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Ancient Aptera

Following the northern road axis towards Rethymnon and at a distance of 15 km from Chania, you will visit the site where the ancient city of Aptera was built. The ancient city of Aptera was one of the most important ancient city-states in western Crete. It was founded in the 7th century B.C. and was completely destroyed in 823 A.D. by Saracene pirates after having achieved a glorious past for centuries. The place-name is attributed to Aptera or Ptera who was its founder and leader. According to another version of the story, it was called Aptera by the Sirens who establised "the city Aptera and the islets of Leukai" after their defeat in the race with the Muses. It is also believed that they fell into the sea and in this way the islets Leukai were created in the bay of Souda. The finds give evidence that it was inhabited from the archaic period up to the Byzantine years and developed important commercial activity.

Archaeological excavations show a small Sanctuary most likely dedicated to the goddess Demeter. Statues, epigraphs, epitaph pillars and ceramics which today decorate the showcases of the Archaeological Museum of Chania have been discovered. You will also see at the site relics of a small theater, foundations of houses, carved tombs- of the Roman Age - and many large dome-shaped reservoirs of which one well-preserved is divided into three sections. Also found in the vicinity were coins that give evidence of the autonomy of the city.

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