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Ancient Crete theatre re-opens with Homer’s Odyssey
The recently restored Ancient Theatre of Aptera in Chania on the island of Crete will re-open after 17 centuries with a free, dramatised performance of a passage from Homer’s Odyssey.
The event on the evening of June 29 will see actors Sofia Hill and Antonis Myriagos perform alongside musicians Giorgos Kaloudis on lyre and Ruth Hill on the qanun (kanonaki in Greek).
Event organisers have described the performance of the narration of a rhapsody from the Odyssey as seeing “the heroes crushed not by the blind and uncontrolled vengefulness of the gods but by their own disobedience and overstepping of the limits, something that constitutes defiance in the classical ethical norm ‘hubris, nemesis, tisis’ (atonement), which characterises the ancient Greeks’ world view”.
The site before its restoration
The site belies its proud history when Aptera was once the most powerful city of western Crete during the Minoan times. Recent archaeological excavations have revealed details about the settlement’s composition, the city’s architecture and the habits of Apterean residents.
“Although the earliest mention of the Aptera is found as a-pa-ta-wa on the Linear script B tablets of Knossos, which dated to the 14th-13th century BC, the currently rich findings of the excavations indicate that the hill was inhabited the 8th century BC until the 7th century AD, when abandoned due to a strong earthquake and because of the attacks by the Saracen Arab pirates,” organisers say.
The performance is free to attend with a free coupon distributed from Monday, June 18 until Monday, June 25 at the offices of the Chania Antiquities Ephorate.
Aptera is one of the most important archaeological sites in West Crete. The ancient city of Aptera was founded in the 8th century BC in a panoramic position that controlled Souda Bay and flourished in the Hellenistic period. It was abandoned in the Arab years, when it was destroyed by the pirates. The city was served by the ports at Marathi and Kalives. These great ports made Aptera one of the most important commercial centers of Crete, if not the greatest.
Coins from Aptera According to tradition, it got its name from the Sirens who lost their wings after losing in a musical contest against muses, so they stayed wingless (aptera in Greek). However, it apparently got its name from Aptera Artemis (wingless Artemis) that was worshiped in the area, as evidenced by the coins of the city.
The city was fortified with a strong wall, a large part of which (4km) survives till today. In Aptera we can see a sanctuary of the 5-4th century BC, huge Roman vaulted cisterns, a carved-in-ground theater, the “parliament” and a nearby necropolis. The various findings include vases, coins, figurines, inscriptions and sculptures.
Aptera was famous for its keen archers who fought as mercenaries in various areas outside Crete, bringing wealth to their homeland. The introduction of the valuable silver by the returning mercenaries gave the city the ability to mint its own coins. The coins were elaborate and usually depicted the goddess Artemis, on one side, and on the other the city's founder King Apteras. Other types depicted Apollo or Hera and torch, bee or bow.
The Roman cisterns and the baths
External view of the Roman cisterns (Courtesy of The Tiny Book).
Impressive lines of ancient brick give shape to the walls and archways that make the roofs of the underground Roman cisterns. This impressive work of fine engineering has been very well preserved and is a clear testament to Roman times on the island.
Internal view of the Roman cisterns (Courtesy of The Tiny Book).
Below the cisterns is the big area of the Roman baths complex. This makes one wonder how much water was actually required to fill the vast spaces in the cisterns.
Theatre of Ancient Aptera opened to public
The Theatre of Ancient Aptera in the region of Chania, western Crete, was given for public visit this past Saturday, December 12th, in a large event with the presence of the Greek Minister of Culture, Mr Aristides Baltas, and representatives of local authorities.
This important theatre was entirely constructed with local limestone and it is found on the south eastern side of the ancient city of Aptera, at a natural cavity with view to the south of the island and the White Mountains. Its oldest phase is dated from the Hellenistic times (first half of the 3rd century BC), while it was largely reconstructed during the Roman times.
After the severe destructions of the ancient theatre of Aptera during the 19th and the 20th century, the monument was recently reconstructed and revealed so that the general public visits it.
During the event, the Greek Minister of Culture said that "the entire ancient site of Aptera is wonderful. Something new is added at the culture map of the island, with this theatre that connects the ancient civilization with present Crete."
The archaeological site of Aptera is found 13 km east of Chania Town. With a highly fortunate geographical location, this city-state was rich and powerful from the Minoan times through the Hellenistic era, when it gradually declined. In the 7th century AD, it was destroyed by an earthquake.
CORISSIA hotels & resort
For this trip, you can enjoy a long, relaxed breakfast and still be back in your Corissia Hotel in time for dinner. You shouldn't go on a Monday, as the excavation site at Aptera is closed. The tour is also enjoyable for younger children, as it's only a short drive between destinations and there's plenty to see and do at each stop.
You will visit an ancient theatre with magnificent views of the White Mountains, set foot in colossal cisterns dating back to Roman times, explore two ancient churches and hike for about 20 minutes through a narrow, lush green ravine to a cave of historical significance. Towering up on a rocky outcrop, the secluded festival grounds of a small chapel invite you to stop for a picnic
It's only this century that systematic excavations have unearthed an ancient theatre of particular beauty in Aptera. The two enormous cisterns from Roman times are just as impressive.
On the way to the ancient city of Aptera.
First take the National Road towards Chania until the turn off for Aptera. The road is in good condition and winds its way briefly up the mountain, reaching the modern village of Aptera with three tavernas and cafés. Turn left and head uphill after the particularly lovely 'Kafeneion 1912'. After 1,300 m you will see a grey panel in front of ancient ruins on the right-hand side of the road. It depicts the layout of the ancient city of Aptera.
Approximately 15 m away you will see the walls of the ancient city gate, which have been partly rebuilt. They stand beside an uphill dirt track, where remains of the ancient road have been preserved. The course of the ancient city walls is marked in yellow on the grey panel. Another panel between the road and the city gate displays a reconstruction drawing and photos showing how the area looked before and after the excavations in 2010-2012. The reconstruction drawing of an ancient catapult as used by those laying siege is also displayed.
Koules Fortress from the Late Ottoman period
300 m further on, you will reach a fork in the road on the expansive rocky plateau, which is about 200 m high. Giant fennel flourishes here in large numbers. First drive to the left. The narrow road ends after 800 m in front of Koules Fortress. With its two round turrets, it almost looks like a Playmobil castle. It was built as late as 1860 by the Turks, meaning it stems from the Late Ottoman period. Although visitors are not allowed to go inside, the view from up here across the sea and the Apokoronas peninsula is fantastic.
Afterwards, go back 800 m to the fork in the road and now turn off to the left. Only 200 m further on, you will arrive at the small entry booth to the excavations of the ancient city of Aptera. You should take at least 80 minutes to walk around here.
For 2000 years, the people of the ancient city of Aptera (emphasis on the first "a") lived on a high rocky plateau, about 1000 m long and approximately 200 m high. Today it is south of the National Road from Georgioupolis to Chania. People began to settle here as early as 1300 B.C. and in the 4th century B.C. they minted their own coins.
