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Kreta sitia hafen.jpg
Official seal of Sitia
Sitia is located in Greece
Coordinates: 35°12′N 26°6′E / 35.200°N 26.100°E / 35.200; 26.100Coordinates: 35°12′N 26°6′E / 35.200°N 26.100°E / 35.200; 26.100
Country Greece
Administrative region Crete
Regional unit Lasithi
 • Mayor Theodoros Paterakis (since 2011)
 • Municipality 633.2 km2 (244.5 sq mi)
 • Municipal unit 277.4 km2 (107.1 sq mi)
Highest elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2001)[1]
 • Municipality 18,318
 • Municipality density 29/km2 (75/sq mi)
 • Municipal unit 14,513
 • Municipal unit density 52/km2 (140/sq mi)
 • Population 9912
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 72x xx
Area code(s) 284x0
Vehicle registration ΑΝ

Sitia (Greek: Σητεία) is a port town and a municipality in Lasithi, Crete, Greece. The town has 9,912 inhabitants (2011); the municipality has 18,318 (2011). It lies east of Agios Nikolaos and northeast of Ierapetra. Sitia port is on the Sea of Crete, part of the Aegean Sea[2] and is one of the economic centers of the Lasithi region. European route E75, which ends in Vardø, starts in Sitia. Sitia is served by the Sitia Public Airport. Sitia has not experienced the effects of mass tourism even though there is a long beach along the road leading to Vai and several places of historical interest. The town is visited by few tourists.


The municipality Sitia was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 3 former municipalities, that became municipal units:[3]


The province of Siteia (Greek: Επαρχία Σητείας) was one of the provinces of Lasithi. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipality Siteia and the municipal unit Makry Gialos.[4] It was abolished in 2006.


The name Σητεία may come from the ancient Ητεία, written as Itia or Etea in English.[5]


The earliest settlement of the town dates back to before Minoan times; excavations in the neighbouring site of Petras have unearthed architectural remains that date back to the end of the Neolithic period 3000 BC and continue throughout the Bronze Age 3000-1050 BC. In addition, there are several Minoan settlements unearthed in the various archaeological sites in the municipality, such as in Itanos and in Mochlos.

According to Diogenes Laertius, Sitia was the home of Myson of Chen, one of the Seven Sages of Greece.

Venetian Era[edit]

The town was later expanded and fortified by the Venetians who used it as a base of operations for the Eastern Mediterranean. During the Venetian occupation, the town was destroyed three times: by an earthquake in 1508, by a pirate attack in 1538 and finally by the Venetians themselves in 1651. Sitia was then conquered by the Ottoman Empire.

Modern Era[edit]

View of the marina.

After the Venetians moved out of Crete, the town was abandoned for two centuries until it was resettled by farmers in 1869. The main remnant of the Venetian occupation is the Kazarma (from Italian casa di arma), the old fortress overlooking the harbour.


Panorama of Sitia.

The municipality of Sitia is served by Sitia Public Airport with several domestic destinations, the first landing was on June 7, 1984 and the airport opened officially on June 9, 1984. Construction of new building facilities that included a control tower was completed in May 1993. Runway and apron extension works were finished in May 2003. Recently (2011), the local authorities have completed negotiations with international travel agents for organizing regular charter flights starting from May 2012.[6] Currently (2011), local officials are under negotiations with the low-cost airline Ryanair[7]

In addition, Sitia is served by a port which connects Sitia and eastern Crete with several other Greek islands as well as with the port of Piraeus.[8] The town also has a marina which accommodates smaller fishing boats and yachts.

Health services[edit]

The General Hospital of Sitia was founded in 1947 as a local health center and was later (1994) relocated to a new 7500sqm (110-bed capacity) building and accordingly upgraded to serve as the main hospital for the municipality of Sitia and the surrounding area.[9]


Kazarma fortress at the top

Environmentally protected areas[edit]

Richtis waterfall, Richtis Gorge.
Vai beach

The are a number of sites in the municipality of Sitia that are protected as National Parks, Aesthetic Forests, Wildlife Refuges etc. under national and international laws. Notable examples are:

  • Dionysades Islands which carry many rare and endangered plant species and also serve as a refuge of several animal species (mostly birds and small reptiles), including the falcon, Falco eleonorae, which finds sanctuary here.
  • Vai Palm Forest.
  • Richtis Gorge and waterfall.[10]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ De Facto Population of Greece Population and Housing Census of March 18th, 2001 (PDF 39 MB). National Statistical Service of Greece. 2003. 
  2. ^ Peter Saundry, C.Michael Hogan & Steve Baum. 2011. Sea of Crete. Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds.M.Pidwirny & C.J.Cleveland. National Council for Science and Environment. Washington DC.
  3. ^ Kallikratis law Greece Ministry of Interior (Greek)
  4. ^ Detailed census results 1991 PDF (39 MB) (Greek) (French)
  5. ^ John Freely, Crete: Discovering the 'Great Island ISBN 1-84511-692-5, p. 154
  6. ^ Charter flights 2012, (in Greek).
  7. ^ Ryanair to fly to Sitia (in Greek).
  8. ^ Sitia Port
  9. ^ General Hospital of Sitia (in Greek).
  10. ^ Richtis Gorge and Waterfall

External links[edit]