Archanes

 

Epano Archanes (or Apano Archanes, often referred to simply as Archanes) is a town in the province of Temenos with 5,409 inhabitants in 2011, at an altitude of 400 m. It is connected to Heraklion by a road, 16 km long. Archanes is a municipal district of the Municipality of Archanes - Asterousia, which is the historic seat.

In the area of ​​Archanes, the springs of Asomatos, Xeris Karas, Vathipetro and Karnari back on the western remote side of Yukhta are remarkable. The valley and the whole area of ​​Archanes is for the most part a vast vineyard of vines and beds, which produce the famous sultana grapes. The main products of Archanes are raisins - sultanas, wine of excellent quality from various varieties (locals: kotsifali, handkerchief, liatiko, vilana and other newly imported and also excellent quality olive oil. Also, aromatic plants are cultivated: dittany, thyme, thyme. PPC underground wiring was laid.

To the west of Archanes is Mount Yukhtas (Mount Zeus) which from the side of the sea, looks like a human head lying down, that is, it is an anthropomorphic mountain and on the north side of which a Minoan cemetery was found.

 

Historical data
The place name Archanes seems to be a newer type of the ancient city of Acharna, where there was a mosque in honor of the god Archos (or hero), who was honored by the Knossos and Tylisios, according to an inscription found in Argos and dates back to 450 BC. The existence of an ancient city at the site of today's Acharnes is confirmed by excavations carried out in 1957, 1964 and subsequent years. Inside the town was discovered a palace of the Late Minoan Era with bicameral altars and mural decoration (Cretan Chron. ΙΑ΄, 329, ΙΗΔ, 282). Also, in the place of Fourni, an extensive Minoan necropolis was found and in a king's tomb were found valuable gifts, rings, seals and more. All this certifies the existence of a great Minoan city in the area of ​​today's Archanes.

The earliest mention of the name of the settlement is in a contract of 1271: Leonardus Blanco habitator in casali Pano Archani, Albertus de vito habitator in Pano Archanne (A. Lombardo, Docymenti della colonia Veneziana di Creta, Torino, p. 120-162). At that time they consist of individual districts: Arcanes Petrea with 151 inhabitants and Arcanes Abramochori with 361 inhabitants in 1583 (Kastrofylakas, K 101).

The town has beautiful buildings from the era of Ottoman rule, the most beautiful of which was that of Mustafa Nailis Pasha, with fountains and gardens. On the north side of the valley is the gorge Paradisi. The Turks called it Akar Sular Dag (mountain of running waters). Within the same gorge is a spring whose waters were channeled in 1628 by Morosini to Heraklion. The spring was drained today due to drilling in the area.

In the last period of Ottoman rule, the town of Archanes became a target of the Turks, because it was a bastion and camp of the Christians. In 1897 a pan-Cretan assembly was held in Archanes. Bloody battles took place in the area. The battalion of elite Cretans led by Ioannis Dafotis with the help of the inhabitants repulsed the hordes of Turks, saving the town.

Archeological findings
In the area of ​​Archanes there are old temples, such as the Holy Trinity, vaulted at the beginning of the 14th century with interesting frescoes of the Ascension, the Nativity of the Virgin and also the vaulted Agia Paraskevi of the same period. There is also the vaulted church of Asomatos with frescoes of 1315, including the portrait of the owner Michael Patsidiotis with his wife. In the area of ​​the church are preserved the ruins of the settlement, which is mentioned in 1583 with 26 inhabitants.

Four kilometers south of Archanes is the abandoned settlement of Vathipetro. In excavations carried out in 1949 by the Archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos, wine and ceramics production facilities have been found that were part of a Minoan settlement. The wine press in Vathipetro is one of the oldest in the world.