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Ancient Falassarna

Ancient Falassarna: A Glimpse into Crete's Illustrious Past

The ancient city of Falassarna, located on the northwest coast of the beautiful island of Crete, has long piqued the interest of history buffs and travelers alike. This archeological gem, steeped in a rich tapestry of history, offers a glimpse into the past and takes tourists on a mesmerizing trip through time. This article will look at the history and significance of Ancient Falassarna, as well as the mysteries that make this archeological site so fascinating.

Historical Background and significanse

Ancient Falassarna was founded in the fourth century BC and swiftly became a significant commercial and cultural hub. The city was strategically placed on Crete’s western shore and served as a significant commercial port with other Mediterranean countries. Its location also made it a significant agricultural hub, with large olive groves and vineyards producing wine and olive oil, all of which were highly valued in the ancient world.

It was known as Korikos in ancient times, and the name Falassarna was presumably derived from the local nymph Falasarni. Polirinia, the region’s competitor, managed to turn Falassarna into its harbor after 100 years of conflict (186 BC).

The ruins of one the stone towers that protected the city's harbor
The remains of a stone tower

The ancient city

Ancient Falassarna was a vibrant metropolis with a population of roughly 30,000 people in its prime.

The city was famous for its beautiful harbor, which was guarded by four large stone towers, with only two of them being identified, and traces of powerful walls have been found.

The harbor could accommodate huge ships (like Triremes) and served as an important hub for cargo shipping throughout the Mediterranean.

Nowadays, the port is elevated by nine meters due to an earthquake centuries ago.

The acropolis

Falassarna’s crowning jewel is the acropolis, positioned on a mountaintop and affording spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding area.

This acropolis originally contained significant temples and public structures, leaving foundations and artifacts that provide insight into the city’s religious and civic life.

Archaeologists have indeed discovered parts of structures, including the acropolis overlooking the port at Falassarna, a temple devoted to Demetra, and a chthonic goddess.

Furthermore, a cemetery with 43 ancient tombs has been discovered east of the port.

The hill where the acropolis of the Ancient Falassarna was uncovered overseeing the entirety of the harbor
The Acropolis of the Ancient city of Falassarna

a cultural hub

Apart from its economic significance, Ancient Falassarna was also a cultural and educational center.

The city was recognized for its schools of philosophy and rhetoric, and it was home to a number of important philosophers and poets.

In addition, a carved throne, perhaps dedicated to the deity of the sea, Poseidon, or merely a throne for speakers, has also been discovered within walking distance of the village.

The remains of Ancient Falassarna stand as a witness to the city’s rich history and relevance in the region today.

Post-Minoan Era

Despite its significance, Ancient Falassarna was devastated by a series of disastrous earthquakes in the second century AD.

The city was largely devastated, and the people who lived there fled to other areas of the island.

It is believed that Falassarna was a refuge for pirates. This forced the Romans to destroy the city in 69 BC and seal the port forever.

The town since then could not recover and regain its former glory, thus it was abandoned.

A pirate ranch in the post-Minoan area, where pirates of region used to camp or keep their loot
Pirate ranch near the ancient city of Falassarna
The remains of the temple of Demetra, the goddess of harvest, at the top of the acropolis of the ancient Falassarna
The remnants of the temple of Demetra

Archaeological Excavations

Numerous archaeological excavations have taken place in Falassarna, unearthing pottery, coins, and other items that provide insights into its occupants’ daily lives and culture.

Visitors can learn about these discoveries in local museums, which adds to the historical experience.

There are a couple hundred of these artifacts, and you can observe them at the Archeological Museum of Kissamos and at the Archeological Museum of Chania.

You can find additional information about the museum just by following the links below!

Archeological museum of Chania

Archeological museum of Kissamos

Archeological Museum of Kissamos, A stone-built building

Additional informations for the site

53,2 kms from Chania.

Usually visitors stay in this area up to 45 minutes.

