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In the western part of Crete on the peninsula of Gramvousa, there are the towering walls of ancient maritime city of Falassarna. The city with the pre-Greek name, was built at Cape Kastri. From there, it controlled the maritime trade routes in Italy and North Africa from 333 BC to 67 BC.

Ancient Falasarna

Αρχαία Φαλάσαρνα The site of the ancient Falassarna located on the western edge of Cape Gramvousa the west coast of Crete.

In antiquity it was called Korykos and included the rocky headland, where the citadel, with its stunning views of the sea west of Crete.

The cape closes around Koutras, divided into five areas: first area of ​​the citadel, which protects the bay from seaward, the area of ​​the small valley that stretches southeast of the acropolis with access to the sea to the south, the two slopes surrounding the valley and rising to the south and east, where the boundaries of the settlement and where lies the cemetery, and two bays, one to the south, allowing the entrance of the harbor, and one in the north, the which is rocky and inhospitable.

Falasarna was one of the major ports of Crete, the main peak in the 4th and 3rd centuries. BC and the origin of the name given to the bride - local hero Falasarna.

The area inhabited by Falassarna Minoan, as evidenced by shells from the surrounding slopes and embankments of the port until the mid 1st century. BC The earliest stages are still unknown, however from the 4th century. BC The settlement prospered and was able to hold strong fortifications, secluded harbor considerable naval force, mint, several temples, and the elements of a rich city with access to trade routes. The edge of the city is dated to the Hellenistic period, as were the navy road connecting the Ptolemaic Alexandria and the Aegean.

The sources of prosperity might come from the common practice of piracy in the Mediterranean, which brought her into conflict with the Roman political, social and economic network, which then spread. Rome in an effort to reduce piracy centers set up around the island enclaves Roman soldiers who destroyed the city in 69 BC The city never recovered, while a Roman settlement called localized south again Falasarna. Other factors such as rising sea levels, have also likely to decline.

Written epigraphic sources indicate Falasarna appear around 350 BC and ending in mid-fourth century. AD The Skyllax the Karyandefs (mid 3rd century BC.) Is first mentioned Falasarna as follows: "one day trip from Lacedaemon is the tip of Crete, which is the first town, established on the side of the sets Sun called Falasarna. It closed port. " Polybius notes an alliance between Falassarna and Cydonia, allies in 392 BC, Knossos and other Cretan cities against 28 Phaistos and allies, one of which was the traditional enemy of Falassarna, Polirinia.

The result of the alliance was a war with 100-year period, winning Polirinia. The war ended in 186 BC when Appios Claudius ordered the two cities to retire and cease hostilities in other parts of the island. Pliny says that in 176 BC Falasarna force sent 1500 men, along with other 1500 from Knossos to help Perseus of Macedonia against Rome.

Although the archaeological evidence and historical evidence does not raise the foundation before the 6th century. BC, probably to be held since the end of the Geometric period in the union of the scattered settlements of the valley to a settlement that became a considerable naval force. In later years, the city played an important role in maritime trade of western Crete with the construction of a closed port and fortification. Today the port and its facilities on shore, after lifting the coast 6 to 9 m, probably because of the strong 365 AD

During the excavation of the space pirate base is eventually destroyed by the Romans in the 1st century. BC, when it sealed the entrance of the harbor. The city was investigated again in the 19th century. by British tourists, who found the settlement and the closed port. From 1968 made several excavations, and since 1986 the Department of Underwater Antiquities began systematic research to determine the extent of the harbor and the elements that surround it.

Author
B. Niniou-Kindelis, Archaeologist
A. Tsigou, Archaeologist

Ministry of Culture & Tourism