The mountainous region of Sfakia, despite the inaccessible nature, was interwoven with the history of civilization since the beginning of the Early Minoan period (3500-2025 BC) and especially cities Anopoli Aradena and Askyfou. The prehistoric inhabitants seem to prefer the coast (Tara, Phoenix, Pikilassos). Traces of habitation have been identified since the end of the Neolithic period and Madares near mitata (pastoral facilities mainly for preparation of delicious cheese and rest of shepherds).
In classical and Hellenistic period settlements of Sfakia removed from the sea and strengthen their defense with strong walls. This is possibly due to the upsurge of piracy and political uncertainty because of the war situation in the region. During the Roman period because of general well appear again coastal cities, which at the end of this period are increasing in number. In antiquity Sfakia was known by the name Dekapolis. Let us see from west to east.
Belongs to the period from the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic period and is located in Cape Tripiti between Sougias and Ag Roumeli. The Pikilassos was an independent city and falls in Elyros. In the city discovered inscriptions testify to the existence of a temple dedicated to Serapis, ellinoaigiptiakou chthonic god. Also discovered tombs carved in the rocks. Ptolemy calls the city Poikilassion. In the 3rd century BC was a member of the 'League of Orio', a federation of mountain towns where members enjoyed independence, but had common internal and foreign policy. This federation is composed of the cities Lissos Syia, Pikilassos, Tarra Hyrtakina and Elyros.
Is located northeast of Pikilassos.
Small and mountainous ancient city, built in the gorge of Samaria, near the springs of the river, to 'Greek'. Developed in antiquity and in accordance with the tradition, the goddess was born Vritomartis from 'vrity' meaning 'sweet and' March which means girl-virgin, called Diktyna and daughter of Zeus. Statue kept in the museum of Chania. 1991 identified outdoor sanctuary with a source very close to the church of St. Nicholas. Still, found bronze and iron arrows and spearheads. This is the oracle of Apollo or the caduceus men. In the same environment he lived and worshiped nymph Akakalis.
The city is located near the exit of the Samaria Gorge on the eastern side of the river. The city was founded classical times, was small but independent and minted its own coins, which, on one side depicts the head of an ibex (ibex) and arrow and another bee. It was a great religious center of the Dorians, with temples of the goddess Vritomartydos, which was the protector of flocks, Apollo and Artemis, the main worship Tarraiou Apollo. The city was famous for its oracle and had established colonies in southern Italy and the Caucasus. Apollo left here with dolphins, Delphi and went to the solid Greece and founded the oracle of Delphi.
It flourished during the Hellenistic, but mainly Roman period. The Romans when they found the Temple of Vritomartidas, protector of herds, the same dedicated to their goddess, the Roumilia. When Christianity prevailed, was named St. Roumilia and later Agia Roumeli, where in one version the name originates in the region. During antiquity and later the Venetian rule, Tarra was a major shipyard. The location was ideal for such a task, and this for two reasons, because there afenos large quantity of raw wood near the coast and also because the river has been a great source of energy for sawmills that existed here. Four thousand years ago, Tara was a major exporter of timber. Also in town were glassmaking workshops.
From here came the Lucilla who flourished in the 2nd BC century, and wrote comments in the Argonautica of Apollonius rhodium, and the guitar player Chrisothemis, son of Karmanoros, who defeated the Pythia. 183 BC appears to be one of the cities that signed the alliance of 30 Cretan cities with Eumenes II of Pergamon. The city was destroyed in 66p.Ch. by an earthquake. The coast of Tara, until 365 AD about, had nothing in common with today's beach, and then dried rose sharply by about 4 m along the coast of Sfakia.
Near the old village of Agia Roumeli, the ruins of an ancient temple of Apollo, on which had been founded early Christian basilica (still preserved walls 3m. Wonderful and mosaics), which later turned into the small church of Panagia on the 1500s.
Aradin or Iradin.
The ruins of ancient Aradin, saved to 'Passopetra', near the present village Aradena which preserves the name. It was after referring autonomous city between 30 Cretan cities that signed the treaty of alliance with Eumenes B Pergamon in 183 BC In Aradin had the same constitution with Ancient Sparta, creating confusion about anymore borrowed. The 'Herds', ie groups of young people of the ancient constitution, resolutions of the state laws, righteous deeds and exploits of eminent men of the learned singing in order to memorize. Continuation of these ancient chants, is undoubtedly the later Sfakian songs. The ancient necropolis in place 'Xenotafi'. Port Aradin was the Phoenix. Believes founded by Phoenician colonists and the name associated with Phoenician word Aruad, which means shelter and namesake town was in Phoenicia. The Aradena until the last centuries of Venetian and Ottoman first prospered because its inhabitants were engaged in shipping and trade.