Perama located about 25km east of Rethymno, with a population of
around 1,650 people, Perama is one of the most important
provincial centres of the prefecture. It is a significant
commercial centre but, in recent years, has developed into a
considerable tourist centre as well. Its port is the Port of
From Perama it is possible to visit the Caves of Melidoni and Gerospilios or Gerodspilios Cave, which is approximately 4km outside of the town. Over thousands of years the caves have developed an incredible display of stalactites and stalagmites which are awesome to see. However, the caves also have great historic and archaeological interest. In ancient times the mythological giant Talos was worshipped there and, in Roman times, the caves were dedicated to the worship of the god Mercury.
In more recent times they have played an important role in the struggles of liberation. For instance, in 1824, hundreds of Cretans from the surrounding villages died in Gerodospilio. They had been using the cave for the past two years to hide from the Turkish invaders. Eventually their place of refuge was discovered and rather than surrender the Turks closed the mouth of the cave and set it alight. Some 340 women and children and 30 armed men suffocated in the fire. A plaque commemorating this horrendous event has been placed inside the cave in what is known as the ‘Hall of the Heroes.
A second place of interest lies in the village of Eleutherna, some 12km south west of Perama. Here can be seen the ruins of the ancient city known as Apollonia where the god Apollo and goddess Diana were worshipped. The ancient city was built on a natural hill and surrounded by fortified walls with only one narrow bridge-like entrance into it which was further protected by a tall tower. Today one can see the remains of these fortified walls as well as the aqueduct which supplied water to the citadel. There are also enormous cisterns with colossal columns which supported the roof and the remains of the bridge. Also, in this area, an ancient statue of a woman's body was found which was of the Daedalic style and dates from the 7th BC. It is now exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. .