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Ancient Lissos

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Ancient Lissos (Lisos) served as the seaport for Elyros and was situated in a small valley between ancient Syia (present-day Sougia) and Paleochora. The town thrived from the Hellenistic period until the 9th century when it was destroyed by the Saracens. Numerous statues and coins from Lissos have been discovered, indicating its status as one of the most powerful towns in Crete.

Lissos was renowned for its Asclepion, where patients from across the island came to be healed by the thermal baths. The mosaic floors of the temple of Asclepius, adorned with animal and geometric shapes, can still be seen despite being destroyed by an earthquake. Inscriptions of laws and resolutions are also visible on the walls. The most significant statues, including those of the Goddess of Health (Hygeia), Asclepius, and Pluto, can be found at the Archaeological Museum of Chania. Numerous marble statues of children were also discovered.

Exploring the valley of Lissos is an impressive experience, as the area is scattered with ancient ruins such as pillars, building bases, and marble fragments. The Roman necropolis with vaulted tombs, the ruins of the Roman theater (odeon), and the baths near the spring used in Asklepion therapies can be seen. Additionally, the ancient pier, raised after the 365 AD earthquake, and a building called Customs above the beach are also present.

Close to the ancient port and the pebble beach of Lissos, the church of Panagia is located, built on the site of an early Christian church (4th-5th century AD) with architectural parts embedded in its walls. Near the odeon is the church of Saint Kirikos, which celebrates on July 15. Dozens of pilgrims arrive at Lissos and stay overnight to participate in the feast. A few meters to the north is another church of Panagia. Lissos can be accessed via the E4 path from Paleochora, through the gorge of Lissos which starts from Sougia, by boat from Sougia or Paleochora that drops you off at the beautiful beach of Agios Kirkos, or through a dirt road from Prodromi.

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