Ancient city of Aptera the subject of a special event in Athens


Tornos News — The ancient city of Aptera, one of the most important cities of Ancient Crete will be presented in an event that will take place on Wednesday 24 May at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

The event “Aptera, Research and promotion of an emblematic archaeological area for Western Crete” is supported the Antiquities Department of Crete and the Region of Crete in cooperation with the Cultural Society of Crete.

Aptera existed until the 7th century BC when it was destroyed by a catastrophic earthquake.

The long years of excavations and the restoration works implemented within the context of European and national programmes revealed the city’s impressive fortification as well as the ancient theatre.

Aptera attracts more and more visitors who are impressed by its monuments and the view to Cretan mountains, the Souda Gulf and to Apokoronas hinterland.

Aptera lies about a kilometre inland from the southern shore of Souda Bay, about 13 km east of Chania in the municipality of Akrotiri. It is mentioned in Linear B tablets from the 14th-13th centuries BC. Thanks to its highly fortunate geographical situation, the city-state was powerful from Minoan through Hellenistic times, when it gradually declined.

In the third century BCE Aptera was at war with Kydonia, a prominent ancient city on northwestern Crete. In much of the Greek Archaic Period, Aptera was under the control of Kydonia.

By the 12th century, a monastery of St. John Theologos had been built on the site; it continued in operation until 1964. The site is now maintained by the Greek Ministry of Culture, Department of Antiquities.

The hilltop, about 150 metres above the sea, commands views of Souda Bay and the Akrotiri Peninsula to the north, the Lefka Ori (White Mountains) to the south, and Kalives and the Turkish Itzendin Castle to the east; the city of Chania is not quite visible to the west.

There are several structures within the square monastery enclosure, including a chapel and a two-story block of monks’ cells. The surrounding site is notable for a two-part temple from the 5th century BC, a large three-vaulted Roman cistern, Roman baths, and parts of several Doric temples. An ancient theater and a Roman peristyle villa have also been discovered on the site.