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In the centre of Crete, where Psiloritis meets Geropotamos, on the inlet of its rich valley, lies Axos, perched on the slopes of a prominent hill.

The modern village has maintained its ancient name. There are two theories on the origins of this name. According to the first, the town got its name from its founder Oaxos, son of Apollo and the nymph Akakkalida. The second theory states that the name refers to the steep landscape, as, according to Stefanos Vyzantios, the word Axos comes from “axous”, which means steep.

Still, in addition to its naturally fortified position, this place has many fertile areas and sources, advantages that led prehistoric men to choose it as their residence long ago, as suggested by the myth of the founding of Axos by Oaxos, son of Akakkalida, daughter of Minos.

The view is unlimited from Axos. On the opposite side, looking north, one can see Tallea Mountains. In the northwest, one’s gaze reaches the northern coast up to Akrotiri in Chania. To the east, we see Anogeia, and to the west the ridge of Mt. Psiloritis. 

In this place, which constitutes the setting of many myths, such as the birth of Zeus in neighbouring Nida, the Idaia Fingers, the Curites as well as the bronze Tallos, Axos was founded and developed. 

The city bordered Tylissos and Raukos to the east and Eleytherna to the west. Its southern boundary was the Ida ridge. Axos had access to the sea thanks to the port of ancient Astali, located on cape Pirovolopetra in Bali and the port of Almirida to the east near the modern settlement of Sisses, which also maintains its ancient name. Within its boundaries there were also two very important holy caves: Tallaios Hermes near the modern village of Melidoni and Idaio Antro dedicated to Dinas of Ida.

Eva Tegou


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