In the 7th century A.D. the settlement fell in the period of Arab raids. Monks from the island of Patmos founded a monastery between the ancient ruins in 1181, which was inhabited in both the Venetian and the Ottoman period, and only abandoned in 1964. Finally, the Ottomans erected a small fortress here on the edge of the rocky plateau, 1866-1869, which is also clearly visible from the National Road.
Ancient theatre, Roman cisterns, Christian monastery
It's only this century that systematic excavations have unearthed, among much more, an ancient theatre of particular beauty. The two enormous cisterns from Roman times are just as impressive. The courtyard of the old monastery is a great place to sit, draw and paint, sunbathe and have a picnic.
Just after the entrance lie the foundation walls of a small bipartite temple from the 5th century B.C. below street level, which German archaeologists had already unearthed in 1942, during the Second World War. It's not known which gods were worshipped here. Just after, you will enter the inner courtyard of the monastery. A small gate opposite takes you into the excavation site. You will enter the 'vaulted cisterns', a cistern of monumental dimensions from the 2nd century. You can go partway inside the high vaults of this giant water reservoir.
Afterwards, the circuit takes you past nature at its best to the walls of the thermal baths, which have been preserved at an impressive height. This was a bath house from Roman times, where citizens pampered themselves in their free time. Head through the courtyard of the monastery and you will find yourself back at the entrance. Take a short walk to your right, along the outside of the fence, and you will get a good view of another monumental Roman cistern, which no longer has its roof. It is in the form of the Greek letter, gamma.
A broad path about 150 m long leads off left of the entry booth, taking you to the city's ancient theatre. It was originally designed in the 3rd century B.C., then modified in the 2nd half of the 1st century, and again in the 3rd century. Its upper seating tiers and the surrounding meadows are covered with thousands of red poppy flowers in April. The tiers and the stage-building were built from local limestone.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a kiln was erected in the orchestra, the round "stage", which burned lime from the ancient seats and stone blocks in the walls. In this century, archaeologists have reconstructed many of the former seating rows from the same stone, and also used tools similar to those they would have had in antiquity. Today, the theatre appears relatively intact. The reconstruction work was financed with support from the EU.
Opening time: Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 am - 3 pm
Admission: 4 euros, senior citizens (65+) and students 2 euros
Advice for Mondays: if you visit Aptera on a Monday, you don't need to do without a view of the theatre. Simply walk along the fence from the entry booth anticlockwise. After about 200 m you will have a good view of the theatre over the fence and can take some photographs.
Crete Landmarks and Monuments
Famous throughout Greece and beyond for its ancient history and Minoan landmarks, there is so much more to Crete that just some nice beaches and lots of sunshine. Knossos stands out as being the most noteworthy of all Crete's Minoan sites and contains a number of important archaeological landmarks, within the remains of its 'Palace of Knossos'.
Further Minoan sites and remains can be found within the ancient settlements of Agia Triada, Gortyna, Gournia, Malia and Phaestos. Other landmarks on Crete include the Ancient City of Aptera, the Lebena Ruins, the Koules Venetian Fortress, the Rethymno Fortress and the Hania fortifications, amongst main other impressive sites.
Knossos and other Minoan Sites
Many of the most famous and spectacular archeological sites on Crete are Minoan and few come more impressive than those remaining landmarks within Knossos. Once the Minoan capital of Crete, Knossos is a mere 5 km / 3 miles from Iraklio and is without question the number one attraction, being flooded with tourists all through the year. Within Knossos are the remains of an immense palace complex, where it is said the King Minos once kept his mythical Minotaur creature. Highlights within the Palace of Knossos include the Western Court, the Corridor of the Procession Fresco, the Theatral Area, the Bull Fresco, the Throne Room, the Grand Staircase, the Hall of the Double Axes, and the Queen's Megaron. Other famous ancient Minoan sites and landmarks on Crete include:
- Agia Triada (Hagia Triada) - located on a dramatic coastal ridge, above the Mesara Plain and near to Phaestos
- Gortyna - on the plain of Mesara and just 15 km / 8 miles from Phaestos, highlights include some enormous stone tables which are inscribed with the Laws of Gortyna
- Gournia - home to an especially important Minoan site, located around 18 km / 11 miles to the south-east of Agios Nikolaos, and dating from 1550 BC
- Kamilari - the site of Crete's famous circular Minoan Tomb, which was built in 1900 BC and is extremely well preserved
- Kato Zakros - a small but scenic Minoan settlement, around 7 km / 4 miles from the beach of Kato Zakros
- Malia - with the spectacular remains of the Palace of Malia, first excavated by Crete archaeologists just under 100 years ago
- Phaestos (Phaistos) - the site of the second-most important Minoan palace city on Crete, after Knossos. Phaestos is located roughly 60 km / 37 miles from Iraklio
- Zakros - once a thriving port and featuring the smallest of the island's four Minoan palace complexes, the Palace of Zakros
Mount Psiloritis (Idi)
Address: Mount Psiloritis, Crete, Greece, GR
One of the most imposing and impressive of all the landmarks on the island of Crete, Mount Psiloritis also goes by the name of Mount Idi and dominates the entire Amari province, towering almost 2,500 metres / 8,200 feet high. The Nida Plateau forms the eastern base of the mountain and is a huge expanse, encircled by a number of additional, smaller mountains. A paved roads leads to the plateau from Anogia and if you drive along this road, look out for the stone shepherd's huts, which are known locally in Greece as 'mitatas'. Of particular interest, Mount Psiloritis is home to the Ideon Cave, which legend says, is where the Greek god Zeus, king of all the gods, was actually reared.
Open hours: daily
Ancient City of Aptera
Address: West of Kalyves, Crete, Greece, GR
The remains of the ancient city of Aptera are well worth searching out and lie some 3 km / 2 miles directly to the west of Kalyves. These ruins are roughly spread around two large hills, next to the Souda Bay, and date as far back as the 7th century BC, almost 3,000 years. Once one of Crete's most important cities, Aptera was sadly completely destroyed during a major earthquake disaster in the 7th century AD, although was somewhat rebuilt during the 10th century. Today, Aptera is still being meticulously excavated and features some very well-preserved structures, including a Greek temple from the 2nd century BC, Roman cisterns and some gigantic fortified walls. Also here is the considerably younger landmark of a Turkish fortress, constructed in 1872.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 08:00 to 14:30
Address: Lendas, Crete, Greece, GR
Located on the very outskirts of the village of Lendas, the archaeological site of Lebena started life as a renowned health spa, using the onsite freshwater springs, which were known for the therapeutic qualities. Very little remains here of the original structures, although there are a couple of large stone columns which were once part of a 4th-century BC temple. There are also some intricately laid mosaic floors which are still clearly visible.
