Charasso village Verified

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CharassoThe village of Charasso is 27 km southeast of the city of Heraklion, at an altitude of 410m in the hinterland of Hersonissos Municipality and only 10 km south of the village of Gouves. It is a picturesque village built amphitheatrically on a hill that offers an unobstructed and magnificent view of all the surrounding settlements and Cretan Sea. Its inhabitants are engaged mainly in agricultural and stock-breeding producing high quality olive oil, wine, grapes and raisins.

The settlement is mentioned in the Province of Pediados by Castrofilaca as Caraso in 1583 and by Basilicata in 1630. There are many versions of the origin of the name of the village. The archaeologist Stefanos Xanthoudides refers that it is probably due to Slavs mercenaries of the Byzantine emperor Nekiphoros Phokas. Specifically, the Slavic word “Charasso” means pleasant, good. The philologist Stylianos Alexiou believes that the ending –os has a pre-Hellenic origin and therefore, the proper name must be Charassos. In 1583, Castrofilaca mentioned the name Zorzi Caraso who was a debtor and thus, the name of the village might be from this person, the first settler of the village.

At the entrance of the village, there is the holy temple of Agios Eftathios which stands out for its magnificent religious frescoes in its interior as well as its altar that has got the Holy Relic of Agios Eftathios on it. There are also the church of Agios Nikolaos built in 1600, which is also the patron saint of the village, the church of Agios Vasilios built in 1900 and the church of Holy Cross.

The area is full of trees and rich in vegetation all year round as there are springs with water. South of the village, there is an area with windmills. These windmills are the rarest type of windmills that existed in Crete and were called “xetroharis”. This type of windmill is circular and it can rotate with all types of wind. Windmills also existed in other parts of the province of Pediados, but the largest windmills were in Charasso, due to the frequent winds.

Charasso village continues to maintain morals and customs of the place. The Educational and local Improvement Society of Charasso “Agios Eftathios” in collaboration with Cretan Songwriters Association “Michalis Kafkalos” have organized a Pancretan Mantinada (most common form of folk song) Contest for ten years now, every August, and then a Cretan feast has followed. Hundreds of Mantinades are recited every year with the sounds of Cretan music, dances and plenty of tsikoudia reminding visitors of the famous Cretan feast and the tradition of it.

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