The municipality Sitia was formed at the 2011 local government reform by the merger of the following 3 former municipalities, that became municipal units:Itanos
The municipality has an area of 627 km2 (242 sq mi), the municipal unit 277 km2 (107 sq mi).
The province of Siteia (Greek: Επαρχία Σητείας) was one of the provinces of Lasithi. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipality Siteia and the municipal unit Makry Gialos. It was abolished in 2006.
The are a number of sites in the municipality of Sitia that are protected as National Parks, Aesthetic Forests, Wildlife Refuges etc. under national and international laws. Notable examples are:Dionysades Islands which carry many rare and endangered plant species and also serve as a refuge of several animal species (mostly birds and small reptiles), including the falcon, Falco eleonorae, which finds sanctuary here.
Vai Palm Forest.
Richtis Gorge and waterfall.
The earliest settlement of the town dates back to before Minoan times; excavations in the neighbouring site of Petras have unearthed architectural remains that date back to the end of the Neolithic period 3000 BC and continue throughout the Bronze Age 3000-1050 BC. In addition, there are several Minoan settlements unearthed in the various archaeological sites in the municipality, such as in Itanos and in Mochlos.
According to Diogenes Laertius, Sitia was the home of Myson of Chen, one of the Seven Sages of Greece.
The name Σητεία may come from the ancient Ητεία, written as Itia or Etea in English.
The town was later expanded and fortified by the Venetians who used it as a base of operations for the Eastern Mediterranean. During the Venetian occupation, the town was destroyed three times: by an earthquake in 1508, by a pirate attack in 1538 and finally by the Venetians themselves in 1651. Sitia was then conquered by the Ottoman Empire.
After the Venetians moved out of Crete, the town was abandoned for two centuries until it was resettled by farmers in 1869. The main remnant of the Venetian occupation is the Kazarma (from Italian casa di arma), the old fortress overlooking the harbour.
The municipality of Sitia is served by Sitia Public Airport with several domestic destinations, the first landing was on June 7, 1984 and the airport opened officially on June 9, 1984. Construction of new building facilities that included a control tower was completed in May 1993. Runway and apron extension works were finished in May 2003. Recently (2011), the local authorities have completed negotiations with international travel agents for organizing regular charter flights starting from May 2012. Currently (2011), local officials are under negotiations with the low-cost airline Ryanair
In addition, Sitia is served by a port which connects Sitia and eastern Crete with several other Greek islands as well as with the port of Piraeus. The town also has a marina which accommodates smaller fishing boats and yachts.
The General Hospital of Sitia was founded in 1947 as a local health center and was later (1994) relocated to a new 7500sqm (110-bed capacity) building and accordingly upgraded to serve as the main hospital for the municipality of Sitia and the surrounding area.Vai forest and beach, the largest natural palm forest in Europe.
Moni Toplou, founded in the mid 15th century, is one of the most significant monasteries in Crete.
Kazarma fortress, in the town of Sitia.
Richtis Gorge and Waterfall at Exo Mouliana village (Map). Pictures1, Pictures2.
Gorge of the Dead (at Kato Zakros).
Various archeological sites with Minoan civilization settlements from the Bronze Age, such as in Itanos and Mochlos.
Myson - philosopher (one of the 7 legendary wise men of ancient Greece)
Vitsentzos Kornaros - poet (composer of Erotokritos)
Stratis Kalogeridis - musician of local folk music
Giannis Dermitzakis - musician of local folk music
Katerina Papoutsaki - actress
Giannis Savvidakis - singer
Giorgos Mazonakis - singer
Eleni Kastani - actress
Jenny Hiloudaki - model
Seraina Kazamia - model