Armeni was first settled in 961 A.D.
It was settled by Armenians who served in the army of Nikoforos Fokas, who liberated Crete from the Arabs.
The area seems to have been occupied since the Paleochristian period. Considering the partly destroyed mosaic floors that have been discovered in the church of the Virgin Mary as well as other remains of the same period near the church of St John Theologos built during the Venetian occupation.
For a short period during the Cretian revolution the village became the headquarters of the government.
In May 1822 the General Assembley of Crete met under the historic plane tree and voted for the draft of the constitution entitled, ‘The Temporary State of Crete.' and the publication of the ‘Proclamation of Freedom'. To commemorate this event the village was renamed Eleftheroupoli', freedom town.
Enjoy the peace of this beautiful village
If you sit in the kafenion on the platea or in one of the tavernas you can enjoy the peace of this beautiful village nowadays. The green trees and the natural springs give shade and coolness (Greek - drosia) even in the summer especially at the little café in a wooden building besides the wells that is reminiscent of Scandinavia.
Concerts are organized here with music from both Crete and many parts of the World.
The best food shop in Crete
In the platea, beneath a huge plane tree, you'll find the kafenion which sells fresh bread and serves as a collection point for mail. Across the road from the kafenion is the butcher's shop/dairy of Kostas who supplies many tavernas and has been described as ‘the best food shop in Crete'.
That Kostas enjoys his food is evident from his selection of over 40 cold meats and sausages which he brings in from Athens, Saliniki and many North European countries. His fresh meat comes mainly from Apokoronas and Chania. He makes his own yoghurt which you must try, fresh mithistra (soft cheese) and fetas which are absolutely delicious.
Freshly harvested fruit and vegetables
In the summer you will see a temporary stall in the platea selling freshly harvested fruit and vegetables grown by Christos and his German wife Inge. To pay you'll usually find Christos sitting outside the taverna with friends, if not pay inside the kafenion. 100 metres down the road towards Neo Chorio the imposing church of Agios Nikolaos is worth a visit.
The small chapel dedicated to the Panagia
Is of great interest as is the small church of St John Theologos built during the Venetian period and recently restored by the Archaeological society. Walking up the street next to the kafenion you'll discover the old village with dwellings showing a great variety of architectural styles. There are some delightful walks from the plateau.
This village is the place to visit in the Summer when all the tavernas get very busy of an evening attracting diners from far afield and buses for the ‘Greek Night' at the Platanos taverna offloading excited passengers.
A highlight for all children occurs between 8 and 9pm when everything stops for Stelios and his mother to herd their large flock of sheep across the main road near Agios Nikolas church.
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