Open hours: daily
Koules Venetian Fortress (Rocca al Mare)
Address: Iraklio Harbour, Crete, Greece, GR
Built during the 16th century and still dominating the Old Harbour, Crete's Koules Venetian Fortress was known as the Rocca al Mare under the island's Venetian rule. For more than 20 years, this fortress helped to defend the island from Turkish attacks, before actually becoming a Turkish prison for rebelling Cretans. The facade is especially eye-catching and features a number of reliefs depicting the Lion of St. Mark. Step inside the Koules Venetian Fortress to discover more than 20 different restored rooms, a number of which are now used as art galleries.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 09:00 to 8:00
Rethymno Fortress (Fortezza) / Acropolis
Address: Paleokastro Hill, Rethymno, Crete, Greece, GR
Tel: +30 28310 28101
The Rethymno Fortress is located within the lively town of Rethymno and was built during the 16th century. Also the sit of the town's ancient acropolis, the fortress boasts enormous walls, inside of which many different monuments and buildings once stood. All that now remains of these buildings are a church as a rather beautiful mosque. There is plenty to explore as you walk around the ruins, while for the best views, head to the ramparts. An Archaeological Museum is close by and near to the fortress entrance.
Open hours: charge
Admission: June to October, daily - 08:00 to 20:00
Moni Arkadiou (Monastery)
Address: Arkadi, Crete, Greece, GR
Tel: +30 28310 83138
The 16th-century monastery that is the Moni Arkadiou is to be found just over 22 km / 14 miles to the south-east of Rethymno town. A number of different landmarks are based here, of which the Venetian Baroque-style church is amongst the most impressive, with no less than eight Corinthian columns and a rather special bell tower. Also here is a former windmill, which contains a rather surprising collection of bones and skulls of Turkish soldiers, who attacked in 1866 and lot their lives after Cretans set lit to the monastery's gunpowder store.
Open hours: April to October, daily - 09:00 to 19:00
Hania Fortifications (Chania)
Address: Hania, Crete, Greece, GR
Built by the Venetians to protect Hania from possible siege, these awesome medieval fortifications remain one of the city's most noteworthy and visited landmarks. The western wall is the most well-preserved of all the stretches of fortifications still standing and is sandwiches between the Siavo Bastion and the Firkas Fortress. For some excellent views across Hania, head up the Bastion - and bring your camera. Nearby and next to the harbourfront, the Venetian lighthouse may also be worth a look, and is the Mosque of Kioutsouk Hasan.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Address: Lato, North of Kritsa, Crete, Greece, GR
Standing just 4 km / 2.5 miles to the north of Kritsa, the ancient city of Lato is actually one of the island's few historical sites which is not actually Minoan in origin, being established during the 7th century BC by the Dorians. Lato was a massive Cretan city in its time and led much of the island. Enjoying a truly picturesque mountain setting with views across the Gulf of Mirabello, the main remains within the Lato of today include a theatre, the governing 'pyrataneion' building, various mosaics, and the Temple of Apollo.
Open hours: Tuesday to Sunday - 08:30 to 15:00
We picked and present to you some of the most popular Archaeological Sites of Crete you should definitely visit!
Knossos Archaeological Site
The biggest and brightest center of the Minoan civilization, Knossos, is located 5 km. south of the historic city center of Heraklion. In the area, at the east side off the hill, where the brilliant Minoan ruins of Knossos have been discovered, are found also traces of Neolithic installation dating from 6000 BC. In a complex system of corridors and labyrinthine apartments located there, many researchers recognized the ancient “Labyrinth“. However, the most important element of the palace of Knossos is the fact that it was a structured city center developed around a large central yard-square. Rear more about the Archaeological site of Knossos.
Ancient Aptera was one of the largest and most powerful city-states of Western Crete. In the area dominate the imposing vaulted Roman cisterns, which are kept in very good condition. The town is surrounded by cyclopean walls, which surround the entire rocky plateau on which it was built. Part of the wall is preserved today in length greater than 4 km. In the area have been also excavated a small church, a large private house with columned courtyard, a theater, an orchestra as well as a graveyard west of the city, with carved tombs.
In the region where is located today the village of Eleftherna (Prines) in Rethymnon, was the ancient town the remains of which were discovered after systematic excavations. The village is located in the south of the fort hill around which was built the ancient Eleftherna, one of the most important ancient cities of Crete.
The region was inhabited since 2,000 BC. On the root of the northeast slope, lies a large part of the site that came to light from the excavations of recent years carried out by the University of Crete from 1985. The excavation of the ancient cemetery in the area “Orthi Petra”, gives us a lot of information. The graves contain significant findings that help to extract relevant conclusions about life in ancient Crete. This year, the Archaeological Museum of Eleftherna opens its doors to the public.
Zakros Archaeological Site
The most eastern of the Minoan archaeological sites of Crete is located in the southeastern beach of Sitia, Kato Zakros. It is located 45 km. from the town of Sitia and 115 km. from Agios Nikolaos, in a small, well protected cove. Kato Zakros was identified as an important archaeological site in the 19th century. At the end of the same century, Italian archaeologists made excavations and found several vases with luxurious decoration, belonged to the best period of Mycenaean Knossos. In 1962, excavations on the eastern slope of the hill of Agios Antonios finally revealed the fourth Minoan palace, many districts of the Minoan city and its cemeteries.
Phaistos Archaeological Site
Phaistos was the second biggest Minoan town and the center of south-central Crete, including the areas of Amari and St. Basil in Rethymnon and south Heraklion. The palace and the city of Phaistos is situated on a hill, offering panoramic views to all points of the compass, especially to the East, North and South. To the East, lies the rich and fertile plain of Messara. The rich and fertile plain of Messara, is surrounded by the mountains of Lasithi at right, Asterousia Mountains at south and Psiloritis Mountains at north. The view, in all hours of the day, but mostly in the afternoon, is magnificent, and only for this, it is worth visiting Phaistos.
Gortyn Archaeological Site
Ancient Gortyn is one of the most important archaeological sites of Crete near the village of Agii Deka in Messara. It is located at the point where flourished one of the oldest and most powerful cities in Crete, during the prehistoric and historic period. The ruins of the ancient city are spread over an area of 4,000 acres from the hills of Saint John, Volakas and Prophet Elias to the village of Agii Deka at east and Mitropolis at south. It is the largest archaeological site in Crete and one of the largest in Greece.
The sacred cave of Cretans gained nationwide fame and became an important center of worship and place of initiation is located on the west side of the Nida plateau on the root of the steep slope at 1538 meters altitude. According to tradition, it is the cave were Zeus born and raised by Amalthia. We know that the cave was an important place of worship. Its fame was spread throughout Greece and is one of the major theological study centers of antiquity. The clearance and initiation ceremonies attracted large numbers of pilgrims such as the great Greek philosophers, Epimenidis and Pythagoras.
