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Listed 16 sub titles with search on: Archaeological sites  for wider area of: "RETHYMNO Prefecture CRETE" .

Archaeological sites (16)


LAPPEI (Municipality) RETHYMNO
  From the excavations, which are conducted till now, in the village Argiroupoli, many archeological findings have bee unearthed which are now located in the museum of Rethymno and Heraklion. Some of them include the "Goat legged God Pan" and the "Goddess Venus". Recently a mosaic of roman times was discovered while in many parts of the village remnants of ancient Lappa can be seen. North-east of the village pagan graves of the Greek-roman period are carved on the surrounding rocks.
This text (extract) is cited February 2004 from the Municipality of Lappes tourist pamphlet.

Ancient acropoles

Acropolis of Axos

AXOS (Ancient city) KOULOUKONA
  The acropolis of the ancient city is above the village, near the cemetery church of Agios Ioannis. Excavations have revealed a large temple platform, possibly of Aphrodite, a statue of Dimitra and several other finds including the excellent bronze helmet displayed in the Iraklion Museum (Room 18). In Axos, Zeus and Apollon were also believed to be worshipped.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains image.

Ancient sacred caves

Ideon Andron Cave

  According to legends, the Ideon Cave was the birthplace of Zeus. In the myth, Rhea brought the infant Zeus to the Ideon cave to protect him from his father, Kronos, who would have swallowed him alive, as he had previously done with his brothers and sisters. Here he was nursed by the goat nymph, Amalthia. He was protected by the Kuretes (5 Cretans) who danced and clashed their weapons to cover the cries of the baby Zeus. This myth will be disputed by those that believe that Zeus was raised in the Dikteon Andron in the plateau of Lassithi.
In another variation of the myth, the baby Zeus was born in the Dikteon Andron Cave, while the infant Zeus grew up in the Ideon Andron among the shepherds of the Nida Plateau. Zeus is often called “Cretagenis”, e.g. born in Crete. According to Cretans, Zeus was not immortal, in contrast to the Classical Greek belief; he died and was reborn every year. The head of the dead Zeus can be seen in the outline of Mount Youktas, outside Iraklion. This belief of Cretans, continues traditions of the old Minoan religion (in which the Young God died and was reborn every year) to the Greek religion.
Historically, it is clear that both the caves in the Lassithi Plateau and the cave in Nida were sanctuaries during Minoan and early Greek times. The cave of Trapeza in Lassithi was used very early in Minoan times, but later it lost its significance to the cave of Dikteon Andron, also in the Lassithi Plateau, and the latter seems also to have been replaced in importance by the cave of Ideon Andron in Nida during Greek and Roman times.
Excavations in the cave uncovered finds dating as far back as late Neolithic times. During Minoan times, the cave was a place of worship of the fertility goddess. Later it became the place of worship for the cult of Zeus.
The cave is 1,540 metres above sea level. It contains a large chamber at the opening and two horizontal chambers that open to the inner sanctum of the cave. Excavations are in progress and the cave is now closed to the public.
The original excavations were done by Professor Marinatos and revealed the Greek and Roman use of the cave. The recent excavations in the cave are concerned with the finds of the lower deposits in the cave. The cave is known to have been used in the Neolithic Age. Recently, a superb bronze shield was found intact.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Ancient settlements


The wider area of the villages of Hamalevri - Pangalochori - Stavromenos and Sfakaki boasts most important archaeological sites. As early as in 1745 the English traveller R. Pococke described the area as being identical with the 'Pantomatrion'. In 1918 Efstr. Petroulakis, the curator of the Museum of Rethymno, initiated a first experimental research in the village of Paleokastro. In December of the same year the antiquary Emm. Kaounis discovered a magnificent marble tomb stele dating back to the 5th century B.C. and depicting the relief performance of a young hunter. During the following years, archaeological findings were often haphazardly brought to light in this area.
From 1990 up until today systematic excavations and preservations have been carried out by the Trusteeship of Pre-historical and Classical Antiquities, which have brought to light large complexes of buildings that can be characterised as settlements or workshops. Most of the buildings have been discovered on the hills of Tsikouriana and Kakavella, exactly south of the village of Stavromenos. An exemplary centre of information has been established in the area of Sfakaki, where the visitor can obtain an overall picture of the excavations and findings. All the findings are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno

Ancient tombs

Archaeological Site of Armenoi

Tel: +30 28310 29975
Fax: +30 28310 29975
  The layout of the cemetery seems to have been pre-planned. All the tombs belong to the rock-cut chamber tomb with dromos, with the exception of the unique built tholos tomb no. 200. Unworked stones and pyramidal or slab stelae were erected over the tombs as markers. They were all family tombs, containing multiple burials, either placed directly on the floor or inside larnakes. The grave offerings - pottery, weapons, tools and jewellery - provide us with useful information on art, religion and social organization of the period.
  In 1969, two pupils presented to the Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon two vases found at the site called Prinokephalo, at the community of Armenoi. Investigation of the area prooved the existence of an extensive Late Minoan cemetery. Since then, the site has been systematically excavated, and more than 220 tombs have been brought to light.

