Kissamos Archaeological Museum
The archaeological Museum of Kissamos was founded in 2005 and is housed in the Venetian – Turkish monument known as Dikitirio (“Headquarters”). Its exhibits provide a longitudinal picture of the region’s history from prehistory to late antiquity, i.e. the early Christian Times. The exhibition is divided into sections based on chronological and local criteria and covers the ground and first floor of the building.
Downstairs, the Minoan findings from the excavations at Nopigia are presented (Geometric period, 9th-8th century BC) and focuses on the historical development of the major cities of western Crete: Polyrinia and Falassarna that flourished in the Hellenistic period (4th-1st century BC). It also presents pottery and ceramic findings from smaller local cities and settlements of the region, Hellenistic inscriptions and sculptures from the area of Kissamos, dating mostly to the Roman period (67 BC – 4th century AD).
The first floor is dedicated to the town of Kissamos and the findings from local excavations. Here one can admire mosaic floors with interesting pictorial representations from urban villas of the Greco-roman Kissamos, amphorae and coins coming from trade, findings from workshops, everyday objects and findings from tombs of Falassarna and Polirinia, a burial of the second half of the 4th century BC, from the Roman and early Christian cemetery.
Parthenos Monastery, Kissamos
The monastery of Parthenos is a modern nunnery dedicated to Life Giving Spring. It was founded in 1905 and was renovated in 1962. Here operated the Urban School of Girls and the first Deaf school in Crete.
One of the most important and powerful independent cities of Western Crete during the Archaic era was Polirinia. It was built amphitheatrically at the top of a hill, six kilometers south of Kissamos, which was in its harbor. At the top of the hill was the T-shaped acropolis, surrounded by cyclopean walls. Polirinians originally inhabited small settlements. When the Achaeans arrived, the Lakonas lived in the fortification, fortified with walls. The name of the city means that its inhabitants had large flocks of sheep. The worship of the gods was famous in the area. In the present location of Chalkokklissa was the temple of Diktyna Artemis. In Polirinia there have been found carved dwellings and remains of an aqueduct, as well as a fortification tower of a Hellenistic fortification that survives in a square of the city. The inhabitants other than Diktynna, worshiped the cretan Zeus and Athena with a helmet and a spear that testifies to their warlike character. When Agamemnon returned from Troy, the tempest brought him to Crete in the Polirinia area where he ascended to offering a sacrifice. But before the end, he informed him that the prisoners had burned the ships and was forced to leave leaving a half-finished sacrifice. Since then, when a hectic sacrifice is made, it is called a Cretan sacrifice.
The ancient Falasarna is located on the west coast of the peninsula’s base Gramvousa and was one of the most important cities of Crete in the Hellenistic Age. The city was famous for its port, the only natural harbor in western Crete built on a lagoon connected with the sea by a narrow channel. Falasarna identified parts of buildings and within walking distance of the port has detected a citadel with strong traces of the walls.