Ancient Lappa was a great and powerful Cretan town which was founded by Agamemnon according to the Mycenaean traditions.
Today the village Argyroupoli (27 km southwest of Rethymnon) is built amphitheatrically, almost covering the ancient city and including ancient and Venetian architectural material in many homes throughout the area. The upper and lower village are well preserved and many of the Venetian mansions are still residences. Inside and around the village are excavated parts of the ancient city, Roman remains, Venetian buildings with beautiful doorways and Byzantine churches.
A 400m stroll – ruins of ancient times combined with traditional architecture
Best park your car right at the village entrance at the square in front of the large church Agios Ioannis. 20 m to the north is the old archway, which leads you into the old part of the town. Here starts a 400 m stroll to the remaining of a Venetian noble house with the script Omnia Mundi Fumus et Umbra (everything in the world is smoke and shadow), to old churches and a mosaic floor from a Roman residence. Enjoy the Cretan traditional architecture mixed with elements from ancient times.
The history of ancient Lappa
Ancient Lappa spanned a large part of the region of Rethymnon from the Cretan sea in the north to the Libyan coast. In the 2nd century BC it allied with Lyttos and other cities against Knossos.
During the Roman civil war it sided with Octavian against Antony. Due to the victory of Octavian the city of Lappa gained special privileges and autonomy. This was the most flourishing and powerful period of ancient Lappa. Thus during the Late Roman period (2nd-4th century), the prosperity of the Cretan city is evident through its rich and impressive architectural structures that extend across the surface of the hill between the rivers Mousselas and Petre, and the existence coinage.
- We recommend a visit also the cemetery of ancient Lappa with its limestone tombs (as in Matala) an a huge plane tree. Read more in Ancient Lappa (Argyroupoli): The Church of Holy Five Virgins and the ancient cemetery
The diocese of Lappa is considered among the oldest of Crete
and it was founded by Apostle Titus. The city was destroyed by the Saracens when they conquered Crete. During the revolutions of the 13th and 14th century the village was used as a base and refuge.
More specifically, during the second Byzantine period it belonged to the feud family Ηortatsis. Then, however, during the revolution of Hortatsis against the Venetians it passed into the hands of Alexios Kallergis who had an alliance with the Venetians. Later, during the Ottoman rule, the village was called Gaidouropoli or Samaropoli, while the current name Argyroupoli acquired in 1822 by the revolutionary committee.
The geographical position of the city made it an important location for the revolutions of the 19th century. Here was carried out the General Assembly of the Cretans in 1867 and 1878, which decided the union of Crete with Greece.
At the springs of Argyroupoli
One of the most attractive places in Argyroupoli are its springs, where the river Mouselas originates. Water gushes from a cave located in the chapel of the Agia Dynami. The water which flows into the chapel is said to be miraculous. Lush green and many small waterfalls dominate in the area. These sources once powered mills for grinding grain, which justifies the existence of water mills in the area.
Don’t miss it out to take your lunch or dinner in one of the taverns under the shadow of ancient plane trees. Try the local specialty, which is meat Antikristo, cooked for about 5 to 6 hours on the spit.