Cretan History

Polirinia

Ancient Polirinia
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The ruins of the ancient city Polirinia are located on a steep hill overlooking the Cretan and Libyan Sea. The city was probably founded by the Achaeans in 1100BC and flourished during the Roman period.

The ports of Polirinia were Falassarna and Kissamos. It developed close trade relations with Sparta, Milos, Rhodes, Thiva, the coasts of Ionia and Egypt. Apart from trade, the town was apparently famous for livestock, as the name comes from the words “polla rinia” which means many lambs.

The city responded positively to the Roman invasion and therefore was not destroyed, like other cities of Crete. Instead it allied and managed to defeat the most powerful city of western Crete, Kydonia, and get the control of the sanctuary of Diktynna at Cape Spatha.

The coins depict a voukranio i.e. bull's head, and Zeus. At the top of the hill, stood another temple of the goddess Artemis or Diktinna, which was destroyed in 1894 to build the temple of the Holy Fathers (with materials from the sanctuary).

Today visitors can see part of the strong city walls dating from the Byzantine period, a Hellenistic tower, the aqueduct and a temple.

Even today Greeks use the phrase Cretan Sacrifices when referring to unfinished desires - purposes. This phrase has stayed by the story of Agamemnon and Polirina: when the winner of the Trojan War, Agamemnon returned to his home, he anchored at Nopigia to offer sacrifice to the gods of Polirinia. However, the prisoners on board the ships set fires and they had to leave hurriedly without meeting the sacrifice.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Type: Ancient City
  • Peak Period: Roman Era (69 BC - 395 AD)
  • Accessibility: Paved road

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