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Lappa streetThe Village of Lappa

by / Juhani

Updated 13.03.2014

Lappa is a small ancient village 20 kilometres southwest from Rethymno, nowadays better known by the name of Argiroupoli. As a matter of fact the upper and lower village were not known as Argiroupoli until in 1822.

The history of Lappa goes as far as the Cretan urban states era and it even had a right to its own money. During the first times, Lappa: in those days it was known as Lappa or Lambi, was mentioned in 1400BC when, according to legend, emigrants came to Lappa. If this legend is true it goes to the end of the Minoan era. Greek history refers to Lappa many times.

In the middle part of the village there are some restored places and especially the fine relics of the mosaic floors are worth seeing. The Romans almost destroyed Lappa, but Emperor Octavian Augustus built it again and gave back the freedom for the local residents. His opponent, Metellus, attacked Lappa and killed the ruling people and destroyed the buildings in 68BC. Lappa is mentioned again in 31BC when there was a battle between Marcus Antonius and Octavian Augustus. Marcus Antonius won and built magnificent buildings to the village of Lappa.

Because of the springs of Argiroupoli, located down in the slope, Lappa was also known as a spa. Lappa made trade with Foinix, close to present Loutro on the south coast, and Ydramia, now Dramia.

Between the upper and lower village there is a stony path and it takes about half an hour to walk from the centre of the upper village to the place in the lower village where the taverns are.

In the Byzantine era the first bishop of Crete did duty in Lappa. In 961 bishopric was moved to the village of Episkopi. The Arabs destroyed Lappa in 824.

In the second Byzantine era Lappa was called Poli (town), which meant that it was a significant centre. During the Turkish era it was called Gaidourpoli (donkey town) and Samaropoli (saddle town).

Nowadays the upper village of Argiroupoli is a charming place where the buildings are mostly made of the materials of ancient Lappa and there are many interesting objects and artefacts especially from the Roman and Venetian times.

In the lower village there are tens of springs that yield all together 20 000 cubic metres of water in a year and because of that there has been many mills. Nowadays a part of the spring water is transferred to Rethymno.

In the lower part of the Argiroupoli slope there is a small chapel and the water flows over its floor.

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