T he most important monuments of the site are:
|Bipartite temple, known as the "bipartite sanctuary", dated to the 5th-4th century B.C.|
|Part of a Roman bouleuterion.|
|Monastery of Hagios Ioannes Theologos (St. John the Baptist).|
Araden (Heraden). Aradaina Sfakion. Aradena is located in the western area of the gorge, at Sfakia. The gorge separates the plateau of Aradena with that of Anopolis, in the west of Agia Roumeli and near Agios Ioannis. Stefanos Byzantios confuses Aradena with Anopolis. The ruins of ancient Araden or Heraden are preserved at Passopetra location, near the village Aradena. It was independent city and it was one of the thirty cities of the often-cited decree. The ancient necropolis is at Xenotafi location. Phoinix was the port of Aradena. It is believed that Phoenician colonisers established it and they link the name of the city with the Phoenician word Aruad, which means shelter. In Phoenicia, there was a city with the same name. Aradena was flourishing until the last centuries of Venetian dominion and the first century of the Turkish dominion. Its citizens were working on sailing and trading. In the Revolution of Daskalogiannis against the Turks of the Ottoman Empire, the village was utterly ruined. To Aradaina, we can go via Chora Sfakion and Anopolis. “Araden is city of Crete, which is also called Anopolis, because it is in high location. The citizen from the genitive form of the word, was called Aradenios, like Araphenos, Araphenios” Stef. Byzantios.
Arados. Island at north by west coast of Crete. “With the name Arados, there is one island in Phoenicia, one in Red Sea and one in Crete. The national adjective is Aradios, Aradia” Stef. Byzantios.
Arbis. Arvi at Viannos.
Arkades (Arkadia). Profitis Ilias location at Afrati Pediados village. Arkades or Arkadia. Mediterranean city of central Crete. the ancient writers do not give us a lot of information about this city. Polybios says that Arkades had participated in the civil war between the Cretan cities in 221 BC. Inscriptions testify the importance of the city in the 2 nd century BC. They had signed decrees with Teo of Ionia in 193 BC and with Eumenes B’ in 183 BC. Based on the silver and bronze coins of the city, we can presume that it was independent. The coins have representations of Zeus and Athena with the word ARKADON. The coins that have been found and an inscription confirm the identity of the city and its location at Herakleion prefecture. Excavations took place in the area in 1924. There are found many houses, a cemetery with vaulted tombs, which is typical Minoan characteristic. The burials, which were mainly in earthen jars and urn boxes, contained many important artefacts from the geometric and oriental period (9 th -7 th century BC). The vessels are products of the local workshop. Also, there was found a Phoenician capital of 7 th century BC. The capital has Egyptian influence and is the only one found in Crete.
“Arkades was city of Crete, as Xenion cites in his book “Kretika”(the Cretan issues). The citizens were called Arkades. However, Demetrios does not call the city Arkades but Arkadia and the national adjective Arkades” Stef. Byzantios
Arsinoe. Port of Lyktos. Stefanos Byzantios counts all the cities that have the same name and says “ninth Lyktos”. Bursian believes that the city is near Itanos. Spratt locates it near Erimoupoli. On the other hand, Muller says that it was in northern Crete, between Chersonisos and Milatos, where there are some ruins. Svoronos says that the most probable condition is the last one, because then the city is not far from Lyktos and near Chersonisos, which was part of the Lyktian land. There are coins, which are attributed to this city.
Asos. Near Vourvouliti Kainourgiou. “Asos. Small town of Crete. The citizen was called Asios because there they worship Zeus and there is a very old temple of Asios Zeus” Stef. Byzantios.
Astale or Atale. Bali Mylopotamou. The ancient city Astale was the port of Axos during the Roman period. It was located at the place where Bali village is now located, at Melidoni Mylopotamou, Rhethymnon prefecture. It is in the western coast of the bay. There are no references about the village in the Venetian catalogues. The Venetian maps include the bay and in official papers, there is cited a porto or redoto di Atali = bay of Atale. In the book “Stadiasmoi tis megalis thalassis”, we have this reference: “From Amphimatrion to Astale it is 30 stadiums there is port and spring. From here, Elefthera (Eleftherna) is 50 stadiums away.” The Turks renamed the area to Bali, because in the area there was developed apiculture. In Turkish, balli means honey.
Asterousia. “Asterousia is called a mountain in Crete. In the south, there is sea. There is also a city in Caucasus, which is called Asterousia and it is colony of Cretans. The residents are called Asterousianoi and Asterousieis and Asterousiois”. Stef. Byzantios. Asterousia is in southern Herakleion prefecture. Some researchers believe that there was a city in Crete, which was also called Asterousia. However, we do not know its exact location.
Axos (Oaxos). Axos Mylopotamou. “Axos is city of Crete. It is the fourth city Herodotus Cites. The national adjective is Axios” Stef. Byzantios.
Aylon. (Avli Pediados).
Aylon. “Aylon…there is a third city or area with this name, which is in Crete.” Stef. Byzantios.
Bene. Gortys region. City of Crete which was under the rule of Gortys, homeland of poet Rhianos. Near the village Beni, there have been found ruins of fortification, walls and cisterns that belong to the archaic and Roman period. “Bene was city of Crete, under the rule of Gortys. The national adjective is Benaios. Poet Rhianos was said to be from this city and he was called Benaios or that he was from Kerea and thus he was called Kereates or simply Cretan.” Stef. Byzantios.
Biannos. Ano Viannos. Biannos or Biennos is located bellow Epano Viannos village. According to Stefanos Byzantios, the city took this name by her founder Biennos (one of the Kouretes) or by the word bia, which means violence, struggle, that took place there among the sons of Poseidon and Ares, Otos and Efialtes. The citizens of the city were called Biennioi or Biannioi. Biannos was independent. The city had its own coins. The coins have the representation of female head and a flower. In addition, Biannos was one of the Cretan cities that signed the decree with Eumenes B’. However, it seems that later the city was under the rule of powerful Ierapytna. In the village, a built Christian tomb with marble inscription has been found. At Galana Charakia, N. Platon excavated two tombs in rock hollows with thirty earthen jars and vessels from the early Minoan period III and Mid-Minoan I period. In the same area, a Mid-minoan building of four rooms and paved floor was unearthed. At Kefalas Chondrou, a Postminoan settlement of fifty rooms, corridors, and yards was unearthed. It was destroyed probably by fire, and in some houses, there might be first floor with wooden stairs. Utensils, pottery, and built box-like ovens were found. At Rousses Chondrou, N.Platon unearthed a midminoan house-temple.
Stefanos Byzantios adds “There is another city in Galia (France) with the same name, near the Rhodanos River, which is Cretan colony.”.
Biennos. Between Phalasarna and Kriou Metopou. It was port or city of Crete, which belonged to Polyrrenia and was at Kriou Metopon Cape. This cape is the southeastern end of Crete.
Bionnos. Kerame Agiou Vasileiou.
Boiai. See Boion.
Boibe. Near Gortys. Probably the village Bobia at Kainourgio. Boibe at Thessaly was related to the Cretan city. Both cities were built by the Magnetes. “…there is in Crete as well, Boibe that is near Gortys…”.Stef. Byzantios.