  The most important of the tombs of the cemetery are the following:
  Tomb 200. It is the only tholos tomb at the cemetery of Armenoi. The dromos, stepped at the beginning, is 4.55 m. long and 1.32 m. wide and the entrance was blocked by a stone slab. A niche has been carved in the side wall. Inside the circular burial chamber, bronze weapons, pottery, beads and an amulet with a Linear A inscription were found. The tomb is dated to the beginning of the 14th century BC.
  Tomb 159. It is the most impressive chamber tomb of the cemetery. The dromos is 15.50 m. long and its outer section is occupied by 25 steps, starting at ground level. A stone bench runs along the four sides of the rectangular chamber and a pillar stands opposite the entrance. Inside the burial chamber an impressive find was uncovered, the remains of a wooden "coffin". The tomb is dated to 1420/1400-1200 BC.

Late Minoan Cemetery of Armeni

10 km south of the town of Rethymno the famous cemetery of Armeni was discovered, situated near to the village of the same name in a beautiful oak forest, and it dates back to the Late Minoan period (13th / 12th century BC). During the systematic excavation, which was started in 1969, more than 220 tombs were discovered, and excavation has been continued since then with the aim of finding the city belonging to this place. The cemetery consists of burial chambers, which were hewn into the soft natural rock, and which lie from east to west. Long and narrow, hewn corridors lead into the interior of the tombs. Among the tombs discovered up until now only one has been vaulted and built from stone. As well as pottery it contained weapons, beads and a periapt displaying an inscription in Linear A script.
Most of the burial chambers had not been looted and still contained a large number of artefacts such as vessels, statuettes, arms, jewellery, tools etc. They were family graves where a relatively large number of dead were left uncovered on the ground or in earthenware shrines. The rich ornamentation with motifs taken from nature as well as religious icons makes the shrines particularly impressive.
The findings from the cemetery of Armeni can be seen in the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno. The archaeological site is open to visitors.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains images.

  Just before Armeni, a Postpalatial Minoan cemetery was discovered. The excavations continue and, so far, more than 200 rock-cut tombs have been discovered. This implies the existence of a large city nearby which has not yet been discovered. The graves vary widely from simple, small graves to very imposing tombs approached with a sloping path and having benches around the walls. Many kinds of offerings were found in those graves and some of them are displayed in the Rethimnon museum. Some larnakes from these tombs are displayed in the museum of Chania.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Ancient towns


AXOS (Ancient city) KOULOUKONA
The village of Oaxos, one of the most important cities of ancient Crete, was situated in the area of the modern village of Axos, and flourished from Late Minoan and Geometric up until Roman and consecutive times. Archaeological pick-axes have brought to light many parts of the ancient city including the temple of Aphrodite, the prytaneum, tombs and a variety of archaeological relics. The wall of the acropolis, remains of which can still be seen today on the summit of the hill, must have been of particular grandeur. In 1899, the Italian Archaeological School started excavations, which uncovered a variety of findings such as Minoan potsherds, stone vessels, inscriptions and many figurines of a naked female body, which is believed to portray the goddess of Fertility. Furthermore, remains of buildings dating back to the Classical Period were found, on top of which new constructions had been built, mainly Byzantine churches.
During the latter it accommodated the seat of the Episcopate and boasted a large number of churches. At the place of Livada, north east of the village, remains of archaic times have been found, a fact, which indicates the dimensions of ancient Axos. Another detail implying the importance of Axos is the fact that it had various kinds of currency. Approximately 40 different coins have been recognised, most of which display the head of Apollo or of Zeus, the gods, who were worshipped in ancient Oaxos.

This text is cited Oct 2003 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains image.


  The village of Eleftherna is 24km southeast from Rethimnon on a road right at Viran Episkopi (14km) of the Rethimnon - Iraklion highway. Route: Rethimnon - Viran Episkopi - Skouloufia - Eleftherna. Eleftherna is one of the most important ancient locations in Crete and one of the largest sites, occupying a large area across two hills. Inhabited from Minoan times, it reached its peak and flourished during the Greek and Roman through to the Byzantine periods. Remains from all those eras can be seen in the area. Recently archaeologists discovered traces of human sacrifice dating from the late eighth century B.C. In the Archaeological Museum of Rethimnon there is a display of articles from the excavation.

