Where are we?

Last day of ruins!!

Sunday - We were woken up by the ringing of the church bells - always a nice sound :)  Later on we heard singing which was coming from the church below us. Not choir singing just one guy singing and it didn't sound really good! But it went on for awhile.  We didnt get moving earlier today - our last day of the car rental.  We are going to one last ruin Aptera which is only about 15 mins away.

Before we left the neighbour - Niko came over with a plate of sweets :)  Then I'm wondering what is special about today with bells ringing and neighbours bringing sweets.  I read something about Nov 17 1973 being a special day due to students uprising at Athens Polytechic against the dictatorship by the military since 1967.  This uprising lasted 3 days and was the start of the removal of dictatorship. So everyone is thankful and celebrates their freedom.  But when we were driving around later we didnt see anything special happening here - probably just in Athens.

We drove to Aptera and on my maps.me it showed a hike up to the ruins of 1.5km from the highway. So thought we should do that.  We found a spot to park and also found the path - which was an unused road.  We walk up a ways and then have to turn around and go back because the road is closed off with a locked gate :(  So back in the car and drive up.

End of the road turn back 

our car is in the parking lot on the left side. 
We get to the entrance and pay 1E each and get a map to direct us around.  This ancient city was very large and important back in the day.  It was first established around 400BC and continued to be demolished and rebuilt depending who the rulers were. First we go to the monastery that was built here in the 12th century. Inside the monks residence they have a nice display of the area and what has been done.  Seems the Ancient Theatre was unearthed in 2010. Work was done there for 4 years.  There are roman baths that date back to the 4th-1st century BC!  There is still quite a bit of the buildings remaining, including cisterns.  Hard to believe these buildings are more then 2000 years old!!  No different then the Parthenon in Athens which was build in 438BC.  Compared to the Rome Colosseum which was built in 80 AD.  Anyways all pretty interesting to walk around.

Courtyard of the monastery with monks rooms (AKA cells)  in the back
Inside the chapel that was used until 1964

one of the cisterns

Different ruins of the public baths 

Roman cisterns 

Inside the cisterns - normally dry but with all the rain we have had it's filling up 

The ancient theatre is an interesting area also.  Roads to the theatre have been unearthed which were made of stone back in 400BC.  A portion of the seating area has been uncovered - the researchers say the the top rows were destroyed when olive tree farmers started cultivating the area. Just another rock in the way of the cultivator blades, move it out!  But I'm sure if you dug down 5-6 feet on any of the hilltops in the area you would uncover an ancient village.

This is the road built in the Hellenistic period - 325BC  On the side you can see how deep archeologists dug to find this road going to the theatre
This picture is taken before excavation started on the theatre - these are from the displays inside the monks building 

And once they unearth the seating area

Dwayne waiting for the show to start :) 

Taken from behind the stage 

Some concrete restoration has been done to keep the seating intact

Looking onto the stage area - its said that if you speak on that concrete circle your voice is amplified - we didnt know that at the time we were there so didnt try it

well worn stairs

This would have been from the top of columns that made up the stage
Artists rendition of the theatre with the stage

After the theatre we walk to where there are ruins of a multi room villa.  It was called Peristyle house because the rectangle courtyard was surrounded by columns and the building surrounded the columns.  That way each resident had a doorway out to the courtyard for cover from the sun and still enjoy the outside area.  This was also the idea that was used for the cloister in monasteries.

Columns from the courtyard 

Tile remnants from the roof

columns are held upright by a square wood or metal peg and stacked up

The road coming to the house 

Outlines of the rooms within the villa

This is part of a grind stone and dish used to grind olives for the owners own use

This how they see the house would look like 
After tramping thru the area and trying to figure out from the picture at the front of the excavation of how the house was sitting we continued to walk to the main entrance of the fortress. Oh, and we had it all wrong when I found the above drawing of the house online :)

On the outside of the entrance are many graves. These was the norm back then to put the gravesite outside the main entrance

Interesting colour in this weed :)

The road towards the new town of Aptera

Tombs outside the gate 

Also some graves were craved into the rock 

The main gate

And what it would have looked like 

Fortress built by the Turks in 1866 seen from the monestary 

This is the fortress but unfortunately not open 

Down below the fortress is Intzedin fortress built in 1872 - but not open to the public except for 1 day a year Dec 15th - a celebration day for the Greek Orthodox.  The fortress was used as a prison until 1971. 

Fortified wall around Aptera which was 3480 m long
Once we were done we drove back to Chania to walk around the harbour on a sunny Sunday afternoon and then an early dinner of OCTOPUS!  Something I wouldn't be making at home since there is no way Dwayne would want any!  But he got to enjoy his favourite - pasta :)

Watching the kids feeding the pigeons and goofing around while the parents were inside enjoying their time

YUM!! Grilled potatoes and octopus in wine and tomato sauce with olives :) and Dwayne's pan full of Spaghetti  "Pink Panther" with bacon, mushrooms with red wine sauce 


Looking out onto the harbour from the restaurant 

Harbour looking in 

Walked out to the lighthouse 

This restaurant has renovated one of the ship building warehouses built in the 1400's
And that ends our week of touring around western Crete.  Now back to busing and walking and a slower pace - we've been going full tilt the last week playing tourists LOL!!!  Now I can get back to knitting my socks since blogging wont be done everyday. We'll probably rent a car again in a month and see what is happening for the Christmas season.


  1. So very interesting! LOVE the old ruins! ...and the pictures of the marina are beautiful as well. I would be eating that "pulpo" as well.

    1. Thank you :) Yes the chtapĂłdi was tasty ;)