Margarites

Margarites is a mountain village of the prefecture of Rethymno located near Ancient Eleftherna, approximately 38 km far from the city of Rethymno.

In this specific village, more and more young people chose to settle down permanently, as well as several families from countries of Western Europe.

The village had been built between two canyons of outstanding beauty by some queen of Eleftherna, Margarita, who was impressed by the stunning gorgeousness of the place, sold her expensive jewelry and gave commandment to build this settlement in her honor. Others, a little more ”reasonably”, connect the name of Margarites village to the existence of the homonymous flower that grows in the region. But it was probably named after “magarika” (or magarikata) meaning “clay” in Byzantine times; the other letter “r” was probably added later.

The history of the existence of Margarites village has begun sometime during the Byzantine era, through the Cretan Renaissance entered the Ottoman period and continues today. In 1332, the Venetians burned the village because the residents refused to pay heavy taxes. Later, the villagers participated in the revolution of brothers Kallergis. During the Cretan Renaissance, the village was adorned with villas, coats of arms, mansions and beautiful churches. The village had become the headquarters of the Revolutionary Council in 1829 – 1830. The abbot of legendary Arkadi monastery, Gavriil Marinakis, the protagonist of the blasting of the monastery, was born here.

Today, Margarites is the second most important pottery center in Crete, since the area is rich in clay soil and water, favoring this art. The village has at least 16 pottery workshops, each working in different style, combining modern and traditional techniques, and the guests can freely see the artists at work.

Continuing your walk in Margarites, be sure to take the opportunity to admire the churches of the village, the Renaissance church of Archangel Michael, the oldest church of all, Agios Ioannis the Theologian with its stone iconostasis, in the courtyard of which the dead from the Arkadi monastery are buried. The monastery of Christ the Savior and Agios Gedeon on the east side of the village is definitely worth visiting. For the lovers of mythology, one of the most important monuments of Margarites is the Late Minoan vaulted tomb that was excavated in the region and dates back to 1350 BC.

The E4 route passes through the central square of the village. The less active guests can enjoy their time in one of the taverns or cafés of the village.