Aptera was an ancient city, now an archaeological site in western Crete, a kilometre inland from the southern shore of Souda Bay. It is mentioned tablets from the 14th-13th centuries BC. With its highly fortunate geographical situation, the city-state was powerful from Minoan through Hellenistictimes, when it gradually declined.

In Greek mythology, here was placed the scene of the legend of the contest between the Sirens and the Muses, when after the victory of the latter, the Sirens lost the feathers of their wings from their shoulders, and having thus become white, cast themselves into the sea, whence the name of the city Aptera (literally meaning 'without wings'), and of the neighbouring islands Leucae (meaning 'white'). It was at one time in alliance with Cnossus, but was afterwards compelled by the Polyrrhenians to side with them against that city. The port of Aptera according to Strabo was Cisamos.

In the third century BCE Aptera was at war with Kydonia, a prominent ancient city on northwestern Crete. In much of the Greek Archaic Period, Aptera was under the control of Kydonia.

It was destroyed by earthquake during the 7th century. By the 12th century, a monastery of St. John Theologos had been built on the site; it continued in operation until 1964.

There are several structures within the square monastery enclosure, including a chapel and a two-story block of monks' cells. The surrounding site is notable for a two-part temple from the 5th century BC, a large three-vaulted Roman cistern, Roman baths, and parts of several Doric temples. An ancient theater and a Roman peristyle villa have also been discovered on the site.

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Unnamed Road, Chaniá, Greece
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Founded: 2000-3000 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Greece

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