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About Aptera, Crete

Aptera (Ἄπτερα or Ἀπτερία; more anciently, Ἄptaϝra) also called Apteron was an ancient city, now an archaeological site in western Crete, a kilometre inland from the southern shore of Souda Bay, about 13 km east of Chania in the municipality of Akrotiri. It is mentioned (A-pa-ta-wa) in Linear B tablets from the 14th-13th centuries BC. With its highly fortunate geographical situation, the city-state was powerful from Minoan through Hellenistic times, when it gradually declined. In Greek mythology, here was placed the scene of the legend of the contest between the Sirens and the Muses, when after the victory of the latter, the Sirens lost the feathers of their wings from their shoulders, and having thus become white, cast themselves into the sea, whence the name of the city Aptera (literally meaning "without wings"), and of the neighbouring islands Leucae (meaning "white"). It was at one time in alliance with Cnossus, but was afterwards compelled by the Polyrrhenians to side with them against that city. The port of Aptera according to Strabo was Cisamos. 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. It was destroyed by earthquake during the 7th century. 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.


Overview of Aptera

Welcome to the page of Aptera. This is a place of interest in the city of Crete in Greece. Aptera is often skipped on the visit, owing to the plethora of other prime attractions of Crete.

Home to bountiful attractions like Samaria Gorge, Palace Of Knosos, Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Hania and Aquaworld Aquarium, there are many things to do in Crete that you can explore on your visit.

A fun-filled day in the city is possible with these exciting Crete tours that you can book for your visit.

More about Crete

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Address: Chania 732 00, Greece

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Timings: 08:30 am - 03:00 pm Details

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Book Aptera Tickets And Tours

Knossos and Heraklion Day Tour from Rethimno
View Deal Knossos and Heraklion Day Tour from Rethimno 1 Reviews | Duration: 9 hours From USD 22.66/person

Discover the ancient Palace of Knossos and city of Heraklion while on this 9-hour full-day tour. Accompanied by a professional guide, learn about the temple and Minoan palace of Knosses. Enjoy free time in Heraklion to explore the streets and tour the local museum before returning to your Rethimno accommodations.

Adventure Tour and Private Speedboat to Spinalonga Island - 4x4 Excursion with Land Rover
View Deal Adventure Tour and Private Speedboat to Spinalonga... New on TripHobo Duration: 4 hours From USD 83.67/person

You want them all ? Here it is: An adventure with the Land Rover and a private speed boat to Spinalonga Island to explore it.

Very nice combo with Safari and private boat to the hotspot of the region, Explore the mountains and valleys, passing the small villages in the mountains.  learn how olive oil is made at our stop at an olive oil factory with a free guided tour. Coming back through the mountains we will have some amazing views over the Gulf of Mirabello and the historical island of Spinalonga. At the village of Plaka, fast private speedboats are waiting for you to transfer you to Spinalonga. (Entrance fee to the island not included, has to be payed on the island)

Inclusive: Land Rover Discovery with air condition, experienced driver, refreshments/water, speedboat transfer

4x4 Preveli and Kourtaliotiko Gorge Safari In Southern Crete
View Deal 4x4 Preveli and Kourtaliotiko Gorge Safari In Sout... New on TripHobo Duration: 7 hours From USD 80.76/person

We all meet at Missiria in Rethymno city where after our safety information & guidance we get in the jeeps and the adventure begins. Get ready to visit old villages, South Crete, Preveli Palm Beach and swim in the crystal waters of Libyan sea.

Share your experience - Rate Aptera, Crete

  • Gorgeous ruins that you can walk up and into. Unlike the more known Knossos, very little here has been reconstructed, giving it a much more authentic feel... you aren't left wondering what is "real" or not! Not to mention that it has one of the best views in Crete! A must!

  • Virtually untouched, unlike some of the other archaeological ruins in Crete. You can really immerse yourself, especially if you don't mind wading through shoulder- high weeds. The baths and cisterns are especially interesting.

  • Wonderful setting overlooking Souda Bay and with the White Mountains to the south. Impressive cisterns and beautifully restored

  • Better than Knossos and the entrance fee is only 2 EUR!

  • The most interesting historic place we went to (we did all the big ones in Chania, Rethimno, Agios Nikalaos and Heraklion). Really good value for money and helpful staff at the office too. Side note: don't miss Rethimno.

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