Argiroupolis, 27km from Rethimnon on the exit at 21km of the old road from Rethimnon to Chania, is located on a hill with an enjoyable view of the valley below. Its past is evident everywhere in the buildings of the town. The village has natural springs and lush vegetation which makes for a very pleasant stroll through its streets.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains image.
In the place that in the present days stands Argiroupolis was the ancient city of Lapa. As myths say, king Agamemnon, the hero of the Trojan war, created Lapa. Lapa was one of the most important cities of western Crete during Roman times. It controlled the area around it from the north to the south coast. It had two harbours, one on the north coast of Crete and another on the south. It is said that its harbour was Finix on the south coast of Crete in present-day Loutro. In the Greek wars they were allies of Knossos but when Knossos destroyed Lyttos the people of Lapa accepted the Lyttoans in their city. Lapa was also important during Byzantine times till it was destroyed by the Arabs in 828 A.D.
Today' s Argyroupolis is built on the ruins of the ancient city Lappa,
for the creation of which there are many versions the most dominant of which is
the one that supports that Lappa was founded by Lappas of Tarra (Tarra was a city
at the south coasts of western Crete, at the position of Agia Roumeli), and later
took part at the campaign of Greeks against Troy.
In 1050 B.C. it was conquered by the Doreans and then developed into a separate country, which included the areas of Rethymno and Sfakia and part of the areas of Agios Vasileios and Apokoronas, and had two harbors: Hydramia at the northern and Phoinikas at the southern coasts of Crete. In 333 B.C. it took part at the campaign of Alexander the Great against Persians.
During the war between Knossos and Lyttos (221-220 B.C.), that resulted in the destruction of the latter, Lappa allied at first with Knossos and then with Littos and after the destruction accepted the refugees Lytteans.
Lappa remained independent until 67 B.C., when it was conquered by the Roman General Cointus Caecilius Metelus, known as the Cretan, after two years of siege. Later, in 31 BC, during the conflict between Marcus Antonius with Octabianus, Lappa allied with Octabianus, who, after becoming an emperor, rebuilt the city, which went through a new era of glory and he gave Lappa special privileges, like the right to have its own currency. During this period many buildings and an aqueduct with 600 cubic meters capacity were made. Today the remains of these buildings still exist.
During the post-christian period, Christianity was spread and the persecutions started. While Gaius Messius Cuintus Traianus Decius was an emperor at Rome, in 250 A.D., the five virgins from Lappa, Maria, Martha, Thecla, Mariamni and Enatha, were executed.
In 350 AD a diocese, that belonged to the Church of Rome, was founded in Lappa by the Apostle Titus, while in 600 AD the Church of Crete was subdued to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Bishops of Lappa took part in many Ecumenical Synods.
Lappa remained a city until the end of the first Byzantine period, in 823 A.D., when the Sarakins conquered Crete and totally destroyed it.
In 980 A.D. the diocese was refounded at the village Episkopi (=diocese), the capital of today's Municipality of Lappeans.
In 961 A.D., after the recovery of Crete by Nikiforos Fokas, Lappa was given as a feud to the Hortatsis family until 1182, when it was, most likely, given to the Byzantine family of Argyrostefanitis or Argyropoulos.
In 1211 Lappa entered the period of Venetocracy with the rest of Crete and was inhabited by feudal lords, whose characteristics were the emblems and coats of arms at the top of the gates. During this period the dominant name is Polis instead of Lappa. At that period mineral deposits of silver were discovered at the area, to which the name Argyroupolis might be attributed. Others attribute the name Argyroupolis to the name of the Argyropoulos family.
In 1299 the Venetians gave the city to Alexios Callergis, with the homonymous peace treaty.
The most important events from the modern history of Crete, that took place at the area of Argyroupolis are the following:
- In 1867 the General assembly of the Cretans was transformed here.
- During September 1867, the leaders of the Cretan Revolution met here and decided the continuation of the Revolution.
- At the 3rd of February 1878 the union of Crete with the rest of Greece was voted in Argyroupolis.
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