Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikolaos (or Aghios Nikolaos, Greek: Αγιος Νικολαος) is a coastal town on the Greek island of Crete, lying east of the island’s capital Heraklion, north of the town of Ierapetra and west of the town of Sitia. In the year 2000, the Municipality of Agios Nikolaos, which takes in part of the surrounding villages, claimed around 19,000 inhabitants. The town is the capital of the nomos (province) of Lasithi, and sits partially upon the ruins of the ancient city of Lato pros Kamara.

Agios Nikolaos was settled in the late Bronze Age by Dorian occupants of Lato, at a time when the security of the Lato hillfort became a lesser concern and access to the harbour at Agios Nikolaos became sufficiently attractive.

The name Agios Nikolaos means Saint Nicholas, and its stress lies on the second syllable of the word “Nikolaos.” Agios Nikolaos or Ayios Nikolaos (alternative transliterations of the Greek Αγιος Νικολαος) is observably a common placename in Greece and Cyprus, since Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors and of all of Greece.

Agios Nikolaos is probably best known as a tourist town that serves as a hub to the twenty or so small villages and farms that make up that part of Lassithi. Tourist attractions include the small lagoon Lake Voulismeni, small beaches in the town, the tiny island Agioi Pantes, the archaeological museum, the local flora exhibition “Iris” and numerous fairs. Tourism is mainly West European with Greek tourism concentrating in mid August. The lagoon features a small park with a trail, traditional fishing boats, ducks, pigeons, an amphitheatre and many cafès.

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