27 km southwest of Rethymnon.
|Dimension:||A=260 m asl. P=20,000m³/d|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Argyroupoli Springs, Lappei 740 55, Tel: +30-.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Αργυρούπολις (Argyroupoli Springs) are a series of small karst springs, tufa formations, and waterfalls. The springs are the source of the Mouselas or Mesapios river. Located at modern day Argyroupoli, it is also called Lappa Springs because this is the location of Ancient Lappa. In antiquity it was a powerful Cretan city. According to Mycenaean legends, it was founded by the Greek hero Agamemnon. Lappa was inhabited since prehistory, in early Minoan times, then by the Mycenaens, Romans, Venetians, and Saracens. The reason is simple: the springs provided fresh water and were the basis of life and agriculture.
The moden village Argyroupoli is built amphitheatrically, covering the ancient city. Ancient and Venetian architectural remains have become a part of the modern houses, well preserved Venetian mansions excavated parts of the ancient city, Roman remains, and Byzantine churches can be found everywhere. The best way to see the town is a 400 m walk from the Agios Ioannis church through the village. There is a Roman mosaic floor and remains of Venetian villas to see.
The springs are located to the northwest of town, next to the country road Argyroupolis-Asi Gonia. These springs are called Agia Dynamis (Saint Force) as a reference to the holy origin of the force of water. The small church of Agios Ioannis is built in the cave from which the water gushes up. Today the water is used as drinking water for nearby city Rethymno, but some centuries ago it was used to power water mills. The grain mills operated for centuries, but today only one remains. The others were converted into restaurants for the tourists. The channels for the mills are now covered in tufa and are the reason for the vats series of waterfalls.
Nearby are five artificial caves which were carved into the rock for graves. According to legend the Saint Five Virgins, who were prosecuted and executed during the reign of the Roman emperor Decius (~250 AD), are believed to be burried. From the graves Holy Water gushes up, and a small church has been built on top, in memory of the Saint Five Virgins. The place is thus called gorge of Pente Partheni (five virgins).