Free Entrance

Summer 08:30-15:30 closed Monday and the Weekend

Winter 09:00 - 15:00 closed Monday and the Weekend

No Caffeteria or W.C.

Unfortunately there are no infrastructures for the handicap.

Phone Number: +30 2822 083308

No Available Wi - Fi.

Photos featuring Ancient Falassarna

nearby attractions

Falassarna Beach: Natural Beauty

Falassarna is well-known for its spectacular natural beauty, in addition to its historical riches. The area has a pristine coastline with crystal-clear waters and golden sandy beaches that are frequently listed as some of the greatest in the world. This one-of-a-kind combination of history and paradise makes it a great destination for people looking for cultural enrichment and leisure. So make sure to bring your beach equipment and combine a day at sea with your visit to the ancient city.

Poseidon's Throne

As said above, this stone Throne was dedicated to the Greek God of the seas, Poseidon. Its use must have been also for a speaker to preach to the people.

Stone throne of Poseidon or a speaker on the road to Ancient Falassarna

pirate ranch

This pirate ranch was use since ancient times from pirates in the region as a stop or a base of operations. It is located a bit further from the ancient city of Falassarna.

A pirate ranch in the post-Minoan area, where pirates of region used to camp or keep their loot

Agios Georgios Chapel (saint george)

This little stone- built chapel is dedicated to Agios Georgios (Saint George) and during his name day people come and celebrate with a feast.

Small Chapel of Agios Georgios (Saint George)xt to Ancient Falassarna Site

WWii shipwreck

This WWII shipwreck “the Forgotten Flotilla” was a prototype, British made, tank carrier which you can explore. We suggest to be cautious because the rocks are sharp nearby. 

The Forgotten Flotilla shipwreck near the shores of ancient Falassarna

How to Get There

There are several ways to get to Ancient Falassarna from Chania:

Falassarna is located 59 kilometers from Chania.

Car: If you prefer to drive, follow the National Road from Chania to Kissamos. Continue on to Platanos and follow the signs to Falassarna after passing through Kastelli.

When you climb the hill above Falassarna, you will be able to see the beautiful long beach of Falassarna. It’s a 3-kilometer downhill trip down a fairly small, curving road, so be cautious, especially during peak season!

Bus: Take the bus from Chania to Falassarna. The journey takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Taxi: Take a taxi from Chania to Falassarna Bay. The journey takes around 51 minutes.
 
Once you arrive at Falassarna, you can reach Ancient Falassarna by walking or driving. The archaeological site is located around 2 km from the popular beach of Falassarna and can be reached via a 2 km dirt road that starts where the paved road ends. The entrance is just past the ‘stone throne of Poseidon’
 

Conclusion

Falassarna is now not only a historical monument, but also a famous tourist attraction for visitors wishing to explore its rich legacy while enjoying the sun. The travel to this historic city is an unforgettable experience that allows you to connect with the timeless landscapes of Crete.
In short, Falassarna is a spot where history’s whispers and nature’s echoes collide, creating a captivating setting for exploration and discovery. This historic jewel invites you to explore its secrets and immerse yourself in a spellbinding voyage back in time, all set against the beautiful seaside beauty of Crete.

ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR AN ENJOYABLE VISIT TO ancient city of falassarna

Plan Your Visit!
Research the opening hours and guided tours available at the ancient site. This will help you make the most of your visit!
Comfortable Footwear!
The site has uneven paths, so it's important to wear comfortable shoes that are suitable for walking. You should also consider this if you wish to hike the nearby cliffs for the views or go to the shipwreck.
Sun Protection & Hydration!
There are no facilities at Ancient Falassarna. Therefore, it would be best to pack water with you so you can stay hydrated and some snacks to replenish your energy. During the summer, don't forget to apply sunscreen often.
Download the free app!
Visitors are given the option to download a free app that allows them to immerse themselves in the ancient world of Falassarna and see how the port was in ancient times.
Respect the Site!
Finally, it's important to respect the site and its history. Do not touch or remove any of the artifacts, and be sure to follow any posted signs or instructions.
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