Subsequent excavations were begun in 1979 by St. Alexiou and the area is considered to be the ancient town of Apollonia, an important town during the Hellenistic period (350 BC). The “Pritanio” government building- the city parliament and university, a special construction decorated with red and yellow bands of colour and white flooring, the guest house-the hotel of the epoch, towers and fortifications are only some of the many ancient ruins which have been partially retreived lying covered by vegetation. Other findings from this region are: ceramics, copper coins of various citie (Gortina, Axos, Arkadia), coins from Apollonia (carrying the head of Appollo and a palm branch), urns, wine vessels and olive cultivation tools from previous times. The area is considered to be the origin of semi-precious stones used to make objects which today embellish the Heraklion Museum. The town of Apollonia was definitively destroyed in 171 BC after the fierce attack by their ally of other times, the city of Kidonia.
The name Agia Pelagia has been derived from a convent 1 kilometre west of the bay.
Agia Pelagia Today
It is wonderfully quiet in comparison to other seaside resorts that are located directly by the main national road.
Actually, Agia Pelagia is a collection of small villages and beaches, of which the main beach is most to the east, with a small ‘boulevard,’ decorated with restaurants, cocktail bars and a supermarket. Agia Pelagia has a friendly atmosphere, with a beautiful bay with fisher boats in the water and green rocks rising from the sea. It is a very green place with palm trees and flowers. West of the main beach there are three other, quieter beaches with less facilities. One of the favourite beaches is the one in the middle, with only a small shop selling beverages and ice cream. This beach is the best because of the beautiful rocks on the left hand and because of its peaceful atmosphere. The first beach west of the centre of Agia Pelagia is called Kladissos.
The second beach you come across if you walk in the eastern direction is called Psaromoura. The third beach is called Mononaftis and looks out on a splendid green rock rising from the sea. In the surroundings of these beaches are a few large hotels, such as the Capsis Beach Hotel, which has a swimming pool and many small maisonettes. A stroll to the rocks near the Capsis Hotel will also lead you to some excavations. If you want to try another quieter beach, you take a turn off the main road just before entering Agia Pelagia. There you will find the shielded bay of Lygaria. Besides tourism, the inhabitants of Agia Pelagia live off agriculture. That is why in between restaurants and hotels space design close to nature, you will find many fields where herbs and vegetables are grown. Onions, cabbage and many other kinds of vegetables grow everywhere.