Explore Cretan History


Ancient Phoenix (Katopolis)
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The bay where today's Loutro settlement is built was the port of ancient towns Anopolis and Aradena. This port is mentioned in ancient texts as Phoenix or Katopolis. The gods Zeus and Apollo were worshiped in Phoenix.

The city flourished from the Hellenistic Ages to the late Byzantine era, as shown by the large area of the archaeological site covers and the remains of its public buildings. The key role obviously was the very good protection provided by the natural harbour and its strategic location on a peninsula overlooking a large area of Sfakia province.

Today visitors can see scattered ruins of the ancient city a few meters southwest of the port, on the path leading to the settlement today called Phoenix (Finikas). Among the ruins there are public buildings, such as baths, the temple of Apollo, various tombs and vaulted buildings.

There is also the cavernous temple of Saint Anthony (Agios Antonios), which was probably a place of worship even in antiquity. In this church on the feast day of Saint Anthony (January 17) a special custom takes place, having its roots in antiquity. The Sfakians bring bread in the form of humans, animals or body parts, just as their ancient ancestors did, usually devoting them to their gods as clay devotions in the form of a human, animal or human parts. The purpose was to protect individuals or animals, or to treat the human part depicted.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Type: Ancient City
  • Peak Period: Classical & Hellenistic Age (800 BC - 69 BC)
  • Accessibility: Boat, Walking
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