Agios Nikolaos (Aghios Nikolaos) is a coastal town situated on the Greek island of Crete. It lies east of island's capital Heraklion, west of the town of Sitia and north of the town of Ierapetra.
In 2011, the Municipality of Agios Nikolaos, taking in part of the surrounding villages, had 27,070 inhabitants. The town of Agios Nikolaos is a municipality of Crete region. It sits partially on the ruins of the ancient city Lato pros Kamara. The total area of the municipal unit is 317.8 km2 (122.7 ml2).
Agios Nikolaos was established by Dorian occupants of Lato in the late Bronze Age, at a time when the security of Lato hillfort became lesser concern and easy access to Agios Nikolaos' harbour became more important.
The name of the city means Saint Nicholas. Agios Nikolaos is a common placename in Cyprus and Greece, since Saint Nicholas is patron saint of sailors and all of Greece.
The archaeological site of Priniatikos Pyrgos is near the town. It has been first settled in Final Neolithic, circa 3000 BC. Activity on it continued throughout Minoan Bronze Age and Classical Greek and Roman periods, this way spanning up to 4,000 years as a total.
Agios Nikolaos is accessible from whole of Europe and mainland through Nikos Kazantzakis airport, as well as the daily ferry services in Heraklion. Just a short ferry ride away from the town is Spinalonga Island, an old Venetian fortress turned ex-leper colony in the rising of 20th century.
Agios Nikolaos is best known as a tourist town serving as a hub to the 20 or so small villages and farms which make up that part of Lassithi. Major tourist attractions include the small island Agioi Pantes, the lagoon Lake Voulismeni, the archaeological museum, local flora exhibition “Iris” and a number of fairs.
Tourism is West European with Greek tourism much concentrated in mid August, but there are a lot of Russian tourists in East Crete. The Lake Voulismeni lagoon has a small park with a trail, ducks, pigeons, traditional fishing boats, many cafes and an amphitheatre. During the 60's the modern Agios Nikolaos city became internationally recognized as it was "discovered" by renowned cinema directors (Walt Disney, Jules Dassin, etc.), BBC producers and others. The short story 'Not After Midnight' of Daphne du Maurier was set in and around Agios Nikolaos.
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