Panormo is situated in a historic place and is believed to be on the site of the ancient city Panormus. The existence of an ancient city is confirmed by the discovery of the basilica of St. Sophia (6th ADCentury) 500m southwest of the village. The basilica is considered as one of the greatest Christian churches in Greece and the largest in Crete. Moreover, Panormos is called Kastelli of Milopotamos (i.e. Castle of Milopotamos), because it was fortified by the Genoese, who conquered it in 1206. The fort, however, fell a few years later at the hands of Venetians. Traces of the fort are still visible next to the harbor.
In the modern history, Panormo was a center for the transportation of goods produced in the wider region. The area produced large quantities of olive and carob. You can still visit the renovated carobmill, which is nowadays used as a cultural center. After the German Occupation, when it was bombed, the small fishing village and port transformed into a tourist resort. The new national road that was constructed next to the village and the construction of the marina in 1980, contributed to the touristic development of Panormos. Three festivals take place here every year: Ascension, St. John on June 24 and St. Nicholas on December 6.
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