In the location of present-day Agios Nikolaos, during the antiquity, stood the city of Kamara, a port of a different ancient city, known by the name Lato, which was in the location of present-day Goula. Kamara and Lato flourished during the 3rd century BC.
It was a great trading center, and from its port, mercenaries were being sent to conquered lands of the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Following the example of free, self-sufficient cities, they created their own coin, which one one side had the head of the goddess Artemis and on the other side, Hermes and the word “LATION”.
Furthermore, it’s certain that ancient findings can be discovered in the area, since in 1951, archeologists excavated a tomb of Minoan times, within the city, with a small, ecliptic shrine and other urns. Besides, in 1953, a tomb was discovered, set in the Post Hellenic Era (2nd century BC), in which interesting female idols and urns were found.
The city of Agios Nikolaos took its present-day name, from the homonymous church that is located in the area and is one of the oldest ones in Crete.
It’s a byzantine building with murals of the Iconoclasm period (8th and 9th century). The information we have about Agios Nikolaos, begin right after the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, to the Romans (1204). The first occupants of Crete, after the distribution of the Byzantine territory, were the Genoans, who during the early 13th century, built the Fort of Mirabello in Agios Nikolaos, from which the name of the cove in eastern Crete derives. The fort was later passed on to the hands of the Venetians and consequently was burned by the Turks in 1537, rebuilt by Michael Klonza and once again demolished by the Turks in 1647. During the Venetian occupation, the port of Agios Nikolaos (San Nicolo) became an important trading point. Like almost all of Crete, Agios Nikolaos became Turkish property in 1645. In the Cretan revolution during the 19th century, Agios Nikolaos became the stage for repeated battles and the minor ports of the cove of Mirabello were used as supply bases for the revolutionaries. Earlier, in November 18th 1827, in one of those ports, Admiral D. Konjias from Psaros, combated 13 turkish ships and sunk one of them.