Boion. “Boion. …there is a city in Crete with this name or Boia. The citizen is called Boiates, like Karyai, Karyates, Pitanai, Pitaniates…he is also called Boiaios according to Ephoros. According to Herodianos, he is called Boiites…”Stef. Byzantios.
Chalketorion. Unknown location. “Chalketorion is city of Crete. The citizen is called Chalketoreus, as Apollodorus says in his forth book of the Chronika, and Krateros in “Peri Psephismaton” calls them Chalketoras.” S. Byzantios
Cherronesos or Chersonesos. Chersonisos Pediados. Powerful city of Crete in the northern coast of the island. It was port of Lyktos, between Herakleion and Olous. Plutarch says that the city was established by the children of the citizens of Imbros and Lesbos islands. The mothers of those children were Athenians, which had been abducted. Those children married Spartan women. They were exiled from Sparta. They took money, ships and their leaders were the Spartans Pollis, Delphos and Kratais. The story is true, since on seal with Hieroglyphics from Lyttos, we read Spartan dialect. Those residents brought with them a statue of Artemis. Strabo cites a Temple of Artemis Britomartys, the Cretan goddess, which was represented, on the coins of Cherronesos. The city joined the Republic of Cretans and allied with Eumenes B’ of Pergamos. In inscriptions of the 2 nd and 1 st centuries BC, the city is cited as “seaside Lyttos”. The citizens of the two cities are considered relatives and they had close economical intercourse. In an inscription, we read that the citizens of both cities were considered Lyttians: “those of the Lyttians, the inhabitants of the upper city and that in the sea.” The excavations at Limenas Chersonisou unearthed signs of Minoan settlement. In the Classical period, the acropolis was at peninsular side of the coast. There have been found relics of Roman theatre, houses and port. At the location where the Church of Agios Nikolaos is now, there was the temple of Artemis Britomartys. Marinatos found their inscription of verse couple that is dedicated to Britomartys, of the 1 st century BC. At Poli location, there was found inscription on marble stone that had the decree between Knossians and Gortynians.
. There were also found fragments of statues and architectonic parts of structures. The city was watered by water supplies. At the 25 th kilometre of the road Potamies – Lasithi, there are ruins of huge water-bridge. The location is called Xerokamares. Many coins of Chersonisos have the head of Artemis, naked Apollo seated on tree trunk, holding his lyre. Other coins have Heracles or Athena and the word CHESRONASION. The city preserved its importance until the 1 st Byzantine period. The city was under decline only in the Arabic dominion.
Chersonesos. Sfinari Kisamou Cape. Ancient city of western Crete of the Roman period. Chersonesos and Phalasarna were the ports of Polyrrenia. Strabo and Ptolemy cite the city.
Cydonia. Chania. Cydonia was the third larger city of Crete that was located where the city of Chania is now built. It was the most important city of the Cydonians, with port and rich hinterland. According to tradition, Minos or Cydon, son of Apollo or Hermes and Akakallis, daughter of Minos, or son of Tegeates, was the founder of the city. Cydonia was inhabited since the Midminoan period (17 th century BC). The ruins that have been unearthed testify the existence of a great palatial centre. Herodotus says that in 520 BC, refuges from the island of Samos threw away the Zakynthians from Cydonia and inhabited the area. In 515 BC, the Cretans allied with the people of the island of Aigina and threw away the Samians. The Temple of Diktynna-Britomartys, which is related to the Goddess Aphaia of Aigina, was built then on Mount Tityros near the city. In 429 BC, the Athenians ruined the city of Cydonia in order to help the neighbouring city of Polychna. In 343, BC, Phalaikos, leader of the Phokaians, laid siege to the city unsuccessfully. His army was ruined and he was killed. In the 4 th and 3 rd centuries BC, Cydonia had good relationship with Athena and Macedonia. In the 3 rd century BC, Cydonia was involved in the civil wars between Knossos and Gortys. At the same time, the city was in war with Phalasarna, Aptera, Polyrrenia, and Elyros. In 219 BC, the city joined the Aitolian and then the Achaian Federation. In the 2nd century BC, Cydonia was in great flourishing. The city did not sign the decree with Eumenes B’ and did not join the Republic of Cretans that was established in the mid 3 rd century BC. In the 1 st century BC, the city resisted to the Romans, but it was conquered by Caicilius Metellus in 69 BC. Panares, the one general of the city, signed decree with the Romans, the city was not ruined, and Lasthenes, the other general takes refuge in Knossos, where he continued resisting. In 30 BC, Augustus gave to Cydonia autonomy. The coins of Cydonia are remarkable. They have images of Dionysos, Athena the Cydonian, Diktynna-Britomartys, Apollo, Demeter and Persephone, the female wolf that feeds Cydon and the word KYDONIATAN. Svoronos is talking about 96 types of coins from older Cydonia and 62 of the Roman times.
Herodotus says: “The Samians built Cydonia in Crete they went to Crete not with this aim, but to throw away the Zakynthians from the island. They stayed there and lived in prosperity for five years, and they built in Cydonia, shrines and the Temple of Diktyna. However in the sixth year, the citizens of Aigina won along with the other Cretans the Samians.”Stefanos Byzantios says: “Cydonia is city of Crete. It was called Apollonia. It took its name by Cydon, son of Apollo and Akakallis, daughter of Minos. The citizen is called Cydoniates and Cydon and Cydonios and Cydonaios, the female Kydonia and Kydonis and Kydonikos the male.”
Daidala. “Daidala…there is another city in Crete. The citizen is called Daidaleus, like Samosata, Samosateus and the female form is Daidalis.” Stef. Byzantios.
Dia. Island in the Cretan Sea. It comes under the village Elaia, Pediada province, Herakleion prefecture. It is 5.4 miles in the north from Herakleion. According to mythology, Theseus left Ariadne at Dia. There Ariadne met Dionysos who took her in the heavens. According to other versions of the same myth, this took place not at Dia of Crete, but at Dia of Naxos. In 1976, Cousto and his team found in the sea an ancient shipwreck, which was considered Minoan. It seems that the island was inhabited. It was destroyed by the upheaval of Thera volcano (1643-1623 BC). Part of the island went under the sea. There are no references about the port of Dia. “Dia…d) island near Knossos of Crete. The national adjective was Dieus and the female form was Dias…” Stef. Byzantios.
Diatonion. Suburb of Knossos. We do not know whether was independent city before. The city is located between Knossos and Lyttos. Soon it came under the rule of Knossos. However, in the war between Knossos and Gortys, the Gortynians won, and made the city under the rule of Lyttos. (Polybios 23.15 – Strabo 10.479). Today, between Knossos and Lyttos there is the village Aitania. The name of the village is similar to the name of the ancient city. It is also believed that the city might have been part of Lykastos.
