Armeni, Roman Wells and Graves, Aptera, Polyrinia, Crete 1998

The second week we rented a car, which gave us a lot more freedom to travel farther afield. We visited a Minoan necropolis at Armeni near Rethymnon on the way back from Phestos. Another trip took us to Kokkino Horio, on the coast not far from Neo Horio, to see Roman-build wells, a Roman cemetery, a modern Cretan glassworks where the glass from old bottles was blown into lovely vases, decanters and glasses, and Aptera with its Minoan, Roman and Turkish ruins. Another day we drove west from Chania to Kastelli (the port for Polyrinia), then inland to Sirikari where I dropped the fellows who hiked to Polyrinia, which was an important Minoan city.

Minoan graves in the Armeni necropolis The Minoan necropolis at Armeni, south of Rethymnon.The graves are cut into the rock.

Minoan graves in the necropolis near Armeni, south of Rethymnon. The graves were not the only thing to see. The whole area was covered in wild flowers including tiny iris and lovely pink orchids (Orchis italica).

Minoan graves in the Armeni necropolis
Roman grave
A grave in a Roman cemetery near Kokkino Horio, north of Vamos, 10 or 15 km east of Neo Horio.

Roman wells near Vamos. There were at least a dozen wells scattered around a small field at the foot of a hill; some had been covered with concrete and were still in use. Others, like these, had their original stone roofs.

Roman wells
Roman well

Another of the Roman wells. All the wells seemed to have water in them.
The Romans conquered Crete in 67 BC.

About 5 km due north of Neo Horio lie the ruins of Aptera. In Minoan times it was one of the largest cities of Crete. High above the entrance to Souda Bay, it was an ideal trading location. After the Minoans, the city was inhabited by Dorians. These huge cisterns were built by the Romans.
Aptera ruins - vaults
Aptera ruins - gate At Aptera, there are ruins of a Greek temple, Roman buildings including a theatre, and a Byzantine monastery. Unfortunately when we were there the fence around the Roman ruins was locked so we could not get close to them.
More of the ruins at Aptera. In the distance you can see the Acrotiri peninsula across Souda Bay.
Aptera ruins - walls
Aptera fort from Kalives The Turkish fortress at Aptera, high above the entrance to Souda Bay.
The Turkish fortress from the Roman ruins. In the background is the entrance to Souda Bay. Aptera fort and Souda Bay
Aptera Turkish fort The Turkish fortress at Aptera
The gateway into the Turkish fortress at Aptera
Aptera Turkish fort - gate
Aptera Turkis fort - walls The massive walls of the Turkish fortress at Aptera
Inside the fortress at Aptera, looking down on Souda Bay and the Akrotiri peninsula, north of Chania. Aptera Turkish fort - inside
Polyrinia - mill ruiins Ruins of an old mill in Polyrinia, about 5 km south of Kastelli. Polyrinia was a Minoan city. I walked around for hours looking for the Minoan ruins. I found a Greek chapel and lots of beautiful wildflowers but no ruins. But I did find Bill and the boys who had hiked from Sirikari.

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November 19, 2013
©copyright 1998, 2004 Vicki Sherwood

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