Ano Viannos, or simply Viannos, is a small town with about 1000 inhabitants, which is the capital of the Municipality of Viannos in southern Heraklion prefecture. It is built at an altitude of 550m on the southern slopes of Dikti, over a large and fertile plateau, where mainly olives are grown, while its inhabitants also deal with livestock.
A little further to the west, there was the ancient city of Viennos, from which Viannos gets its current name. Ancient Viennos minted its own coin, depicting the goddess Artemis (Diana) and a flower with the word VIANI. Viannos was destroyed by the Ottomans in 1822 and 1866, but the largest of the disasters was the Holocaust of the province of Viannos by the Germans in 1943, when nearly 500 men, women and children from various villages in the region were executed in retaliation for teh sabotage of Symi. Every year, on 14 September, a memorial to the victims of Nazism takes place.
The visitor will love to walk in the narrow alleys of the village and cool down under the ancient plane tree of the central square, the meeting point of the village. Viannos is the birthplace of a famous Greek writer Ioannis Kondylakis, who is considered the father of the Greek chronograph, and whose statue adorns the square. Next to it one will admire the old restored watermill and the Folklore Museum of Viannos.
Inside the village there are dozens of churches, of which Agia Pelagia stands out with the exceptional 14th-century frescoes. Other churches are Michael Archangel, Virgin Mary, Agia Marina, Agia Aikaterini and Agios Dimitrios. Some kilometers away there is the old monastery of the Agia Moni and the church of Agios Georgios.
One of the nicest villages in Crete is the forested village of Kato Simi by Viannos in Heraklion Prefecture. Together with the ruined village of Pano Simi, they lie in the heart of the largest pine forest of Crete, with the neighboring Selakano and Malles woods included.
The Peak Sanctuary that was dedicated to Hermes and Aphrodite is located at position Krya Vrissi, 5 km northeast of Kato Simi, and is the most important archaeological site in the province of Viannos.
Kavousi Canyon is located near Keratokambos (near Ano Viannos, south Heraklion) in Dikti Mountain. The total length is 1km and the altitudinal difference between entrance and exit is 170m.
The position of Meliana by village Amiras hosts one of the many memorials of the German atrocities experienced by the Cretans during the Second World War and a small museum next to it. This commemorated one of the most violent massacres of German Occupation in Greece, the holocaust of Viannos district.
Omalos Plateau of Viannos is located at the southern foot of Mount Dicti, next to Kato Simi and Viannos, 60km southeast of the city of Heraklion. It can be accessed more easily from Kato Simi, but there are also alternative routes that are worth driving on dirt track (such as the road starting from the Lassithi Plateau and another track coming from the smaller plateau of Lapathos).
The canyon of Panagia (Virgin Mary), also known as Kalami I is parallel to the gorge Xerofarago or Kalami II and takes its name after the former monastery of Panagia Keralimeniotissa located at its exit.
The gorge of the Holy Apostles in Lapathos is located south of Mount Dicti, 28km west of Ierapetra, 72km south of Heraklion, in the area of Kato Simi. This is a very rough canyon, which is a perfect challenge for very experienced canyoners. Its length is about 4km and the elevation difference between the starting and the ending point is about 900m.
The Plateau of Lapathos is located about 77km southeast of Heraklion and 36km west of Ierapetra, near Kato Symi village. It is a small but beautiful plateau. The background of the plateau is the wild beauty of the Lasithi mountains and the slopes of Selakano. The vegetation in the Plateau is not dense and there are many rocky places.