Roman Remains: Several sites from all the eras are currently been excavated by the University of Crete. Greek carved stone cisterns and Roman aqueducts are in the area, as are Byzantine churches of the early Christian period. To find the cisterns walk from Ancient Eleftherna towards the acropolis. After you pass the large Roman tower at the entrance of the acropolis, look for a path on the left side of the acropolis going directly down. After a few metres of descent you are on a path that goes around the acropolis. Take the path backwards and you will see two sets of very large cisterns cut deep into the rock and supported by hewn rock pillars.
Hellenistic Remains: An incredible bridge from the Hellenistic era has survived and is still in a good state of preservation in the valley. It is triangular and is made of large stones. It is still usable and you have to walk over it before you descend to observe it.
First Byzantine Period Church: For the Byzantine church take the path forward, going by the path that brought you down from the acropolis and after a while you will see a gate higher up. Climb through the gate and you will soon see the remainders of a church of the first Byzantine period. A cemetery of the Early Iron Age has also been excavated and has been invaluable in the formation of theories about the burial practices of the era.

This extract is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.

Excavations in the area of Eleftherna were started 16 years ago, in 1985, when the Department of Archaeology and History of Art of the University of Crete started research on the ancient city and subsequently brought it to light, of which philological texts had already given mention.
As early as 1929, H. Payne, the director of the British Archaeological School, had also carried out minor research in the area. Remains were discovered in the wider area of the two contemporary and neighbouring villages of Eleftherna and Ancient Eleftherna, which are situated in the northern foothills of Psiloritis, at a distance of 24 and 29 kilometres respectively from the town of Rethymno. More specifically, the most important findings have been discovered at three places on a hill, which is situated between two converging streams: at the place of Orthi Petra on the west side of the hill (excavation section III), at the place of Pyrgi on the summit of the hill (excavation section II) and at the place of Katsivelos on the north side of the hill (excavation section I). Further important findings have been discovered in the area of Nisi, near the modern village of "Eleftherna", which mainly include remains of a settlement of the Hellenistic Period. At the place of Orthi Petra, Professor N. Stampolidis, archaeologist and leader of the excavating team, brought to light a necropolis dating back to the Geometric and Ancient Period, as well as Hellenistic and Roman buildings and streets, which had been built on top of earlier constructions. At the place of Pyrgi, on the summit of the hill, where the centre of the ancient city is believed to have been, the archaeologist Professor Ath. Kalpaxis has discovered parts of buildings of the Roman and Early Christian Period.
On the east side of the hill, in the area of the modern village of "Ancient Eleftherna", the archaeologist, Professor P. Themelis, discovered a part of the settlement showing all the chronological stages from Pre-historical to Early Christian times. Among others, Hellenistic supporting walls, Roman buildings and baths have been discovered as well as an early Christian basilica with three aisles, boasting a narthex and a superb mosaic displaying geometric and floral motifs.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains images.



Ideon Andron

At a height of 1538 m on the Nida plateau the "Cave of the Shepherd girl" is situated. According to the myth Zeus, the father of the gods, was raised and probably even born here. To be more precise, his mother Rea hid the new born child in this cave in order to protect him from his father Kronos, who was in the habit of swallowing his children because he feared they might deprive him of his power. Hidden in that cave Zeus grew up being fed with the milk of the goat Amalthia, while the 'Kourites" covered the child's crying through banging their copper shields. Being closely connected with the myth the cave of Ideon Andron achieved great fame during ancient times and developed into a centre of worship, which lasted over the centuries from the Minoan up until the Late Roman period.

Research and excavation works, which the Italian archaeologist Federico Halbherr started in 1885, proved that the cave had been used as a sanctuary. From 1983 and henceforth systematic research was continued by the archaeologists Giannis and Efi Sakellarakis.
A large variety of archaeological findings have been brought to light, such as the copper shields with relief performances of the Ideon order, cameos, objects made from ivory and gold jewellery. Equally impressive is the large variety of ceramics, figurines, tools and metal objects.


The Atsipadhes Korakias Peak Sanctuary Project


Minoan palaces

Archaeological Site of Monastiraki

Tel: +30 28310 29975
Fax: +30 28310 29975
  A complex of buildings has been discovered in the village of Monasteraki, which is situated in the valley of Amari, 38 km from Rethymno. It is believed that the settlement was founded in approximately 2000 BC and that it was violently destroyed by either an earthquake or a fire in approximately 1700 BC. This set of buildings includes storehouses, sanctuaries and two archive rooms containing a variety of earthenware stamps, and it is believed to have been a palace. Excavation research was carried out by the German Archaeological Institute during World War II and has been launched again in 1980 by the University of Crete.

This text is cited from the Rethymno Prefecture Tourism Committee WebPage

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