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Apokoronas is one of the five provinces of Chania
Prefecture, in its Northeastern
part. During the ancient times the word "Apokoronas" is not
at all mentioned. The only thing names that are mentioned are those of
the villages of the province. During the Byzantine Era there is a reference
of the name of the region as a village. As a Province it is referred to
the Venetian Occupation of Crete, however, without knowing the exact limits
of the area at that time. As a toponymy it is mentioned as "Apikonna"
in the Convention between the Byzantine General Vatatzis and the Duke
of Crete Ioustiani in 1236. From time to time there had been other names
like "Bicorna" and "Bicorno", while the traveller
R. Pashley (Travels in Crete, vol.1 page 62) and N. Stavrakakis (statistics
- page 74), believe that there had been an ancient city bearing the name
"Hippokoronion". This very city is related to the nowadays village
Nippos, in Apokoronas Province. Stravon (I, 472) refers to the toponymy:
Hippokoronion is at Adramytinis and Hippokoronion is at Crete. It is also
believed that Apokoronas is the name of a city, located two miles Southwest
from Neo Horio in Apokoronas, over the hill of St. Mamas, where ancient
pieces of marble were preserved or West of Kalyves, where the Fortress
of Apokorona was situated. Cornelious wrote: "Hippokoronion sive
Tanus Hobie Castrum Apricornium". Therefore, Hippokoronion was also
called Tanos, a Cretan City, (the inhabitant was called Tanitis), as it
is depicted on coins. Tanos was near Kydonia.
According to Cornelious, Hippokoronion was located at the position of
the Fortress Bicorna on the coastal hill, east from Kalyves. St.
Xanthoudidis (Cretan Provinces and Cities EBS, C'. page 56), thinks it
is possible that Apokoronas is the successive word of the toponymy Hippokoronion,
based on a chapter of Stef. Byzantine claiming that there is a place in
Crete called Korion, which might be Kourna's Lake and the sanctuary Hippokorion,
from which Hippokoronion came. K. Dounakis (History of Apokoronas Province,
issue 171, page 242), claims there had been an ancient city called Hippokoronas,
situated at the place where the ancient city of Aptera was built later.
It is also believed that the name "Apokoronas" came from the
words from (Apo) and crown (korona), as the Province used to be the particular
colony of the crown of the Byzantine Emperors.
There is evidence proving that human presence has been spotted in Apokoronas
since the Neolithic Period, which is 8-6.000 years Before Christ. Such
a spot is Melidoni, where archaeological remains were found and a place
between the villages of Samonas and Stylos where some houses of the same
era were found. Beyond Aptera, archaeologists revealed post-Minoan tombs,
with many chamber pots and a magnificent arched tomb, whereas the ruins
of a ceramics furnace and other remains of the same era were found in
Stylos. Finally, an arched tomb and other valuable pieces of the same
era were discovered near the village Filaki. It's worth mentioning some
other old cities as well as some of the contemporary ones.
was of the most important cities-states of Western Crete. Its name
came from the King - founder of Aptera or Ptera, because of the Muses
and the Sirens' conflict in which the Sirens' were beaten. Then the
Sirens dropped their wings and became wingless and white, fell into
the deep sea and this is how the island Lefke (Whites) was created
in Souda Bay. From this ancient city founded in the 7th century BC
and inhabited until the Byzantine times, important remains still exist:
The protective wall of the fortress built with great polygonal stones,
a small theatre (the observer can see the concave, the orchestra and
the remains of the seats), the big and impressive arched tanks -one
of them is kept in excellent shape- which were found in three single
pieces. There is also a small temple of the early 1st century BC,
probably dedicated to the Goddess Dimitra. Aptera used to be a nautical
and commercial city, and had its ports in Kissamo (near Kalyves) Minoa
(below the village of Sternes in Akrotiri).
Aptera was an autonomous city
throughout the Greek Period (6th - 4th century BC) and had many coins.
It had sent aid to the Spartans during the 2nd Messenian War (668
BC) and was an ally of Knossos during the civil war of the Cretan
Cities in 220 BC. Later, Aptera and thirty more Cretan cities became
an ally of Evmenis, King of Pergamos (197-159 BC). Aptera also existed
during the early Christian centuries. The Monastery of St. Ioannis
the Theologist of Patmos was also built in the same area. South of
the Monastery archaeologists discovered the floor of a Christian temple
of the 7th or 8th century AC. Below the floor there are Christian
tombs. In the Western edge, there is a Turkish fortress that has been
restored, with a panoramic view to Souda Bay. Beneath the ancient
Aptera, there is another Turkish fortress built in 1872 by Reuf Pasha,
called Itzedin. Nowadays these fortresses are ideal places for the
presentation of several cultural events organized by the Municipality
In Kalyves, there is a Venetian Fortress, the Castel Appricorno or
is a scenic village by the sea with a clean sandy beach. At one end
of the village there are ruins of an 11th century basilica church
with a mosaic floor in good condition. In Almyrida during 1896 the
last battle against the Turkish occupation took place. In the bay
of Almyrida there is a small rocky island called "Karga"
which has ruins of an ancient wall built by the Phoenicians. During
the Second World War they were built shelters for the local people.
