The Ancient Ialyssos & Filerimos Hill

In the village of Triada, the remains of a Minoan settlement have been discovered and excavations in the surrounding hills have brought to light Mycenaean cemeteries. Leaving Triada, a pleasant walk through a pine forest leads to Filerimos hill, containing the site of the acropolis of the ancient city of Ialyssos. The area is of special archaeological interest as it has been inhabited since prehistoric times and it was here that the city-state of Ialyssos flourished in the late 5th century BC.

The ancient polis of Ialyssos was one of the three largest on the island and extended geographically around Filerimos hill, the location of the city’s acropolis where today ancient monuments can be seen along with others dating from the periods of Byzantine and Knights of Saint John rule.

A well-preserved Doric fountain dating from the 4th century BC is located on the south side of ancient Ialyssos’s acropolis. A wall in the carved rock sports four waterspouts in the form of a lion’s head, two of which channeled water in to the cistern.

According to tradition, in the 13th century AD a monk arrived in the area from Jerusalem carrying an icon said to have performed miracles, placing it in a small church that he built to house it at the top of the hill. To this day the hill, Filerimos, still bears the monks name.

When the Knights took control of the island they chose to construct a monastery on the same spot opposite whose entrance is the start of the Road of Martyrdom. Crossing the cobbled street, under the cooling shade of the trees, bronze depictions of the Passion of Christ and his ascent to Calvary can be seen on the left and right. During this walk it is not unknown for visitors to come across one of the peacocks and its young who roam the area. At the end of the Road of Martyrdom stands an 18 meters tall cross raised by the Italians to replace an older stone cross 30 meters tall. It is worthwhile taking the time to climb the spiralling iron staircase in the cross’s interior to gaze at the amazing view from its top and marvel at the vivid greens of the forest merging with the shimmering blues of the sea. A further attraction is the church of the Panagia.

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