Kalamafka(updated August 5, 2007)
Kalamafka is an authentic Cretan village with about 590 residents. It lies almost at the narrowest point of Crete. It lies in the region of Lasithi at about 25 kilometers in south southwestern direction of Agios Nikolaos and 12 kilometers northwest of Ierapetra. It was built at the foot of the Dikti Mountains at an altitude of 450 meters above sea level. In the Minoan times the city of Larissa laid at the place where Kalamafka is now.
The Kastelos hill
There are a number of beautiful old houses in the village. A number of small streams spring from sources in the environment and in the vicinity there are trees which grow fruit and olives. In the middle of the village, the Kastelos - hill rises. From the center you can climb the hill, with a staircase of 224 steps (watch out, the staircase is steep and the handrail is not really good). At the top of the hill you'll find the Timios Stauros Chapel, which was built in a cave with 40 rooms. From the plateau in front of the chapel you'll have a magnificent view over the village. When you go left around the bushes you have a view on the environment and you can see the Libyan Sea. When you go to the south side on the bottom of the hill you will come to a point where a sign with the text: 'stone god' stands. With a little bit of imagination you can see a stone face in the rocks directly below the chapel. In Kalamafka you'll also find the Agios Antonios church. This white building, for the patron saint of the village, is located in the South-West part of the village.
Near the stairs to the Timios Stauros, in the center of Kalamafka, is a cafe where you can buy refreshments. There is also a small tavern where you can eat something. There is no accommodation to stay overnight in the village.
There is a story known about the cave in the Kastelos hill. At the beginning of the twentieth century there was a small icon of the Holy Cross found in the cave. This was taken to the church of Saint Anthony. On the following morning, however, the icon was found to have been returned to the cave. Again the icon was taken back to the Church of St. Antonius, after which it returned again to the cave. This was decided by the people of Kalamafka a chapel to be founded in the cave.
Kalamafka is hard to reach by bus. Only in the morning and afternoon, the buses drive through the village to carry the children to and from their schools. With a rental the village can be reached. The route you'll have to drive is very beautiful. When on the main road from the direction Heraklion and Chersonissos to Agios Nikolaos you follow the road in the direction of Sitia. After about or 10 kilometers you head to Istro. From here you follow your path in a southwesterly direction to Chorio, Prina and ultimately Kalamafka. The trip to Kalamafka can be combined with a visit to, for example the village of Ierapetra or visit the narrowest point (15 kilometers) from the island, where both the Gulf of Marabello and the Libyan sea can be seen. Several organized excursions have Kalamafka as lunch and resting place. Residents told us that walking and biking tourists stop in the village regularly. A bicycle ride to the village however is not advisable to inexperienced cyclists. Certainly not in the hot summer!