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Falassarna
Category: Beach
Prefecture: Chania
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Falassarna


Falassarna is the westernmost village in Crete, located approximately 20km from Kissamos in the neck of the Gramvoussa peninsula. The name Falassarna is pre-hellenic and is derived from the nymph "Falasarni". Falassarna used to be the port of ancient Polyrinia. The peak of the city of Falassarna was during the Hellenistic period and at the time the city had its own coin. Its port was closed and surrounded by walls and it was connected to the sea with a canal. The port and the canal today are cultivated land due to the fall of the sea-level, the ancient remainings are located 300-400 meters from the sea. The secure position of the port, the impregnable fort and the rich valley of the area indicate that Falassarna was a great naval and commercial center. The remainings saved today are part of the supporting walls of the city as well as part of its Cyclopean walls, defensive towers, foundations of houses and remainings of the temple dedicated to Artemida or Appolona. Present days Falassarna is a quiet resort, with many small hotels, apartments and taverns, close to the wonderful sandy beach. There are also many spots for free camping. Here the visitor can admire the magnificence of the archaic landscape and the blue sky. One of the most beautiful stretched sandy beaches in Crete, "Pahia Ammos" (thick sand), is located south of Falassarna.


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Ancient Falasarna 612 hits

Phalasarna or Falassarna (see also Phalassarna beach) - (Greek: Φαλάσαρνα) is an ancient Greek harbor town on the northwest coast of Crete. The currently visible remains of the city were built around 335 BCE and include several imposing sandstone towers and bastions, with hundreds of meters of fortification walls protecting the town and a closed harbor. 

The harbour is surrounded by quays with mooring stones, and connected to the sea through two artificial channels. There is also a small acropolis above the city, which predates most of the surviving ruins. Most of these structures were revealed by excavations that began in 1986 and are ongoing.Today Phalasarna is an agricultural area and tourist attraction. The valley is filled with olive groves and greenhouses cultivating tomatoes. The seaside has large sandy beaches and crystal clear waters that are popular both with residents of Chania and foreign visitors.

Ancient historyPhalasarna was mentioned by ancient historians and geographers Scylax, Strabo, Polybius, Livy, Pliny, Dionysius Kalliphontis, the anonymous geographer known as Stadiasmus, and Stephanos of Byzantium. Phalasarna was known to be at war with another Cretan city, Cydonia, in the third century BC. (Hogan, 2008)The location of the city was then forgotten, and Phalasarna appears in Venetian records only as a lost city. The site was rediscovered in the 19th century by British explorers Robert Pashley and Captain T. A. B. Spratt. Spratt, of the Royal Navy), noted in 1859 that the former harbour of the deserted site was now 100 yards from the sea and that the ancient sea coast must have risen at least twenty four feet.

Modern excavation has confirmed this judgment. Radiocarbon dating of fossil algae along the ancient sea level mark on the cliffs around Phalasarna estimates the sudden sea level change at some time more than sixteen centuries ago. A probable event was the great earthquake and tsunami of 21 July A.D. 365, which wreaked catastrophic damage on all the coasts of the eastern Mediterranean and was recorded by Ammianus Marcellinus, Theophanes, and Georgios Monachos.But four centuries previously Phalasarna had already been destroyed by the hand of man. The inhabitants were notorious pirates, and when in 68-67 BC the Romans sent forces to eliminate piracy from the eastern Mediterranean they stormed Phalasarna, blocked its harbor with massive masonry, and destroyed the whole city, probably killing its citizens. No ancient sources testify to these events, but evidence of burning and the harbor blockage itself suggest the tentative conclusions of the excavators, Elpida Hadjidaki of the Greek Archaeological Service, and Frank Frost, of the University of California, Santa Barbara.