The ancient Falassarna

Ancient Falassarna experienced its heyday in the Hellenistic era between about 350 and 67 BC, so it had about 300 particularly good years. At first it was an important port for the navy of Hellenistic rulers, but later it developed into a notorious pirate's nest. That is why the Romans destroyed the city in 67 BC, because they wanted to pacify the Mediterranean.

Traces of settlement have been found as far back as the Minoan period and classical antiquity; Falassarna was probably only completely abandoned after a severe earthquake in 365. Archaeologists began serious excavation work here in 1986 - and the results are impressive. They benefited from the fact that the coast here has risen by about 6.60 m since antiquity - as a result, the port of antiquity is now dry and its quay walls have also been uncovered.

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The core of the settlement was a small lagoon of about 7500 square metres transformed into a harbour. The basin was walled off and connected to the open sea by two channels. Fortified walls with at least three high towers secured this heart of the city. Behind the harbour basin was another smaller expanse of water, where there were probably shipyards where new ships could be built and old ones repaired. The entire city was surrounded by a long, partly even double city wall, 550 m of which are still preserved. On the rocky ridge to the south, archaeologists have discovered traces of a temple. It probably marked the acropolis of Falassarna.

If you feel like delving even deeper into the excavations, you will discover the remains of five small cisterns immediately south of the present-day - mostly unoccupied - keeper's house and, on the coast, about 80 m south of the confluence of the former canal with the sea, a 25-square-metre fish-breeding basin hewn out of the rock. Ancient graves of various forms were located outside the city walls, mainly to the east and south of the keeper's house, as was common until the Middle Ages. A peculiar remnant of ancient stone excavation in the immediate vicinity is a boulder that looks like a huge throne directly on the access road to the excavation entrance. Its function is unknown.


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