Today Karga has become an ecological place offering the right environment
for different species of birds.
Traditional village well maintained with scenic narrow streets, rocky
coastline and sea caves of outstanding beauty and interest. (There
are some 215 sea caves)
it is a traditional provincial city, the capital of the region of
Apokoronas, with many public services. According to unacknowledged
historical sources, Saracen pirates had initially inhabited Vamos
during the 8th century AC. Vamos had been the capital of the Sfakia
region during the second half of the 19th century. Southeast of Vamos,
at a place called Karydi, there is St. George's Monastery where the
Basilica is preserved and there are still remains of the cells and
of the olive-mill of the Monastery, famous for its wonderful domes.
it is a traditional village that took its name from the noble Byzantine
family of Gavalades. The family took possession of the village when
Crete was distributed to the 12 noblemen of Byzantine in 1182. In
a distance of 500 meters from the village, many of the well-known
Gavaliana wells are preserved. Gavalohori has a Folklore Museum and
there is also a textile and embroidery Women' s Association.
it is a mountainous village with a homonymous beautiful lake -unique
in Crete- surrounded by mountains. The ancient name of the lake was
Korisia and it is said to be a homonymous city (Korion) with a temple
of Korisia - Athena was located there.
Armeni is a village covered in green, with many planetrees. Its many
rich fountains provide water to a big part of Apokoronas Province.
Armenians serving the army of Nikiforos Fokas (Liberation of Crete
from the Arabs) first inhabited it in 961 A.C.
it is built on the ancient Kaino, Kainos or Kanos. It is believed
that Britomartis Diktynna was born there.
is a picturesque village surrounded by oaks. At the edge of the village
the guest can see the renovated tower of Alithakis, a horrible Turkish
Pasha. Sfakia rebels and their leader Manousakas slaughtered Alithakis
and his tower was burned down. Many traditional beautiful villages
-worth being seen- like Kastelos, Patina and Fylaki are all around
Embrosneros. An impressive Minoan tomb was discovered in Fylaki. The
tomb has a long corridor and a square chamber, it is built with huge
stones and has a pyramidal roof.
is located Northeast of Vamos and it is a village rich in traditional
architecture. Its name is derived from Kefalades, the leaders of the
Byzantine colonists, sent by Al. Komninos in 1182 to Crete. Ombrosgialos
(frontal seaside) is a fantastic rocky beach, with a small traditional
tavern Northeast of Kefalas.
it is a new village on the road to Sfakia. The village has developed
after 1925. It is crossed by the Brysiano river and in the East there
is an ancient bridge dated from the Greek-Roman times. The bridge
is called the Greek Chamber.
is an ancient city, located where Aptera was built later.
itis an ancient city, Southwest of the Almyros Bay.
is an ancient city, near the village Dramia. The city used to be the
port of Lappa (in Argyroupoli, Rethymno).
- KATRI OR KATREFS
An ancient city believed to have been built
in Ellinika, Emprosneros
Apokoronas has a total area of 313 square kilometers. The proportional distribution
is as follows: lowland 98, semi-mountainous 103 and mountainous 112. Apokoronas
population, according to the 2001 census is 12.623 inhabitants. Apokoronas
consists of five Municipalities: Armenoi (3.268 inhabitants), Vamos (2864
inhabitants), Georgioupoli (2421 inhabitants), Kryonerida (2386 inhabitants),
Fre (1100 inhabitant and of the Community of Asi Gonia (582 inhabitants).
The total number of villages in Apokorona Province is 75.
The geographic position of Apokoronas is considered to be of great importance
since it is the "bridge" of Chania to the rest of the Prefectures
of Crete. The South part of Souda ends in Apokorona and there is the Bay
of Almyros or Georgioupoli. There are also two capes: the one of Souda
and the other of Drapanos. The main mountainous part of Apokoronas is
covered by the White Mountain chain. Apokoronas is crossed by the rivers
of Kiliaris (or Pyknos during ancient times), Xydias or Xydes, Vryssanos
or Mpoutakas, Almyros and Delfinas. In Apokoronas, there are many exciting
gorges as well like Diktammos -beginning in Katohori - Keramion and ending
near the village of Stylos - St. Nicola's - Channel gorge between the villages
of Ramni and Maheron and Asi Gonia.
213 caves of great historic and environmental value have been recorded
in Apokoronas up to now.