Lissos is an ancient city, built in a small valley between ancient Syia (today's Sougia) and Paleochora, on the south coast of the Prefecture of Chania.
Lissos, was a port of the Doric city of Elyros, located near the present village of Rodovani.
Both Elyros and its two ports, Sougia and Lissos, flourished in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods until the 9th century when they were destroyed by the Saracen Arabs, who arrived in large numbers from Spain.
Lissos in antiquity was known for its famous Asclepieion , where patients were treated not only from all over Crete but even beyond the Greek territory thanks to the thermal waters of the area. These thermal waters still spring.
The Asclepieion was destroyed by a great earthquake, but its mosaic floor depicting animals and geometric shapes is preserved.
Famous statues of Asclepius, the Goddess of Health and Pluto were found in Lissos, which are now on display at the Archaeological Museum of Chania, as well as the other 20 statues found here.
In no other city in Crete were so many statues found, except Gortyna, the capital of Crete during Roman rule.
This, together with the fact that it had its own gold coin , shows how developed the city was. The coin of Lissos represented on one side the head of the goddess Artemis and on the other a dolphin.
A walk in the valley of Lissos will impress you, as the area is scattered with ancient ruins, such as capitals, building foundations and pieces of marble.
You will also see the Roman cemetery with the vaulted tombs on the west slope (they look like small houses).
Recently an excavation was carried out and brought to light a large part of the of the ancient city’s Odeum .
In the first phase of the investigation, 14 rows of seats (edolia), part of the stage (skene) and two side chambers with a vaulted ceiling came to light.
With a first estimate, its construction is determined in the early Roman times (1st century AD).
From the Byzantine years , two temples are preserved, both built on the ruins of early Christian temples.
The first church, the church of Agios Kirikos , is located near the point of the Odeion (Odeum) and the Asclepieion, on the west side of the torrent. It celebrates on July 15. From the previous night, the pilgrims arrive either by footpath or by boat from Sougia, stay here, watch the service and have fun at the party that is set up.
Agios Kirikos was killed at the age of just 3 years old with his mother Saint Juliet, by the ruler of the city of Tarsus in Asia Minor at the time of the great persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Diocletian.
The second church, the church of Panagia is located on the left side of the beach.
It is obvious that during its construction materials of ancient buildings of Lissos were used.
Access to ancient Lissos is either from the E4 path from Paleochora or through the gorge of Lissos, which starts from Sougia, or by boat from Sougia that leaves you in beautiful beach of Agios Kirikos, but also via a dirt road from Prodromi.
Lissos has its own unorganized beach with thick pebbles to enjoy a cool swim.