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Koufonisi

Makrigialos

The ancient name of the island was Lefki and it played an important role in the Hellenistic and Roman history of Eastern Crete. Its citizens were mainly fishermen and laver makers. The art of laver processing was known in the area since the prehistoric times as can be seen by the processed laver shells found in Minoan settlements. The laver trade was very lucrative. In 1975 in the same area, N. P. Papadakis excavated a Hellenistic theater with a capacity of 1000 spectators. The orchestra was semicircular and its corridors were vaulted. 

The second most important edifice found was the public bath house dating from the 1st century A.D. In the ancient Lefki settlement that is located close to the theatre, several houses operating as laver processing laboratories were also found. A mansion with numerous rooms, mosaics and colourful walls was also found. 

All findings, such as figurines, stone and metal vases are kept in the Archaeological Museum of Sitia. In the top of a hill, around 2 km from the settlement, the ruins of an ancient temple were also found, along with two remaining pieces from a colossal sitting statue. The water-supply system consisted of three built aqueducts bringing water from a spring on the top of the hill to the centre of the settlement. 

It seems that the whole area was violently destroyed during the 4th cent. A.D., while the theatre was looted and burnt. Since then the island has not been permanently populated again. Only passing sailors left their traces in the small caves of the western beach, where engraved on the rocks one can find Christian Saints' figures dating back to the 17th century. Today, the whole island is a vast archaeological area.

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