Discover Agia Galini... on Foot
The fifth book in the serie Discover...on Foot has 9 easy country walks in the area of Agia Galini, Melambes, Apodoulou and Platanos in the south part of the Prefecture of Rethymnon. Walking in the area of Agia Galini with this book gives you also lot of extra information about the villages, history and the area. Many beautiful pictures and detailed walking maps make this book complete.
About Agia Galini
The village of Agia Galini is located on the south coast of the Prefecture of Rethymno. The village has about 700 permanent inhabitants but in the summer season it can accommodate up to 2.500 peolpe. The fact that the houses of the village are built as an amphitheatre on the surrounding hills makes it a special place, offering a wonderful view of the port and Messara Bay, while equally impressive for the visitor is the view from the port to the village. The steep, almost vertically cut rocks dominate the landscape, a mark of prehistorically geological changes. The village has got a big bay-like beach, which is protected from the winds.
The history of Agia Galini goes back millennia, as does that of most places in Crete. Today’s Agia Galini settlement is built on the ancient Minoan city of Soulia, one of the one hundred cities of Crete described by Homer. It was a center of worship with a temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis. A few finds from the ancient city were discovered during excavations for the foundations of new houses. Soulia, as a coastal city, suffered from raids by Arab pirates, who destroyed it in 640 AD. Remnants of this city and the temple, such as buildings, tombs, marbles and two granite pillars, which still ornament the church of the village, have been discovered in Agia Galini.
The harbour flourished for a second time in the Venetian period, and later it was used several times for resupplying (especially ammunition) during the revolutions of 1821 and 1866 against the Turks. Later, as it was the nearest port to the fertile and oil-producing area of Ampadia and Melambes,
it was used for loading olive oil and other products on to ships. At that time there were no permanent inhabitants at Agia Galini.
The settlement of Agia Galini was established in 1884, when buildings, olive oil storehouses and some residences were built for trading purposes. The first inhabitants were villagers from nearby Melambes and Sachtouria. Through the years, the trade and export of olive oil increased substantially and thus customs were established there. After some years (1890) 20 people were living permanently in the settlement.
From a "secret spot” and just a fishing village with about 500 inhabitants in the 1970s, Agia Galini is nowadays a well known touristic centre of South Crete. Despite the tourists it still maintains its picturesque character and is a very hospitable village. Agia Galini is the ideal place if you want to combine mountains and sea. It is a perfect location to discover other nice nearby beaches such as Agios Georgios, Agios Pavlos, Triopetra and the famous palm beach of Preveli. These beaches can also be reached by boat. Away from the coast you can enjoy the real Cretan spirit in the mountain villages of Mt. Kendros and along the South side of the Ida Mountain Rage. Agia Galini is also a good base from where you can visit the nearby famous archaeological sites of Phaestos and Gortys.