History

The city of Siteia is probably the same as the classical and Hellenistic ancient city Iteia, or Itida, or Sitaia, which is thought to have been the homeland of Myson, who was one of the Seven Sages of Greece.

During the Middle Ages Siteia was an important commercial port of the Byzantium, while during the period of the Venetian occupation it was integrated into Venetian Regno di Candia and in Venetian documents it was described as: «maximum statum et lumen ejiusdem insulae» (the radiant focal point of the island).

The Venetians, in order to stabilize their sovereignty, built many strategic fortresses at many points of the city which have been preserved until today (e.g. the fortress of Kazarma).

Siteia was destroyed by a strong earthquake in 1508 and some years later, in 1538, the city started being attacked by corsair Barbarossa and his pirates, who destroyed Bourgo that was the settlement outside of the walls where the merchants and other professionals used to live, and after that they attacked the walls of the fortified city which they didn’t manage to occupy but they irreparably damaged them.

Moreover, in 1651 the Venetians destroyed the city in order not to pass it over to the Turks. In 1870 Hüseyin Avni Pasha (General Commander of Crete) decides to rebuild Siteia at its old ruins and creates the new capital of the province there. So, a new city was created and it was named Avnie, after Avni Pasha, but this name didn’t manage to remain since only Turks used to use it while the Greeks used to call it Siteia Port or Steia.

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