Diktaion Andron. Cave near the village Psychro, at mount Dikte. It is famous as Diktaion Andron. According to the ancient writers, this is the place where Zeus was born, brought up, and made love with Europe. The cave was dedicated to the cult of Diktaian or Cretan-born Zeus. The hymn that was sung on the honour of Zeus was found written in inscription of 2 nd century AD at Palaiokastro. The research in the cave has unearthed offering tables, bronze idols of men who worship, double axes, vessels, tools, and jewellery. Everything is from the Postminoan period.
Herakleia. Stefanos Byzantios cites twenty-three cities of the same name. The seventeenth of them is in Crete. The national adjectives are Herakleus, Herakleiotes, Herakleotes, Herakleion, and Herakleiotikon.
Herakleion. Herakleion city. According To Pliny, the city is called Herakleia. Tournefort and Bursian say that in antiquity the city was called Mation. Strabo cites the city twice: “Herakleion is the port of Knossos” and “the island of Dia is opposite to Herakleion of Knossos”. In the book Stadiasmoi it says: “from Astale to Herakleion, there is 100 stadia distance. It is city. It has port and water. In 20 stadia distance there is Knossos, and in 40 stadia there is an island. The island is called Dia. From Herakleion to Chersonisos it is 100 stadia distance.”. Pape distinguished Herakleion from Herakleia. In contrast to Tournefort and Bursian, Spratt located Herakleia at Herakleion and considers Mation as separate city, near Amnisos. In the Second Ecumenical Synod, Herakleion is written in Latin Heracleia. The Arabs named the city Chandac = Chandax = Candia. Cretans called the city Megalo Kastro (Great Castle) or Kastro (Castle). One century ago the city was named Herakleion. The intellectual circle of the city that wanted to replace the Arabic or Venetian name with the Greek one did this. In 29 May 1508, in 1810 and in 1856, the city was destroyed by earthquakes. From Herakleion was on of the Ten Saints Euarestos.
Hetis. (or Heteia). It is located at Petra village, Siteia. It was located in the western side of Didymo or Siteia Gulf. Ruins of walls and other ancient building are near Petra village. Diogenes Laertios says that Myson the philosopher was born there. Heteia was the port of Praisos. When Ierapytna destroyed Praisos, the citizens of Praisos who survived took refuge at Heteia. Heteia became the new capital of the state of Praisos. In inscription of 3 rd century BC that was found at Praisos, Setaetai are cited twice. It seems that the name Seteia was given to the area by the Byzantine. Seteia existed in the Postminoan period, and was preserved until the Venetian period. In the second Byzantine period, the citizens moved in the hinterland and they established the village Episkopi (Bishopric) of Seteia. Seteia was the capital of Seteia province under the Venetian dominion.
The city was destroyed three times. In 1508 the city was ruined by earthquake and in 1538, by Chairendin Barbarosa. In 1648, the Turks laid siege to Seteia and the Greeks vacated the city. It was re-inhabited after two centuries. Two pashas bought the ruins of the ancient city and in 1870, the Turks built the new city Abnie that the Greeks called Limani Seteias. Vitsentzos Kornaros, the great Greek author who wrote the epic poem Erotokretos was from Seteia. In the east of the city there are ruins of Venetian castle that the Venetian destroyed by themselves in order to prevent it from the Turks (1651). “Hetis is city of Laconia, and city of Crete, whence Myson comes. Myson is cited by Plato in Protagoras.” Stef. Byzantios.
Hydramia (or Hydramon). Dramia Apokoronou. At Kefalas hill, near Dramia village. It was port of Lappa at Almyros gulf. There was found urn that testifies the existence of the city in the Postpalatial period. However, Hydramia flourished in the Roman period. There were found roman shells, and roman statue of naked Heracles. In the same area, there was the Agios Georgios monastery that was vacated in 1770 AD, when all monks were slaughtered in the catalogue of the one hundred cities of Crete of the Marcian Library, we read: “Idramia, allogiamento de forestieri, era ove hora il casale Dramia nel confine tra Rettimmo e la Canea.” (= Hydramia. Installation of foreigners. It was where now Dramia village is, at the border Rhethymnon-Chania)
Byzantios says: “Hydramia is city of Crete, as Xenion says, who wrote the Kretika. The citizens are called Hydramieis, like Megareis.”
Idaion or Arkainsion Andron. Cave of Crete. Place of cult in northern mount Ide, at Nida upland, where Zeus is believed to have been brought up. Many votive objects have been found there. They testify the cult from Minoan period until the 4 th century AD. Many of the artefacts (idols, bottles, tripods) have oriental origin. Very important are the relief bronze shields of 8 th and 7 th century BC, which show less influence from oriental, Assyrian, Phoenician prototypes. The objects that were unearthed show the complexity of the cult of Zeus and link this cult with the city of Axos, which had all the surrounding area under rule. In example, Anchiale, wife of Zeus and mother of Daktyloi of Ida, brings her sons up in a cave (Apollonios Rhodios, Argonautics). She was also considered mother of the founder of the city. The votive shields, boilers, cymbals, tripods, spears and arrows were found on the right of the cave opening. According to mythology, Zeus was son of Rhea and Cronus. He was born at Diktaian Andron but he was transferred to Idaion Andron. Cronus wanted to swallow Zeus in order to protect his reign. Rhea saved her son she swaddled a stone and she gave it to Cronus, and Cronus swallowed it. Zeus was brought up by nymphs Adrasteia and Ide, and he was feed with milk from the goat Amaltheia and honey. When he was crying, the Kouretes were dancing clashing their swords with their shields. Pythagoras, Plato, and Solon had visited the cave.
Iera nesos. “Iera nesos is in the Cretan Sea as Charax says. Iera nesos is also another island near Egypt. The citizen was called Ieronesites or Ieronesios”. Stef. Byzantios.
Ierapolis. Leben or Malia.Stefanos Byzantios cites among other cities of the same name, Ierapolis of Crete. The national adjective is Ierapolitai.
Ierapytna. Ierapetra (36 kilometres from Agios Nikolaos). It was city in the southern coast of Crete. According to tradition, the city was called Cyrba, by the name Cyrbanta, its founder, who was one of the Corybantes. Then it was named Kamiros, Pytna and then Ierapytna or Ierapysna. The older names Cyrba and Kamiros show a kind of relationship with the island of Rhodes. It is probable that the first colonisers were Dorians who came to Crete via Rhodes. The Dorians were mixed with the local population. At first, Ierapytna was not important. The navy of the city was developed and was piratical. Hence, in 204-201 BC, when some Cretan cites fought with the Macedonians against Rhodes and its alliance, Ierapytna fought against Kos and Kalymnos. In 201-200 BC, Ierapytna allied with Rhodes. In 185 BC, the city signed decree with Eumenes B’.
In 145-140 BC, Ierapytna destroyed Praisos and was expanded. The city became gradually superpower. Larissa and Oleros became under the rule of Ierapytna. It was the last city that surrendered to the Romans in 68/67 BC. In the Imperial period, Ierapytna was in flourish. Servius says that Knossos and Ierapytna were the only cities that survived.
