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.
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.
The monastery of Agia Moni (Holy Monastery) is located about 60km east of Heraklion and 38km west of Ierapetra, near Kavoussi Gorge. It can be accessed via a short road that starts from Ano Viannos and passes through a verdant landscape.
Ano Viannos during the Venetian era was the largest village in the province of Belvedere. It was therefore necessary for the Venetians to fortify the area very well. As we can see even today, there are some ruins of a Venetian tower found on the western part of the village, which was also used by the Turks.
The Historical and Folklore Museum of Viannos was founded in 1996 at the birthplace of a famous Greek author, John Kondilakis (a part of the museum is dedicated to him).
The temple of Agia Pelagia is located at an elevated point with panoramic views of Ano Viannos town and can be accessed by walking through the narrow and scenic alleys of the village.
The church of Agios Georgios is located in the plane of Ano Viannos, on the road that leads to the Monastery of Agia Moni. It is a small vaulted and single-aisled church with its interior bearing frescoes of Ioannis Mousouros, dating back to the beginning of the 15th century (there is the date 1401). The temple was built at the expense of Georgios Damoro.