The village of Kamilari
is located 2,5 km west of the archaeological sight of Phaistos and 2.5 km from the sea, where the resort of Kalamaki is sited.
The name of the village is of Byzantine origin, and is derived from the world "kamilaris"
meaning the one who rides a camel.
Kamilari is built on the top of three hills, Evgora, Goulas and Alevrota, and it has 339 inhabitants. Its houses are built with stones and are two-stored.
The village is known for its climate that is temperate and there is sunshine nine months every year.
There is regular Public Bus Service to/from Kamilari Kalamaki from/to Iraklion
The road passes through the Messara valley, one of the most beautiful and fertile areas in Crete.
Kamilari is a quiet, traditional village, with a panoramic view to the endless olive groves of the Messara valley
on the one side, and to the Libyan sea on the other side.
It has been inhabited since the Minoan period.
One of the seven wise men of the ancient world, Epimenidis
, a great wise man and a soothsayer, lived in a small community outside Kamilari, called Metohi
The old village is built on the top of the hill Evgora. From this site the inhabitants could have an overview of the enemy, to the Messara valley for the Turks and to the Libyan sea for the pirates.
Its people are hospitable with a great respect to the tradition, that passes from generation to generation.
The village organizes feasts during the Carnival, while during the Resurrection day in Easter, old customs come to life, like burning the Judas.
Great fairs are also organized during the feast-days of the village on the 27th of July and on the 6th of August.
In the village one can find a hotel, traditional guest houses and rooms to rent. There are also tavernas and bars.
The Tomb of Kamilari
In a distance of 4 km from Phaistos, outside the village of Kamilari, archaeological excavations have brought to light a vaulted Minoan tomb
, one of the most important in the Messara valley. In this tomb, known as the "Kamilari tomb"
, several archaeological findings were found, today exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Iraklion.
The small village of Agios Ioannis is one of the three villages that constitute the community of Kamilari.
The village of Agios Ioannis, is built next to Phaistos, the second biggest center of the Minoan civilization in Crete, after Knossos. Today the village has 103 inhabitants.
The houses of the community are built on the ruins of the ancient city.
The church of Agios Georgios (16th century) is located on the hill of Phaistos next to the ruins of an old monastery.
The Tower of Agriolidis
In the village there is the church of Agios Ioannis built on the 16th century, and the tower of Agriolidis
. At the south part of the village there is an old distillery of raki.
Outside the village, on the road Phaistos-Matala there is a small chapel of Agios Pavlos, with excellent frescoes of the 14th century. On the same road, 200 m from the village an intact tomb
of the Geometrical period has been discovered, and beside it two Roman tombs.
In the village there are two traditional tavernas and a cafe.
The village celebrates the feast-day of Agios Ioannis on the 26th of September when a fair is organized.