find us on facebook & twitter:facebook  twitter

wi fi internet at agia pelagia hotel villa bellevue

History of Agia Pelagia

english pages greek pages russian pages french pages german pages

Agia Pelagia is a gorgeous area, with a very important geographic location that has influenced its history throughout the centuries, according to the numerous findings. Its fertile land, the protected harbors and the rich landscape created the perfect base for the establishment of settlements since the antiquity to the region that we now call Agia Pelagia

Apollonia – Agia Pelagia in the past

Most findings date back to 1700 BC and 1300BC, proving that Agia Pelagia was actually populated around 2000BC. The habitants of the ancient town, called Apollonia, had strong bonds, on a cultural and commercial level with Phaistos, Knossos and the Cyclades, however, according to the sources, the town was ruined by fire approximately at 1200BC.

According to Sir Arthur Evans, Agia Pelagia was one of the best preserved harbors of the Minoan Era. Agia Pelagia took advantage of its privileged position in the center of the northern shore, a fact that facilitated its sea communication with other areas of the Aegean Sea.

The most important findings in the region are the Roman Aqueduct, large pots for water, carven tombs and construction materials. One of the first archaeologists who worked in the region was the Italian Antonio Taramelli, who discovered port facilities, water founts and tanks useful for the replenishment of boats.

The most detailed excavations took place in 1979, when it was claimed that Agia Pelagia was the ancient town of Apollonia during the Hellenistic Years; it was a very important town, with its own University, a Prytaneum, fortresses and castles, parts of which were found during the excavation. Along with these aercheologists found ceramics, coins from nearby regions such as Gortys, but also coins from Apollonia itself, with the head of God Apollo on the one side. At the archeological museum of Heraklion visitors can see many of these findings, as well as semiprecious stones found in Agia Pelagia region. 

Apollonia was destroyed in 171BC after the fierce attack from the once upon a time ally – town of Kydonia. The destruction of the town is probably a punishment for the pirate activities of the Apollonians. After the destruction of the town, the Roman Era marked a period of peace and prosperity for the region.

The Roman Era in Apollonia did not leave many findings behind, so we cannot evaluate the development in the region, however the excavations brought to light residential facilities and constructions, coins and aqueducts, which give us the impression of a well organized community. It is said that that Agia Pelagia harbor was used as a naval base during the Roman Times.

A part of the seaside town has sunk in the bay, but some parts of walls are still visible today. Chronologically, the next findings in the region date to the Byzantine Era and the early Christian years, related to Agia Pelagia Monastery and the Cave of Evresi (Finding).

Agia Pelagia in Modern Times

The name Agia Pelagia was probably given later during the Christian times and is associated with Agia Pelagia Monastery, the Saint Protector of the sea. The celebration of Agia Pelagia at the church of Agia Pelagia located 1km west from the beach used to be a holiday in the early years. In the region, there is a small cave, Evresi (finding) which took its name because of the Icon of Agia Pelagia found there.

The worship of the icon has been quite popular in Crete, and during the 19th century pilgrims were arriving to the region to honor the icon and participate in the feasts and celebrations.

In 1650, a large fortress in Agia Pelagia was built by the Ottoman Turks, to reinforce the siege of Handakas (Heraklion), however, there are no findings of the particular fortress.

Agia Pelagia kept being a very important harbor during the Venetian Years, and received numerous attacks by Morosini’s armada. Agia Pelagia was a harbor of significant importance during the Greek revolution, allowing the volunteer fighters for freedom to gather supplies.

Today, Agia Pelagia is a rapidly developing tourist area, with a vast selection of options for your vacation time. You can find hotels, apartments and rooms, taverns and stores, bars and amenities that ensure comfortable and pleasant vacation in the region.