The town of Mires is located 50km south of Heraklion in the heart of the fertile Mesara plain. Its name (means “shares” in Greek) is taken after the land shares that were offered by the Venetians to the settlers who came from the Peloponnese, when it fell to the Turks. A similar deal was done in the Lassithi Plateau, which’s name comes from the latin world Lasciti, ie the share of land.
Mires is a modern small city that is growing constantly, while its residents are mainly engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry, tourism and trade. Its position at the center of the fertile valley has given this dynamic development. The climate here is generally warm and the temperatures on the summer often exceed 40 ° C.
Because of the modern history of the town, its construction is quite chaotic and ugly. However, it is worth strolling through the old narrow streets in the town center. Moreover, on Saturdays thousands of people come from the villages of Messara to visit the largest flea market (bazaar) in Crete.
From Mires you can visit several places, such as the Roman Gortys, the Minoan Palace of Phaestus and Agia Triada, Matala of the hippies, the picturesque village of Pompia, the dam of Faneromeni, the villages on Psiloritis foot and the wild Asterousia Mountains.
The archaeological site of Gortys (or Gortyna) is located 45km south of Heraklion, near the village of Agii Deka and next to the road connecting Agii Deka with Mires. The town covered a large area along the river Mitropolianos (or Litheos) with vast olive groves.
Phaestus (Phestos or Festos) was a Minoan city on Crete, the ruins of which are located 55km south of Heraklion. The city was already inhabited since 6000BC and prospered concurrently with the city of Knossos, till the 1st century BC.
The Monastery of Panagia Kalyviani is located at an altitude of 80m around 60km south of Heraklion, next to Mires and Kalyvia villages. It is a relatively new monastery which was built on the ruins of an older one.
Apolychnos Gorge is located a few kilometers north of Mires town, in a lush green area with dense olive groves. It's actually a narrow valley running along a river, which in some places gets deeper and the vegetation is very dense.