Astraki is famous for its beautiful gorge that goes by the same name and it starts from there and also for the old Turkish quarter.
The village is from the 12th century, about 23 kilometers from Heraclion and at the left side of the plain of the Karteros river, about 1 kilometer south-east of Mirtia. Administratively, Astraki includes two settlements, Epano and Kato Astraki and falls under the Archanes-Asterousia municipality.
224 residents live in the village and their main occupations are olive crop and vine-growing.
The traditional settlement of Kato Astraki
In order to visit the old Turkish quarter in the desolated settlement of Kato Astraki, you should go through the dirt road that connects the two villages. The asphalted road, which begins from the central square of Astraki, in the east of the settlement, becomes a dirt road after a few meters and takes you to the desolated settlement, about 2 kilometers away.
Kato Astraki was desolated in the 1930s and,now, is an old settlement with old traditional houses.
In the same road, byzantine churches are also preserved, while many Minoan and proto geometric necropolises with many important findings have been found. The gorge of Astraki starts from Kato Astraki and is a part of the A4 European long distance path.
The oldest reference of the settlement is a contract in 1271 of a notary of Chandax, Pietro Scardon, in which Ruggeruw de Fulco, a resident of the village Stracu, promises to give to the jewller Georgio Cimisel, resident of Chandax, 50 mistata (i.e. pots and unit for measuring liquids) of fine Cretan wine from his vineyards in the Varvari village.
Astraki was a fief of Leonardus et Pietrus Grandonico, leader of the feudal revolution in 1363. After the repressing of the revolution in 1367, Astraki was given from the government to Ioh. Freganesco. The village is also mentioned in later censuses.
During the Turkish occupation, Muslims also lived in the village and left during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1924. Later on, many families from Asia Minor, and particularly from Ikonio of Likaonia, Akso of Cappadocia, Karampourna (opposite Chios) and Nifio (Nimfeo) of Izmir, moved in the village.
Astrakoi is famous for its desolated Christian churches in Kato Chorio. The temple of Panagia with remnants of frescos and an embossed crown with four roses, a two-headed eagle and the 1555 date is in that area. There is also the temple of Michail Archagelos with religious paintings, one of which shows Agios Fragiskos.