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Polyrrhenia (modern Greek: Πολυρρηνία, Polyrrinia) is a village and an archaeological site in the Chania regional unit of Crete. It is some 7 km inland from Kissamos. It was an important Archaic Period settlement co-temporaneous with Lato and Prinias.[1]

Polyrrhenia was an important hilltop town, whose territory occupied the whole western extremity of Crete. According to Strabo, it was founded by Achaeans and Lacedaemonians. It was 30 stades from the sea and 60 stades from Falasarna, and it had a temple of Dictynna.[2]

The city was an important center in Hellenistic times. During the Lyttian War in 220 BC the Polyrrhenians allied with the Macedonians and the Achaean League. In a successful campaign they prevented their rival cities Cnossus and Gortys from dominating the entire island and brought a large part over to the Macedonian coalition.

Polyrrhenia continued to flourish in the Roman period, when the center shifted to its erstwhile port, Kissamos, and in this urbanistic configuration lasted into Byzantine times. A small town now occupies the site, where rock-cut tombs, ruins and an acropolis remain. A Roman aqueduct built in the age of Hadrian improved water supplies. Systematic archaeological excavations have been conducted at the site since 1986.


  1. ^ C. Michael Hogan, "Lato Fieldnotes", The Modern Antiquarian, Jan 10, 2008
  2. ^  Smith, William, ed. (1857). "Polyrrhenia". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. 2. London: John Murray. p. 646.

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Coordinates: 35°27′18″N 23°39′07″E / 35.455°N 23.652°E / 35.455; 23.652