The ‘Lonely Planet’ describes Crete as being more like a small country, as well as Greece’s most fascinating and diverse island.
“Its remarkable history is evident across the island, from the ruins of Minoan palaces to Venetian fortresses, from old mosques and Byzantine monasteries to the cave that is the legendary birthplace of Zeus”
One of the most beautiful and atmospheric ancient sculptures, the Palaikastro Kouros, perhaps one of the famous Minoan athletes, was found in the Minoan ruins of Palaikastro nearby – it speaks to us directly of ancient sensibilities, yet it is at one and the same time strikingly modern in its language.
It is this very combination that the Minoan Group vision brings to the Project.
As if for the Project area, Eastern Crete encompasses: Minoan palaces, Venetian fortress and villas, the birthplace of Zeus and Patriarchate Monasteries. It has the only palm forest in Europe and a unique coastline. A rich cultural and community tradition of folklore is complemented by an agricultural history which developed the products that made the Cretan diet famous for its health benefits.
Fittingly, the Toplou Monastery rises over and bestrides the landscape.
The Project site (over 25,000 stremmata, 6,000 acres) will be held on a long lease granted by the Ecclesiastical Foundation, Panagia Akrotiriani.
The hotels and villages are, therefore, set within a protective and protected land and sea scape of immense variety, interest and beauty, ranging from a dramatic Mediterranean coastline, rugged promontories jutting into the sea and creating intimate coves, to rolling hills and valleys with natural vegetation that includes the wild herbs of thyme and marjoram that bring much to the enjoyment of the senses and have done for millennia.
With a built footprint of less than 0.5% of the site the Project aims to preserve the landscape and leave more than 90% in its natural state and create conditions for the regeneration of vegetation.
The history of Itanos began 5.000 years ago and the broader area is rich in archaeological sites. These include ancient palaces and towns, including the partially submerged ruins of Itanos itself. Together with old tales and traditions they form a unique cultural heritage.