We have many coins from Ierapytna. Some of them have the image of wild boar or eagle (400-350 BC), some others the head of Zeus, phoenix or eagle (c.300 BC) and some others female head, phoenix or eagle (200-167 BC). Based on coins and inscription, in Ierapytna there were the cults of Zeus, Hera, Athena, and Apollo. In 1508 AD, Ierapetra was destroyed by earthquake. Duke of Crete was Ieronymos Donatos. The castle of Ierapetra was destroyed in 1780 AD. Three hundred Turks were killed.
“Ierapytna is city of Crete. It was called Cyrba, then Pytna, and then Ierapytna. The national adjective is Ierapytnios.” Stef. Byzantios.
Illatia. Between Allaria and Sybritos. “Illatia is city of Crete, as Polybios says. The national adjective is Illatios”. Stef. Byzantios.
Inachorion. Inachorio Kisamou. City in western Crete, which is located at Ennea Choria area. It is cited in ancient sources and catalogues of ancient cities of Crete. It is often written Innachorion.
Ippokoronion. Strabo cites the name: Ippokorona at Adramyttene and Ippokoronion in Crete. It is believed that it was name of city that was two miles south by west to Neo Chorio Apokoronou, on the Agios Mamas hill. There are ancient pieces of marble. Cornelius says “Hippocoronion sive Tanus hodie Castrum Apokoronou”. So, Ippokoronion was also called Tanos and was near Cydonia. According to Cornelius, the city was where the Venetian castle Bicorna was located, on the seaside hill near Kalyves. The name Apokoronas is cited since 1236 AD in the decree between Batantzes and Duke of Crete Istounianes. In the 2 nd Byzantine period, it was called “tourma Psychrou”, maybe because of the village that Basilicata cites in 1630 AD. The are many different opinions about this city. However, we should agree that the city was called Tanos as it is written on the coins.
Istoi. Unknown location.
Istros (or Istron). Pyrgos-Kalo Chorio Ierapetras. Based on inscriptions, we presume that Athena Polias was worshiped in the city and the leaders were called “kosmoi”. It is located in northeastern coast of Crete, near Istros River. In the area, there are some ruins.
Itanos. Ermoupolis Seteias. North by east to Toplou monastery. It is at Sidero Cape. There are ruins at the cape. The city flourished in the historic Greek and Greco-Roman period. It was established in the Prehellenic period. The name of the city is Minoan, although Stefanos Byzantios says that the city was established by the Phoenician Itanos. He established the colony for trading of purple and industry of glass. Herodotus gives us the first historic information. He says that in 630 BC, the citizens of Thera were lead by the Itanian fisherman Korybios to Libya, where they established Kyrene. Itanos became powerful and wealthy because of trading and the income from the Temple of Diktaian Zeus at Palaiokastro. The city had its own coins and public buildings covered with marble.
The constitution of the city was democracy, like every Doric city. In the 3 rd century BC, there was attempt for subversion of the constitution, which was helped by Ptolemy Philadelphos of Egypt. Athena was the matron of the city. There were two temples of Athena, one in the city and one outside the city. The cult of Athena is obvious on coins of 4 th century BC. Earlier coins have the image of Triton or Glaukus, sea gods. Praisos and Ierapytna wanted to take under their rule the temple of Zeus (for financial efforts) and therefore there were many wars among the three cities. After the destruction of Praisos by Ierapytna, there were many fights between Ierapytna and Itanos for the Diktaian Temple, the island Leuki, which was centre of fishing and purple industry. The decline of the city was result of the earthquake of 795 AD and of the Saracens in the 9 th century. The city was inhabited until the 15 th century AD when the pirates forced the habitants of the city to move to the hinterland of the island. It not cited in the decree of the Cretan cities with Eumenes B’.
“Itanos is city of Crete, which took its name by Itanos the Phoenician or by a Kourete. The citizens were called Itanioi. There is also cape of the same name.” Stef. Byzantios.
Kaino. Kainos or Kanos. It is located where village Kaina is now, at Chania prefecture. Diodoros the Sicilian cites the city and it is believed that Britomartys Diktynna was born there.
Κairatos. Ancient Phoenician name of Knossos.
Kalamyde. Kasteli Selinou, Palaiochora. The place is at the southwestern part of Chania prefecture. It is near the estuary of Kakodikianos River. The Venetian, who called the area Castel Selino, built a small castle in 1279 AD. In 1539, Barbarossa destroyed it. In 1834, Pashley found Selino Kastelli utterly destroyed. There are also ruins of Roman house at Trochaloi.
Kaloi Limenes. Bay near the city of Lasaia, at Kaloi Limenes. Bay at the Libyan Sea, in the south coast of Herakleion prefecture, between the capes Lithino and Kefalas. In the bay, there were four islands, Papadoplaka, Megalonisi, Mokronisi, and Trafos. In the coast there are the settlements Kaloi Limenes and Platia Peramata. Apostle Paul stopped at Kaloi Limenes on his way to Italy. There is also an English shipwreck of 1827 AD. Today the bay is modern, secure, and well equipped.
Kamara. Agios Nikolaos. The citizen was called Kamarites or Kamaraios. Lato pros Kamaran. Port of Lato he Hetera at Merambelo Gulf. Although the city was established in the archaic period, flourished in the 2 nd century BC, when the citizens of Lato he Hetera, abandoned their city and settled in the city. The two cities were one administrative unit. They worshiped Eileithyia. They had one currency. The coins had the image of Eileithyia or Artemis and Hermes with the word Lation. The Latians had good relationship with Elounda, Dreros, Milatos and Minoa.
In the Venetian dominion (1204-1669), Enrico Pescatore, pirate from Genova, built the castle on the top of the hill. They named it Merambello, because the location had very nice view of the whole bay. The city of Agios Nikolaos declined in the Turkish dominion. It was re-inhabited by Cretans from Sfakia in 1860s. The lake of the city is very famous. According to tradition, Athena and Britomartys Artemis used to have bath there. The Venetian called it Mantrakio. In 1867, Kostas Adosides, Christian pasha, linked the lake with sea and cleaned the water of the lake.
Stefanos Byzantios says, “Kamara is city of Crete. The citizen is called Kamarites, as Xenion says in his “Cretan issues”. It was also called Lato.”
Kantanos. Kantanos Selinou. The village has still the name of the ancient city. Kantanos is cited by all ancient writers. Modern writers call it Kandanos. Pashley says that Kantanos was near the villages Kadros, Spaniako, and Kalamos, at the hill, which is near Blithia or Kakodikianos or Stratos River. De Sanctis does not agree with Pashley. He located the city where the village is now. Before the World Wars, the Greek archaeologist Theofanides excavated the area. He discovered a large Roman building. The floor has mosaics with linear decoration, circles, and lozenges. There was found the base of the statue of the Roman emperor Septimus Sebirus (193-211 AD). Kantanos was inhabited until the Byzantine period, when it was Bishopric, and the Arabs destroyed it. It was not reconstructed. The bishopric was re-established in the second Byzantine period, since 1210-1212 Kantanos existed. “Kantanos is city of Crete as Xenion says. The national adjective is Kantanios.” Stef. Byzantios.
