Cretan History

Aptera

Ancient Aptera
(2 votes)

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 (or an earthquake).

The city ports were at Marathi and current Kalives. These great ports made Aptera one of the most important commercial centers of Crete, if not the greatest.

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.

hotels booking Crete

Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Type: Ancient City
  • Peak Period: Roman Era (69 BC - 395 AD)
  • Accessibility: Paved road
  • Opening Hours: 8:00-15:00, except Mondays
  • Entrance Fee (€): 2€, reduced 1€, Shared Ticket for the Archaeological Museum of Chania, the Byzantine Collection of Chania, the Archaeological Museum of Kisssamos and the Archaeological Site of Aptera 6€, reduced 3€ (valid for 3 days)
  • Website: odysseus.culture.gr
  • e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Phone: +30 2821040095, +30 2821020156, 2821094487, +30 2821044418
  • Fax: +30 2821094487, +30 2821044418

Also read:

Download Free Premium Joomla Templates • FREE High-quality Joomla! Designs BIGtheme.net