Ancient Lappa

Ancient Lappa is an archaeological site in the prefecture of Rethymno, built near Argyroupoli, 27 kilometers southwest of the city of Rethymno. In scattered spots, parts of the ancient city were revealed dating from the Geometric to the Roman era.

One of the most important Cretan cities, which according to tradition was founded by Agamemnon, Ancient Lappa in the 2nd century BC allied with Lyttos and other cities against Knossos. Many Lyttians found refuge here, after the complete destruction of the city of Lyttos by Knossians. Later, Ancient Lappa formed an alliance with Teo of Ionia (193 BC) and also with Pergamus (183 BC). Although destroyed by Metellus in 68 BC, in 31 BC a new, even more glorious, city was rebuilt. The city was flourishing during the Late Roman period (2nd-4th century). This prosperity is represented by the existence of thermae, coin minting, fragments of sculptures, statues, bone objects, mosaics, ceramics and rich and impressive architectural buildings, spanning over the entire surface of the hill from the river Moussela to river Petre. The coins bear the images of Apollo, Poseidon, Artemis and Athena, while the Roman coins were featuring Roman emperors.

Ancient Lappa was destroyed by the Saracens, when they conquered Crete, while during the revolutions of the 13th and 14th century, the village was used as a base and shelter for the rebels.

There are Roman baths and basilicas in the area, while mosaics, inscriptions and sculptures of Zeus, Aphrodite and Dionysus were also found.

In recent years, a Roman era cemetery at Pente Parthenes (“Five Virgins”) has also been found, who, according to local myth, lived there and were slaughtered by the Turks and, after that, buried in hewn tomb inside the church. All the excavated remains of a Roman cemetery, including two marble statues and a bronze statuette, are being exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno.

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