Slow Travel in Greece

Discover the real Crete! Atsipopoulo craft village

Atsipopoulo village

Discover the real Crete

Atsipopoulo craft village

Atsipopoulo is a village 5 kilometers west of the city of Rethymno, situated on the north coast of Crete.

The village stands at an altitude of 160 m. above sea level and has less than 5.000 permanent residents.

Atsipopoulo has a rich cultural history and an important legacy of handicraft pottery art since the Minoan years.

The archaeological excavations by the Italian archaeologist Federico Albert revealed the importance of this sacred location and brought to light a variety of findings, such as vases and votive statues.

Today, the inhabitants of Atsipopoulo are committed to olives cultivation, farming, and in handicraft pottery art.

The history of Atsipopoulo

The history of the village begins in the 10th AD. century after the liberation of Crete by Nikiforos Fokas in 961.

The first inhabitants of Atsipopoulo came from Byzantine families who settled down here in 1181.

The village got its name from the Arabic word Hadjip + populo. 
The Hadjip were janitors in the Byzantine mansions and accompanied the Arab leaders in Crete during the seventh and tenth centuries.

There is no other village with the same name in Greece.

The area around Atsipopoulo village is partly covered by a unique tropical oak forest (Quercus macrolepis).

Atsipopoulo was considered one of the richest villages of Rethymnon thanks to the oak and lime production which has been for many decades the main income of its inhabitants.

Atsipopoulo village Crete

The bridge

The Atsipopouliani bridge, in the gorge of Ag. Antoniou used to be the only passage from Chania to Rethymnon and Atsipopoulo village.

A wonderfully made stony bridge and consisted of three Venetian arches.

The bridge was made with an ancient Roman technique and was destroyed by Germans o 13th October of 1944, throughout their occupation.

The architectural heritage in the village is obvious, as the visitor may spot Venetian buildings and traditionally built houses with arched Venetian doors and terraces.

On the top of the doors, in some houses, there are carved crosses, remnants from previous centuries, which according to the legend they protect the families living there from the evil spirits.

Atsipopoulo view Crete

Poets and intellectuals in Atsipopoulo

In Atsipopoulo was born and raised the poet Georgios Chortatzis whose best-known work is the tragedy of Erofili (or Eriphile), written in the mid-16th century.

Andreas Rodinos, whose exceptional talent in Lyra playing in the early 1900s was known since his childhood, has roots in Atsipopoulo, since his father, baker by profession, was from Atsipopoulo of Rethymnon.

Atsipopoulo village Crete

Where every tree has its name

Atsipopoulo Park

Almost 100 years later, the writer-author Aetoudakis Dimitrios, with his own initiative created and donated to the village the ‘’Atsipopoulo Park’’, a place of culture and history.

In Atsipopoulo Park there are several cultural and music events taking place yearly, such as the ‘’Pyrichia Drmena’’, a taste you can take by clicking here.

Atsipopoulo Park is an area of 25 acres full of oaks, olive trees, and carob trees.

Did you know that carob has 29 by-products?

Or that every tree has a name?

Mr. Aetoudakis has named each tree in Atsipopoulo Park after an important Cretan intellectual and made it official, by a notarial deed.
The Gorge of
Agios Antonios Patsos gorge and the cave of Agios Antonios, are in close distance, where the ”holy water” drips from the walls of the caves.

If you feel like walking on the ‘’Path of Friendship’’ and wander in Atsipopoulo park, do not hesitate, take your time and plan your next Slow Travel experience in Greece Slow!

Special thanks to Mr.Yiorgis Gaganis for the beautiful photos of Atsipopoulo village. If you want some more, take a look here.

‘’Kerameion’’, has generously shared with us their astonishing photo of their ceramics selection, here you can enjoy some more.

Atsipopoulo village Crete

How to reach Atsipopoulo village?

There are regular (local) bus routes (KTEL) from Chania to Rethymno with the following route:
Rethymno-Metochia-Balsamonero-Rethymno

For Bus tickets and schedule you can check here

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