Somatas

Somatas is a village of the prefecture of Rethymno, built at an altitude of 355 meters on a road leading to Armeni and Spili, approximately 9 km south of the city of Rethymno.

For the first time Somatas was inhabited in 961 AD by people who settled here and the village has been mentioned in the Venetian censuses of the 16th century. During the Turkish occupation many Turkish Agas lived in the village.
The village of Somatas was named after the General and, later, Emperor Nikiforos Fokas, who is reputed to have been killed there in 961 AD, while another version says that it originates in the old Byzantine church of Asomati, which functioned as a monastery.

One of the most important archaeological sites of the region is the Late Minoan Necropolis of Armeni, discovered by two students of Somatas in the 1960s. Grazing their sheep at location Prinokefalo, they found two small jars and this led to the excavations and the discovery of about 300 chamber tombs with 25 clay urns.

There is the Folklore Museum of Somatas functioning today in a private house and a school that operates as a Cultural Center.

The parish church of the village is Agios Georgios, an old Renaissance style temple, renovated in 1958, while in the settlement there are also the church of Zoodohou Pigis, an old monastery built on a cemetery, and a small church of Mihail Archangel that feasts on September 6th.

The approximately 150 residents of the village Somatas are mainly engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry and the visitor will find here taverns with traditional food and workshop making Cretan costumes. East of the village, at the foot of Vrysinas, there is a pine forest, the “Paradise”, where a bird breeding facility of the Forest Service and a scout camping center operate.