Ano Asites and Kato Asites of the province Malevizi are two neighboring villages, built at the foot of the eastern Psiloritis range, in an area with many natural beauties, but also of historical importance. The inhabitants are mainly engaged in the cultivation of vines and olives, but also in animal husbandry.
Their name, Assites, is due to the settlement of soldiers of Nikephoros Phokas from Assos (current Behramkale in Turkey) after the liberation of Crete from the Arabs in 961 AD. They are mentioned for the first time in Venetian records of 1394.
It is worth walking through the colorful alleys of the two villages with their traditional coffee shops, visiting the Folklore Museum of Ano Asites, seeing the old churches, such as Saint Paraskevi and Christ in Kato Asites, walking through the gorges of Agios Antonios and Agios Charalambos.
The historic monastery of Saint George Gorgolainis dominates above Kato Asites. Also, Asites host the refuge of the Mountaineering Association of Heraklion at the location Prinos.
West of the village Ano Asites the river that initially is the gorge of Saint Haralabos and then crosses the village soon turns into a deep and spectacular gorge, the gorge of St. Anthony.
Over the hill Patella by Prinias village lies the picturesque chapel of Agios Panteleimon with amazing views towards all directions. It is the site of the Minoan town of Rizinia or Apollonia, which prospered till the Roman period.
Cave Sarhos, Honos or Nychteridospilios is located west of the village Sarhos, at an altitude of 276m. It is one of the largest and most important caves of Crete, which is particularly loved by cavers because of its complexity and large length. The total paths in the cave exceed the length of 1500m, while the depth of the cavern reaches 230m.
The monastery of Saint George Gorgolainis is located at an altitude of 480m, next to the village Asites, 24km south of Heraklion. It is built at a lush green area with huge platan, cypress and oak trees. Indeed, one platan and one cypress tree inside the complex have been declared as protected natural monuments by law.
The monastery of Gorgolaini hosts two ancient trees that have been declared a nature monuments by the Greek state: a cypress and a plane tree. Both are located at the end of the garden, one next to the other.
The gorge of Saint Charalambos is a small, but beautiful canyon located south of village Ano Asites. It takes its name after the church of Saint Charalambos located at its beginning. Till the middle of spring, the gorge has water, forcing hikers to traverse (to hike along its walls).
The shelter Prinos is located at an altitude of 1100m at the eastern slopes of Psiloritis Mount. It can be accessed either by hiking 2:00 hours Ano Assites or driving from there. From here one can hike to the nearby peaks of Koudouni, Gyristi, Rouvas forest (4 hours) and Nida Plateau (7 hours). The shelter has been operating since 1967 and can accommodate 30 people.
The Folklore Museum of Ano Asites operates since 1995 in a traditional building of 1880. It represents a traditional Cretan house, where the ground floor houses the warehouse and the kitchen, and the floor houses the bedroom and the living room.