Sokaras

Sokaras

The picturesque village of Sokaras is 50 kilometers from Heraclion between olive trees and fertile vineyards and garden produce of the plain of Mesara. Places of a high archaeological importance, as the archaeological site of Vakiotes, is near the settlement.

496 people live in Sokaras, according to the 2011 census. Administratively the settlement falls under the Gortyna Municipality and the local community includes the villages of Faragiana, Velouli, Metochia Sokara and Apoini.

Faraggiana is in the west of Sokaras. The two settlements are connected and someone can believe that there is only one settlement, if he/she does not pay attention to the road sign that set their border. 250 people live in Faragiana and many of them have a Minor Asian origin. There is a beautiful construction with running water near the entrance of the village and, above that, a small forest at the edge of which there is a small, stone theatre, in the area called Faragiani Kefala.

Apoini is in the south-east of Sokaras and 320 meters above the sea level. Passing through the village and leading to the north, there is a difficult dirt road that leads to the picturesque desolated settlement of Velouli.

HISTORY

The first written reference of Sokaras is in a contract of 1271 and it is then mentioned in the Venetian and Turkish censuses. During the Turkish occupation, only Turks lived in the village.

During the German occupation the village was destroyed and 27 men, residents of the village, were executed in the Spiliara area.

Velouli is mentioned for the first time in Kastrofilakas, in 1583, with 100 residents. The last census, that Velouli is mentioned having residents, is in 1961.

The villages of Apoini and Faragiana are mentioned in the Venetian records.

PLACE NAME

The place name comes from the byzantine surname “Sokaras”, which means the person that knits ropes.

The Faragiana village is said to have taken its name by the gorges in the south of the village. Another version is that its name came from the word “Fragkoi” (i.e. Francs), as Francs lived for the first time in the village during the Venetian occupation.

CHURCHES

The patron saint of Sokaras is Agios Antonios today, but Agios Georgios Methistis in the past. The churches of Agios Ioannis and Agioi Deka are also in the settlement. The country churches of Profitis Ilias, Christ, Agia Anastasia and Agios Nektarios are near the village.

The byzantine church dedicated to Panagia is in Velouli.

FESTIVITIES

The people of Sokaras try to revive the customs that come from the Dionysian feasts mainly on the day of the celebration of Agios Georgios Methistis.

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