Kritsa is a small town of Eastern Crete, built at an altitude of 350m below the Kastellos Hill, very close to Agios Nikolaos city. What makes Kritsa special is the preservation of the traditional Cretan lifestyle that attracts dozens of visitors. The scenic narrow streets, the blooming yards, the textile shops, the traditional coffee shops, the folklore collections and the Byzantine temples can easily give the settlement the characterization of an open folklore and historical museum about Crete.
The settlement appears to be connected with the nearby ancient Lato, the inhabitants of which, moved once to Kritsa. In Kritsa, besides walking in the small narrow streets, it is worth hiking in Kritsa Gorge, visiting the folklore museums and admiring the frescoes of its Byzantine monuments, with the most important being Panagia Kera. It is important to note that some scenes of the film "Christ Recrucified" with Julie Dassin and Melina Merkouri were filmed in Kritsa.
The name Lato is taken after the Dorian pronunciation of the goddess Leto, who probably was worshiped here. However, the patron of the city was the goddess of childbirth, Eileithyia, who is depicted on the coins of Lato. moverer in Lato was born the admiral of Alexander the Great, Nearchus (360 to 312 BC).
The cypress wood of Kritsa is located about 10km west of Kritsa village, very close to the asphalt road that heads to the plateau of Katharo. It is formed across a deep ravine, at the southern foot of Mount Tsiva. The forest is in the middle of the ancient path that led Minoans to the plateau of Katharo, with many Minoan pottery remains found here.
The plateau Katharo lies 26km south of Agios Nikolaos and 16km west of Kritsa, at an altitude of 1150 meters. The waters of the Plateau are transported through the beautiful gorge of Havgas into Lassithi Plateau. Katharo is uninhabited, although there are several farmhouses belonging to the village of Kritsa.
One of the most popular Byzantine monuments in Crete (13th- 14th A.D.) is located in Logari, one kilometre east of Kritsa. This triple-nave Byzantine church is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, to Saint Anthony and Saint Anna. It is adorned with superb wall paintings on particular themes like the representation of Saint Anna, other icons of the saints, and the fourteen scenes depicting the secret life of the Virgin Mary.
Inside the Kritsa village, at position Ambela, we meet the ruins of a small medieval tower with one arch still standing. Apparently the tower was used for overseeing the crops of the region, but also for controlling the passage to Kritsa.
The settlement of St. John the Evangelist, whose core was the former monastic complex of the monastery of St. John, is situated between the villages Kritsa and Kroustas. According to local tradition the monastery was founded in the second Byzantine period and it is known that it functioned until the late 19th century.
The Kato (lower) St. George was founded in 13th century and is adjacent to another newer church of St. George. It is a small single-nave, barrel-vaulted church, with buttresses at the southern wall and its entrance on the west. The openings are adorned with stone reliefs of the time of the Venetian rule.
One of the most important churches used in the past for burying unbaptized babies is located by Kritsa, at position Koulbado. This temple is also very important as it is a single-aisle temple, probably built in the Byzantine Era (indicated by the typical ceramic bricks met in Byzantine churches).