Buildings of antiquity
In the South-West of the Cala Apokoronas at the 15th kilometer of the national road of Chania – Rethymno, at an altitude of about two hundred meters, with stunning views of Souda Bay, was built one of the largest cities of ancient Western Crete is Aptera .
In the center of the Aptera today is the monastery of St. John The Theologian In Patmos. surrounded by the picturesque village of Kalami and Megala Chorafia and Paleokastro. In the North, offers panoramic views of Souda Bay with the Islands of Levkas in his mouth. In the East the eyes of the travelers delight all kinds of shades of green in the valley Ciliare, and to the West rises Malaxa.
This place was previously known under the name of Paleokastro. About who built it, when and why is it called Aptera, as in other Cretan cities of antiquity, there are several versions.
It is reported that the name of the city derives from the name of the founder of the Crete king of Ptera or Aptera, who built the temple of Apollo at Delphi in 1800 BC
According to a more attractive version of the name was due to the dispute of the Muses and the Sirens. The legend says that this ancient city of Crete was held a musical competition in honor of the God Apollo among the Muses and the Sirens. The judges gave the victory to the Muses. This decision led Siren into a rage, they ripped out your wings and left “Aptera” (wingless) and white because of the feathers that covered them.
Then they withdrew to the island of Levkas (White), which received its name from the color of the feathers of the Sirens, and the city where there was a competition called the Aptera. In addition, the exact place where the competition was held, the Museum (the so-called in ancient times the place where there was music competitions), was there, where now is situated the fortress Itzedin.
Ancient location Apterus, like most Cretan cities that were not previously known. The actual location of the first identified Pashley, who visited the city in 1834. To determine where he helped research Stravon. Also coins found in this place, confirm his point of view. In addition, the scope and variety of the ruins coincide with the legends and the descriptions of ancient writers – Skylake, Stravon, Ieroklis and others.
Aptera. as a major city-state of Chania has often played a decisive role in historical events of Crete, in his domestic and foreign policy. The period when Aptera was at its peak, was the early Hellenistic period, the life of the city of Aptera continued constantly until the time of the Arab conquest, when it was destroyed and abandoned.
Wall of the ancient city of Aptera. built in the 3rd century BC, preserved to a length of about four kilometers. Having passed the wall, we get to the security room, from which can be seen the ruins of a small temple of the classical period (the end of 5-4 centuries BC)
In addition to the impressive walls of the preserved ancient buildings are the ancient cisterns of the Roman era, the temple and a small theatre. Finds from these places (pottery, coins, figurines, sculptures and other small objects) exhibited in the archaeological Museum of Chania.
East of the walls is an arched structure of Roman times, like the houses of Parliament.
Behind the walls, on the site of today’s quarter Pakalana, there is an ancient cemetery where, unfortunately, many graves were dug. Near Megala Horafia, before the village of Stylos, on the hill, excavate a Minoan settlement with a ceramic stove, and one Minoan tomb. Also near the village of Stylos, Samone, there are excavations of a late Minoan settlement.
Also preserved two ancient Fort of exclusive interest, built in the Ottoman period. In addition, very interesting are the palaikastro castle, built by the Turks during the revolution of 1866 and the fortress Itzedin located in Kalami, built in 1872 that housed barracks, hospitals and other facilities.