Karnessopolis. Lyktos. Hesychius says: “Karnessopolis was called the Cretan city of Lyktos”.
Katre.In the location Vate or Sterna, at Krapis basin, near Askyfou. P.Faure assumes that Katre was at Kadros Selinou. Pausanias says that is was established by the Hero Katreas, son of Minos. According to mythology, Menelaos was in Katre, guest of Katreas, when Paris abducted Helen from Sparta. Stefanos Byzantios informs us: “Katre is Ionic city of Crete, as Herodianos says… The national adjective is Katraios like Askraios”.
Kaudo. Gavdos. “Kaudo is island near Crete, where there are big wild asses”. Soudas. Strabo cites it as Gaudos.
Kaunos (or Kaudos).The island Gavdos. The earlier relics on the island belong to the Neolithic period. Information on the inhabitation of Gaudossince the Neolithic period is given by the ancient writers, Herodotus, Strabo, Ptolemy, and Hierocles. It is certain that Gaudos is inhabited since the third millennium BC and until today. Until now, there have been spotted sixty-three archaeological locations, the fifty of which have been searched. At Ai Yiannis and at Lavraka bay, there are obvious signs of flourishing in the Hellenistic and Roman period. This area is already been declared as archaeological area. In 1927, F. Halbherr discovered at the Praetorium of Gortys, the two first parts of inscribed limestone. Many years later, in 1960, there was found the third part of the inscription at Messara. The text is the decree between Gortys and Kaudos. The decree testifies friendship between the two cities in the 3 rd century BC. The text is written in Doric Cretan dialect and prescribes rights and obligations of Kaudos to Gortys. This is a short and free translation of the decree:
“The Gortynians provide the right to the Kaudians to dwell their island, free and autonomous, with their own courts and laws, and with the constitution the Gortynians established. The citizens of Kaudos have to follow the Gortynians in war and in peace, and to pay the dekate, i.e. the 1/10 of their products apart from animals and vegetables. In addition they have to give five thousand choes of salt from the total production, two hundred medimnos fruits of the tree cedar, if the harvest was good, and sixty, if the harvest was bad.”
Salt and oil of cedar fruits were used in pharmaceutics and preservation of ships. Those were the main products of the island and along with the income from the ports, they were the basic elements of their economy. Another important artefact from Gaudos is a headless statuette of woman, which Spratt transferred in 1865 to the British Museum in London. The statuette belongs probably to the 2 nd century AD. In the Roman period, the island is in decline. In the 2 nd century AD, emperor Andrianos gives the island to Sparta. In the byzantine period, the island was byzantine province with its own bishop. Later Gaudos is again in decline. In the Venetian dominion, Gaudos becomes trading centre of the Mediterranean. However, due to the pirates, the island is not re-inhabited. The Venetians wanted to build fortifications but they did not due to the high cost. Stefanos Byzantios says that there is one city of this name in Karia and one in Crete. The national adjective is Kaunios and Kaunaios.
Keraia. Rokka Kissamou. Keraia was autonomous city of Crete. The coins of the city have the representations of Artemis and Apollo. The citizen was called Keraites or Keretes. It was ally to Polyrrenia in the wars against Knossos (221-220 BC). Polybios says that the city was near Polyrrenia (based mainly on the coins of the two cities and the representations on them). Bursian is of the same opinion and he believes that the city was located where Rokka village is now. The city was one of those that singed the decree with EumenesB’. Soudas says that the famous poet Kretikos Rhianos was from Bene or Keraia.
Kisamos. Kalami Apokoronou. This is the second city of the name Kisamos. It was the port of Aptera. Spratt located the city near the village Kalyves Apokoronou.
Kisamos. Kasteli at Kisamos. Port of Polyrrenia. Pliny located the city near Pergamos and Cydonia. On the other hand, Ierokles located the city between Cydonia and Kantanos. According to Ptolemy, Kisamos was located at Kisamos bay, at the ruins near Kasteli Kisamou. Although it was port of Polyrrenia, the city was autonomous and had its own coins. The coins have the image of Hermes and a dolphin.
The ancient port was at the location Mavros Molos. The ruins of the ancient city are away from the sea, because the land of western Crete upraised. Kisamos flourished in the Roman period. In that period, the city had very famous theatre. The mosaics of Kisamos are considered the best of the 2 nd and 3 rd century AD. At Krya Brysi location, there are ruins of Roman aqueduct. In the Byzantine period, it had bishopric. The Venetians built fortifications. The Classical and Hellenistic city was at Seli hill. The Greco-Roman and Byzantine city was where the today city is located.
The ancient city-state Aptera was founded in the 8th century BC and is situated in the Souda gulf, in a position of great importance. Today it is situated within the Souda municipality area in Chania .
Aptera used to be a very important city-state and has played a key role in the history and the politics of Crete. Aptera flourished in the Early Hellenistic period and was continuously inhabited until the Arab occupation in the 9th century, when it was destroyed and abandoned.
Aptera was founded in the Geometric period and used to be one of the most powerful city-states in Crete . According to the legends, the city’s name, which in Greek means "without wings", derives from the Sirens, who lost their wings after being defeated by the Muses in a musical competition that took place in the area. Furthermore, “aptera” was also a nickname of Diana who had been worshiped in the area for centuries and is inscribed in coins.
The remains of the city walls of Aptera are circa four kilometers long. They were built in the 3rd century BC and its formidable, large stone construction shows the wealth of the city in the Hellenistic period. Inside the walls, in the middle of the site, the remains of a small double sanctuary of the Classical era (late 5th – 4th century BC) lay in a protected area. Besides the city walls , other important ancient buildings are the vaulted Roman cisterns, the well-built double sanctuary of the 5th-4th century BC and the ruins of a small theater curved on rock. Findings from Aptera (vessels, coins, figurines, inscriptions, sculptures etc) are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Chania.
Near the eastern side of the walls, a Roman building with three arches which is believed to have been bouleuterion has been uncovered. Following the path behind the monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos, you can visit two impressive, vaulted Roman cisterns. .
Many tombs of the ancient necropolis have been excavated outside the city walls, in the area of Plakalona, Megala Chorafia. In a short distance, near Stylos village, part of a Minoan settlement with a pottery kiln and a Late Minoan tomb were found on a hill. A Late Minoan settlement in Samona area, near Stylos village, is still excavated. .
Two fortresses of great historical interest built during the Turkish occupation are also situated in the broader area of the archaeological site. Palekastro fortress was built by the Turks because of the Cretan Revolt of 1866 and Izzeddin fortress was built in Kalami area in 1872. Izzeddin fortress housed barracks, hospital and other buildings.