.) In Coronelli's map there is a place called Itagnia, with a Paleokastron
in the neighbourhood, which is probably the site of Itanus; the position of the
headland must be looked for near Xacro flume (Hock, Kreta, vol. i. p. 426), unless
it be placed further N. at Capo Salomon, in which case the Grandes islands would
correspond with the Onisia and Lfugge of Pliny (l. c.; comp. Mus. Class. Antiq.
vol. ii. p. 303). According to Herodotus (iv. 151), the Theraeans, when founding
Cyrene, were indebted for their knowledge of the Libyan coast to Corobius, a seller
of purple at Itanus. Some of the coins of this city present the type of a woman
terminating in the tail of a fish. (Eckhel, vol. ii. p. 314.) This type, recalling
the figure of the Syrian goddess, coupled with the trade in purple, suggests a
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)
Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
Itanos. A town on the eastern coast of Crete, of Phoenician origin.
- Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
Local government WebPages
Palekastro is situated at the most eastern part of Crete, about 19 km away from Sitia. The advantageous location near the sea and in the middle of a fertile plain makes it the center of an important area. Palekastro has 1.700 permanent residents, characterised by their hospitality, friendliness and dilligence. The economy of the village is based on agriculture, fishery and tourism during the summer. Palekastro, peaceful and quiet, offers many different holiday alternatives to its visitors who return again and again.
In Palekastro there is a tourist office. There the guests can inform themselves and become acquainted better with the village and the environment. Also for problems, requests or suggestions the visitors can turn to this place where they will always find an " open ear ". It is at the same the exchange and public telephone office.
- Municipal Enterprise of Palekastro WebPage
VAI Palm Forest
25 kms from Sitia there is the unique forest of palms in a landscape of unusual tropical beauty. According to one version its derivation is owed to the Phoenician merchants who established in the neighboring Itanos, who adored the god Phoenix. According to another version it is supported that the forest has been created by the Egyptian soldiers of Ptolemeos who came as allies of Itanos in its conflict with Pressos and Ierapitna. The third version sustains that the forest was created from the seeds of dates which the Saracens pirates ate as essential food in 824 b.c., when they occupied Crete
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Prefecture of Lassithi URL below, which contains image.
- Municipal Enterprise of Palekastro WebPage
- Itanos, Itanus: Perseus Lookup Tool, text search
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites
Town in Sitia province, E Crete; on a now deserted bay just S of the
NE point of Crete, Cape Sidhero (ancient Samonion) and N of Palaikastro and Cape
Plaka (ancient Cape Itanon). Traces of Minoan occupation have been found, and
at Vai 1.6 km to the S an LM IA building has been excavated. Much more evidence
has been found of occupation in succeeding periods: Protogeometric (?), Geometric,
and archaic sherds from unstratified deposits, and many Classical and Hellenistic
sherds. But the visible remains are mostly of Roman or Byzantine date.
Apart from the archaeological evidence little is known of the city's
history before the 3d c. B.C. The traditional founder was Itanos, a son of Phoinix
or bastard son of one of the Kouretes (Steph. Byz. s.v.). This and the possibly
Semitic origin of the name have been adduced as evidence of Phoenician links or
even settlement, but concrete evidence is lacking. The Theran colonists of Kyrene
(Hdt. 4.151) were guided by an Itanian purplefisherman, Korobios (possibly to
be identified with the marine deity on some Itanian coins). Itanos was one of
the first Cretan cities to strike coins, in the 5th c.
Much of the detail of its history in the 3d and 2d c. comes from inscriptions.
In the early 3d c. an oath of loyalty was imposed on all citizens, a probable
indication of internal political instability and the threat of revolution, clearly
arrested (perhaps by reforms leading to a moderate democracy). In the 260s Itanos
sought Ptolemaic help against its aggressive neighbor Praisos (perhaps also against
the threat of revolution). An Egyptian garrison was established, maintained until
about the end of the 3d c., and renewed briefly in the mid 2d. This led to increasing
Egyptian influence in Cretan politics and provided a base for recruiting mercenaries.
When Hierapytna destroyed Praisos (145-140), she became a neighbor of Itanos,
and the two cities, though formerly allies, came into conflict over Hierapytnian
control of the Sanctuary of Dictaean Zeus (at Palaikastro) and Leuke island (Kouphonisi).
The dispute was finally settled in 112-111. The later history of Itanos is obscure;
it was not a bishop's see and is not listed by Hierokles. Coins, inscriptions,
and ruins indicate continued occupation in Roman times, and many Byzantine remains
survive, including two churches and baptisteries. The date of final abandonment
In the 19th c. the site was first thought to be Hetera, but later
correctly identified. In the center of a small bay, protected from the N and NW
winds, a low hill forms the ancient acropolis. On its W side is a large church,
on the S traces of a circuit wall with towers, and on the summit remains of small
late buildings; sherds, however, go back to the Geometric period. Inland to the
W, on a second hill, stands a fine Hellenistic terrace wall, but few other remains.
On low ground between the hills are large domestic buildings of Byzantine date
overlying earlier levels. To the N is the necropolis, to the W ancient quarries,
and on the S edge of the city a circuit wall surrounds a hill, perhaps for the
Ptolemaic garrison. Part of the ancient city may now lie under water; this coast
has been submerged by some 2 m since antiquity. Ancient remains have been found
on the offshore island of Elasa (ancient Onysia), still an anchorage.
D. J. Blackman, ed.
This text is from: The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites,
Princeton University Press 1976. Cited Nov 2002 from
Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.