The ancient Eliros – One of the most important urban centers of southwestern Crete

Eliros was an ancient city in southwestern Crete, built on the hill of Kefala, near the present-day village of Rodovani.

During the Doric and Roman Period (8th century BC – 4th century AD), Eliros was one of the most important urban centers of southwestern Crete, with a population of about 16,000 inhabitants. Ruins are conserved atop the hill Kefala with the panoramic views to the South Cretan sea. The town was served by two harbours: Current Sougia and Lissos. The exact location of the town was verified by an inscription with the phrase “Glory to the people of Eliros” .

Elirians worshiped the ancient god of music Apollo, the nymph Acacallis (Akakalida) and their twin sons Filandros and Filakidis.

Elyros was an industrial and commercial center of Crete. It minted its own currency and was famous for producing weaponry.

The most famous Roman finding was the Roman “Statue of the Philosopher” that is exhibited today at the Archaeological Museum of Chania. The statue was found on the site of an early Christian basilica, the floor of which is preserved.

Around the archaeological site of Elyros there are several traces of buildings, a Roman aqueduct, a theater, and a turkish defensive fort (koules) while around the town, extends its cemetery.