The archaeological site of Aptera, which was the most powerful city of western Crete during Minoan times, is located 15 kms from the city of Chania, Crete, just south of Souda Bay, on a hill above the national road which connects Chania and the city of Rethymnon.
The findings of the archaeological excavations that still coming to light, fill the history puzzle of this ancient city. They give details about the settlement's composition, the city's architecture, the religion and habits of Apterean residents who were keen archers.
Although the earliest mention of the Aptera is found as a-pa-ta-wa on the Linear script B tablets of Knossos, which dated to the 14th-13th century BC, the currently rich findings of the excavations indicate that the hill was inhabited the 8th century BC until the 7th century AD, when abandoned due to a strong earthquake and because of the attacks by the Saracen Arab pirates.
Learn the history of the most important and the most commercial ancient city- state of western Crete, as mentioned in the historical scrapbook issued by the 25th Ephorate of Prehistory and Classical Antiquities.
At the archaeological site, you will be able to admire findings of all periods of inhabitation of this City-State, everything that could not be transferred to the Archaeological Museum of Chania. Indicatively...
Tombs of the 8th, 7th, 4th, 3rd century BC and chiseled chamber tombs of the Roman period of Crete.
Ruins of temples of the 8th century BC, of the 5th century BC and the 1st century BC.
The walls of the ancient city , which is 3.480 meters long, dating back to its acne period, of the 4th century BC.
The theatre belongs to the Roman phase. However, has been found traces of the previous phase of the Hellenistic times.
Ruins of a villa with peristyle yard, of the early years of Roman rule built on the standards of the Hellenistic period.
Unexpectedly high Roman cisterns and parts of public and private baths.
Buildings of the Byzantine period.
Human presence on the hill also continues in the subsequent years.
By the midpoint of the hill, perhaps the city's market, founded the Monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos which was constructed using building materials of the ancient city.
Finally, the fortress shown on a lower hill in the Northeast , belongs in the period of the Turkish occupation in Crete. Its name is "Koules of Aptera" or "Fortress of Sousbasi", and built by the Turks in the context of a broader fortress construction program, to counter the Cretan revolutions.
You can reach the Koules if you follow the left road at the last junction before you arrive at the archaeological site.