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Information on the Island of Crete

Ancient Sites - Loupassis S.A.

District of Chania

Aptera

One of the most important cities of ancient (7th c B.C.) western Crete. Aptera was built on a site 15 km. from Chania, south of Souda bay, near the village of Megala Horafia, which had a view of the whole plain of Chania.

The city walls still standing today are reminiscent of the Cyclopean walls of Tiryns and Mycenae. One can also see the remains of a small 1st c. B.C, temple of Demeter, a Roman theatre and the enormous vaulted cisterns at the Roman period - according to one source they were used for grain storage -preserved in excellent condition.

Phalassarna (Falaesarna)

This town, the port of Polyrrhenia, lay to the west of it, In the base of the extreme northwest peninsula of the district of Chania. The ruins-remains of Cyclopean walls, tombs, house foundations, sculptures carved out of the rocks, most notably a throne - are found near the village of Koutri.

Polyrrhenia (Polirinia)

The ruined walls and acropolis of Polyrrhenia lie 49 km. west of Chania, near Selli or Paleokastro.At Kria Vrissi, near Kissamos (Kastelli), are the remains of a Roman aqueduct. Polyrrhenia, an important ancient western Cretan city, was founded with the help of the Achaeans, who succeeded the Minoans as overlords of the island.

Distict of Rethimno

Armeni

A Minoan cemetery with tombs carved out of rocks has been unearthed.

Axos

Finds from a big Greek - Roman city.

Eleftherna

Recent excavations held at the area brought to light important monuments from a Greek-Roman city.

Zominthos

A Minoan settlement has been discovered at the Nida plateau, 20 km. from Anogia.

District of Iraklio

Knossos

5 km east of Iraklio. Inhabited since the Neolithic era. The first palace of Knossos was built around 1900 B.C. Two hundred years later it was destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt, becoming grander and more luxurious. The final catastrophe occurred about 1500-1400 B.C., according to one theory, with the eruption of the volcano in Santorini. Despite this blow, people continued to live there for another fifty years, until a fire swept through the city circa 1400 B.C, The Minoan palaces were not only the residence of the ruling house, they were also administrative and religious centres for the whole region. The ruins at the capital of the Minoan Kingdom include the palace of Minos, the homes of the officials and priests who surrounded him (Little Palace, Caravanserai, House of the Frescoes, etc.), the homes of ordinary people and the cemetery. The palace was labyrinthine complex built around a central court. This multi-storeyed construction covered an area of 22.000 sq.m. and, in addition to the royal quarters, also contained places of worship, treasuries, workshops and storerooms.

Phaistos (Festos)

63 km southwest of Iraklio and about 78 km southeast of Rethimno, was the second most important palace-city of Minoan Crete. The residence of the mythical Radamanthes, the palace was also the nucleus of a settlement inhabited since the Neolithic age. The architectural layout is identical to that of Knossos. Here too the rooms are arranged around a court. On the other hand, in contrast to Knossos, the frescoes decorating the walls were relatively scanty, the unpainted floors and walls being covered with a lining of pure gypsum. The area of this palace was 9.000 sq.m.

District of Lassithi

Gournia

9 km southeast of Agios Nikolaos, 15 km north of lerapetra, the best preserved of the Minoan settlements, and one of the most noteworthy archaeological sites in Crete. It appears to date from 1550-1450 B.C. The ruins of the town include small houses and a small palace on top of a hill; even the narrow streets and connecting stairways have survived amidst the foundations of the houses.

Lato

15 km west of Agios Nikolaos, is spread out on the slopes of two acropolises. Founded in the 7th century B.C., it was one of the mostpowerful cities in Crete in its heyday. The ruins include the city walls, houses and shops from different periods built on terraces.

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