The remains of the Hellenistic temple of Aphrodite and Ares in Lenika . ©Ephorate of Antiquities of Lasithi

Temple of Aphrodite and Ares in Lenika

Near the modern settlement of Lenika or Ellinika, between Agios Nikolaos and Elounda, at the foot of Mount Oxa, is the sanctuary of Aphrodite and Ares or "sanctuary (in the area) Dera" or sanctuary "Ares Dera", as mentioned in the inscriptions.

The possession of the sanctuary and its area, on the borders of the ancient city-states of Lato and Olous, was the cause of a long-term dispute between them. The temple, which dates back to the 2nd century B.C., is built by the Latians on the site of an older temple of the geometric period, probably of the "ancient Aphrodision " of the inscriptions. It is almost square and consists of two chambers of equal size, one dedicated to Aphrodite and the other to Ares, with a shared antechamber. After war conflicts and arbitrations by the Knossians, it was assigned to Lato.

Photo Gallery

The ground plan of the temple. ©Ephorate of Antiquities of Lasithi

Bronze figurine of a bull, votive of a devotee, found during the excavations of the temple. ©Ephorate of Antiquities of Lasithi.