Anogia is a large village of Prefecture of Rethymno and the capital of the homonymous municipality. It was so named because it is built in a high altitude location (ano+gi = upper + earth). Anogia is located 52 km from Rethymnon and 36 km from Heraklion and at an altitude of 700-790m, on the back of the hill, called Armi (ridge), so the climate is very cold in winter, with a lots of snow and summer nights are cool.
In 1946 the Greek State honored Anogia with the award of the First Class War-Cross for the distruction of the village by the invaders and the heroism of local people in the period of Resistance. Anogia was core of the Resistance in Crete and locals participated in the kidnapping of General Kreipe, which helped to escape in Africa. Because of that, in August 1944, commander of the fortress Crete H. Miller ordered the leveling of the village and the execution of all local men.
ORDER OF GERMAN GENERAL COMMANDER OF CRETE
“Because the city Of Anogia is the center of English spy in Crete and because men of Anogia made the sabotage of Damasta, because in Anogia found asylum and protection various groups of rebels of resistance and because from Anogia passed the kidnappers with General Von Kreipe using as a transfer station the Anogia village, we order THE LEVELING of the village and the execution of all local men who will be found in the village and around it within 1 Km.”
GENERAL COMMANDER OF FORTRESS OF CRETE
About the Village:
People of Anogia have maintained unchanged over time the language and the peculiar dialect. They respect and love the cultural heritage, traditions and customs. Anogia is considered to be the epicenter of the modern Cretan civilization.
Cultural events are held each year for the last 10 years, in July, in honor of St. Yakinthou. It is the Orthodox saint of love and protector of couples. These cultural events, called Yakintheia and are full of songs, traditional dances and performances. The Events take place near the church of St. Yakinthos, which is located at an altitude of 1200 meters and 12 kilometers far from Anogia. The initiator and supporter of Yakinthon events is Loudovikos of Anogion, a traditional singer who praises love and pain.
Important cretan artists have their origins in Anogia, leader of which is the so called “archangel of Crete”, Nikos Xylouris.
Nikos Xylouris :
Nikos Xylouris was born in 1936 in Anogia. He was one of many children of a poor family and his life began during the German occupation. At the age of five, he was forced together with his family and the other residents to leave the village because of the holocaust of Anogia by the Germans. He returned to the village after the liberation of Crete. He comes from a family with musical tradition and lot of musicians. His brothers, Antonis Xylouris, who has special connotation and style, and John Xylouris, are well-known musicians of Cretan tradition. At the age of 12, he managed, helped his teacher, to persuade his father to buy his first Lyra and at the age of 17 he started to write his first songs. The Success was not long in coming.
He moved to Athens, where he collaborated with renowned composers and performers such as Xarhakos, Mariza Koch and others but he reached the peak of his success with Yannis Markopoulos interpreting rizitika songs. He won the first award in San Remo Festival and was awarded by the French Academy. In the years of the Junta, his songs and his voice were a symbol of Resistance. He was a strong supporter of the rebellion of 1973 and the collapse of the Junta in Greece. Shortly before he died, met Jones Harrison, the guitarist of Beatles, and they began to speak the language of music. He never forgot Anogia, he said “ I was enslaved here, in the music hall and the lights, I don’t like this but what I can do, the public here loves me so much that I regret to leave them and return to Crete”. He died at the age of 44. His house is now a museum in Anogia and it is open to all visitors.
What else to visit:
Arriving in Anogia you can visit churches such us Saint George, Saint Dimitrius, the Assumption of the Virgin and Saint John, which have murals of 12th Century. Enjoy your coffee in village cafes, taste traditional sweets and traditional cuisine. Local women still weave traditional textiles of unsurpassed quality made in the loom and can be found in many shops in the village.
The village has small hotels to spend your holidays in a special traditional environment. Visit the brand new archaeological information center, which has copies of findings with rich photographic material, gold, ivory and clay objects from Ideon Andron and Zominthos. Ideon Andron is an important religious center, temporal parallel with Olympia and Delphi.
Discover the plateau of Nida, one of the largest in Crete, at an altitude of 1400 meters in the heart of Psiloreitis mountain (Ida) and discover the cave Ideon Andron, where, according to the tradition, Zeus was raised. The Cave is open and accessible. Visit also Skinakas Observatory at an altitude of 1750m, the sacred source and Zominthos, settlement of the Minoans, worshiped in the Minoan era.