Ancient Eleftherna, 3500-year-old Dorian ruins
If you like walking and getting into the feeling of the past without all the other tourists around you, you should visit ancient Eleftherna, here you will find remains from the Dorian and later Roman times scattered all over the area. In 2016 an Eleftherna Museum opened. Truly worth visiting
In the village of Archea (ancient) Eleftherna and directly opposite a fountain, there is a road, which leads to a parking place by a Taverna perched on the edge of the archaeological site.
From here a track leads to the spectacularly sited acropolis of Ancient Eleftherna. There are excavations currently going on to both sides of the peak and down in the valleys.
The city that stood here in ancient times was one of the most important of the eighth and seventh century BC Dorian Crete. In the surrounding valleys, you also find remains from Elefterna and later Roman times.
Here you also find one of the oldest churches in Crete; Sotiras Christos in Ancient Eleftherna.
Facts about Ancient Eleftherna
The village of Ancient Eleftherna is found in the north of the island of Crete, about 30 kilometers from the town of Rethymnon and not far from the Arkadi monastery. There is a village “Eleftherna” and then the village of Ancient Eleftherna, they are a few kilometers apart. After Eleftherna village you have to drive a bit further to the junction in the village where there is another sign that indicates the sights and shows you the direction.to.
When you reach Ancient Eleftherna and find the entrance to the ruins, you will see a paved path leading to the ruins of a Roman tower, Here you should first turn left towards the cisterns (places where water was stored) and the acropolis. When the path ends and you turn left you will see the underground cisterns: large water storage chopped out of the rocks. It is very deep and large and you can climb down to have a look inside. There is no water today. Turn right at the path and after some time you will see a bridge from the Hellenistic period. You go towards the remains of an ancient Hellenistic city and a Byzantine church with a cemetery. Follow the sign that refers to the church.
Sotiras Christos church dates from the 10th century AD and on the inside on the top of the dome of the church is a beautifully preserved fresco of Jesus. The church has a cross shape, and it stands on the site of a basilica from the 6th century BC. It is believed that the older church was the seat of the bishop of Eleftherna. When building the Byzantine church Sotiras Christos materials were used from the older basilica.