The village is a hamlet west of Chora Sfakia located at the exit of the famous Samaria Gorge. It is built near the ruins of the ancient city Tarra, located on the east side of the river. The city was founded classical times, was small but independent and minted its own coins, which, on one side depicts the head of an ibex (ibex) and arrow and another bee.
It was a great religious center of the Dorians, with temples of the goddess Vritomartydos, which was the protector of flocks, Apollo and Artemis, the main worship Tarraiou Apollo. The city was famous for its oracle and had established colonies in southern Italy and the Caucasus. Apollo left here with dolphins, Delphi and went to the solid Greece and founded the oracle of Delphi. It flourished during the Hellenistic, but mainly Roman period. The Romans when they found the Temple of Vritomartidas, protector of herds, the same dedicated to their goddess, the Roumilia.
When Christianity prevailed, was named St. Roumilia and later Agia Roumeli, where in one version the name originates in the region. In another, the name came from the Arabic words "aia" meaning water and "rumeli" means Greek and hence 'Greek water' from the waters that come down in the canyon.
During antiquity and later the Venetian domination, Agia Roumeli was a major shipyard. The location was ideal for such a task, and this for two reasons, because there afenos large quantity of raw wood near the coast and also because the river has been a great source of energy for sawmills that existed here. Four thousand years ago Tarra was a major exporter of timber. In Tarra were also glassmaking workshops. From here came the Lucilla who flourished in the 2nd BC century, and wrote comments in the Argonautica of Apollonius rhodium, and the guitar player Chrisothemis, son of Karmanoros, who defeated the Pythia. 183 BC appears to be one of the cities that signed the alliance of 30 Cretan cities with Eumenes II of Pergamon. The city was destroyed in 66p.Ch. by an earthquake. The coast of Tara, until 365 AD about had nothing in common with the modern coast, because then dried rose sharply by about 4 m along the coast of Sfakia.
Near the village are the remains of the ancient temple of Apollo, on which had been founded early Christian basilica (still preserved walls 3m. Wonderful and mosaics), which was later turned into the small church of Panagia around 1500. The Turks landed and burned twice during the revolution in village in the summer of 1867 and in November 1868.To canyon, it was natural haven for rebels. North of the village is the Turkish Koules, who survives in good condition. Worth to go up here and enjoy the view from above.
The residents of Agia Roumeli, moved to its present location from the old settlement located 2km north into the canyon after overflow of the river, which destroyed most of the houses in November 1954. The old town is now deserted.
Access to Agia Roumeli is only by boat from Sfakia. Communication is daily with frequent summer and sparse winter. Here you will find rooms and apartments and restaurants. There is also a helipad and office. On the eastern edge of the canyon, near the exit, you can visit the beautiful church of St. Anthony. This church is built into the rock. The long pebble beach of the village with its turquoise waters, will offer you wonderful moments of relaxation! East of the village and after a half hour walk, you reach the secluded beach with pine trees of St. Paul to the Byzantine church. Continuing the path east at 3 kilometers you will reach the beach Marmara, where the output of the canyon Aradaina. West of the village there are two more beaches, the slotted loft where you can go walking to strenuous hiking or by boat.
Agia Roumeli is isolated in the arms of the White Mountains, tireless guardian of the gorge, as we call it here in Sfakia Samaria. It is ideal for those wanting peace and tranquility combined with exploring the wild beauty of the area. The coast of Sfakia and to Agia Roumeli Sougia, is the most unspoilt area of Crete, with a special relief of beaches, bays, mountains, caves and gorges, unique natural beauty and beauty. Of particular interest in the same area has the seabed and which you can browse on your own mask or organized by the dive center from Sfakia. In this region have their honor friends guests who have boat. The visit to Agia Roumeli, even for a day trip is a unique experience that will be unforgettable!