Kissamos – The Story
The Story of Kissamos
The municipality of Kissamos has approximately 11.000 citizens and covers 340.034 acres.
Kissamos was also known as Kastelli and got its name from the Venetian castle that used to stand in the town. The town flourished during the Roman period, with Roman baths, villas with mosaic floors, cemeteries, an aqueduct and the remains of the fortress walls. In the museum of KIssamos, there are archaic, classical and Hellenistic objects, pots, statues, glass containers and coins etc.
During the first Byzantine period, Kissamos retained its power and the diocese was established but during the second Byzantine period, the bishopric was moved to the village of Episkopi to escape the pirate raids on the coast. During the Venetian occupation, the diocese of Kissamos was received into the universal church, as mentioned by a Latin bishop in 1307.
During the period 1579 to 1582 a fortress with a pentagon-shaped church, prison, barracks and well was constructed. Some of the walls are still visible in the town today. During the Turkish occupation, Kastelli actively participated in all revolutionary attacks against the Turks and sought union with Mother Greece.
The Cretan Wedding
The Gramvoussa festival is a sum of cultural events beginning in August and continuing through to the firstten days in September. The specific events have been organized for the past 25 years by the Gramvoussa Association and thus taken its name from the western peninsular on Crete.
It consists of numerous events such as volleyball games, races, cycling, chess tournaments, literacy, artistic and folklore evenings as well as concerts at the stone amphitheatre in Nopigia. The highlight of the festival is the impressive staged Cretan wedding where two young local people will take toe roles of the bride and groom. Dressed in traditional costumes the couple and their entourage make their way through town on magnificent thoroughbred Cretan horses in an impressive parade with music. Afterwards, a large feast with traditional music and dancing follows, food, wine and raki that goes on until early morning times.
Agricultural Fair In August
This fair was first organized in Kissamos in August 2008. The food, agricultural and craft fair was a great success. The event highlights local traditional products and crafts, such as sweets, traditional foods, embroidery and woodcraft of the region. Small shops are set and visitors can see, taste and buy what they desire. During the exhibition, there are also various artistic events, musical evenings and lectures on various topics.
In every high mountain, seemingly inaccessible place, along with the rugged coastline, caves and rocks there are churches, places of worship, evidence of the strong religious feelings of the Cretan people throughout history, which has sustained them in difficult times. The churches all celebrate at least once a year where the faithful show their devotion and enjoy nature, good food, wine, music and song in the form of mantinades. These festivals offer a great opportunity for celebration in the traditional style and some of the most popular ones in the municipality of Kissamos are:
Paleochora – Annunciation of the Mother of God on March 25th
Elos – Agios Dikaios on May 6th
Nopigia – St. Panteleimon on July 27th
Falasarna – St.Photis on August 11th
Chrysoskalitissa – The Assumption of the Virgin on August 15th
Sirikari – The Assumption of the Virgin on August 15th
Voulgaro – The Assumption of the Virgin on August 15th
Rodopou – St. John Gonia on August 28th
Nopigia – Virgin Mary Myrtidiotisa on September 24th
The carnival of Kissamos dates back many years. After a few years that was not organised, it returned in 2009 and was a great success with many participants as well as spectators. During the carnival period, the town of Kissamos has a festive atmosphere with other smaller events taking place as well, such as a treasure hunt and various carnival dances.