Cretan History


Ancient Falasarna
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The ancient town of Falasarna (or Phalassarna) is located at the west base of the peninsula Gramvousa and was one of the major towns of Crete during the Hellenistic and Roman Era. The city was famous for its port, the only natural harbor in western Crete, built in a small lagoon. Today the area is popular for its amazing beaches.

In antiquity, it was called Korikos, while the name Falasarna was possibly taken after the local nymph Falasarni. The opponent town in the region was Polirinia, which managed to turn Falasarna to its port after 100 years of conflicts (186BC).

In Falasarna the archaeologists have identified parts of buildings and the acropolis overlooking the harbor with traces of strong walls and a temple dedicated to Demetra and a chthonic godess. Moreover, east of the port a cemetery with 43 archaic graves has been found. The territory of Falasarna extended up to the tip of the peninsula of Gramvousa, where there was a temple. Also, a carved throne has been found within walking distance from the town, which was probably dedicated to the god of the sea, Poseidon, or was simply throne for speakers.

The most interesting part of town is definitely its port, which has now elevated up to 9m from the sea surface due to the lifting of Western Crete by the earthquake of 365BC. It's really impressive to see port facilities on land. The harbor was protected by four towers (2 of them have been identified) and the port was accessed through a narrow artificial canal.

It is believed that Falassarna was a refuge for pirates. This forced the Romans to destroy the city in 69 BC and seal the port forever. The town since then could not recover and regain its former glory, thus it was abandoned during the 4th century AD.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Type: Ancient City
  • Peak Period: Roman Era (69 BC - 395 AD)
  • Accessibility: Paved road
  • Opening Hours: 9:00-15:00, Tuesday to Friday
  • Entrance Fee (€): Free
  • Website:
  • e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Phone: +30 2822083308
  • Fax: +30 2821094487, +30 2821044418

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