“Olous” was considered one of the most important towns of Crete. Olous, the history of which is discovered by different inscriptions, flourished, specially, during the minoan era [3000 – 900 D.C.). The ruins of the ancient town are still visible today at the channel of “Poros”! Pausanias, an ancient writer, reports that in his time, the 2na century A.D., Olous was among the cities which were odorating the statue of Vritomartis, one of the Dedalos works.
The inscriptions found, replace the silence of the scriptures regarding this ancient town. In one of these inscriptions (probably the 3rd cent. A.D.], is mentioned the treaty of friendship with the LATO neighbourhood, though another one reports the agreement of 134 B.C. between Olous, Lato and Knossos and by which Knossos was recognised as the unique umpire for any difference between them.
In 1937, the french archeologist. H. Van Effenterre found upon the arch, of the early Christian basilica of Olous, a piece of inscription containing the end of the conventional alliance between Olous and Rhodes. In 1960, the professor A. Orlandos found, in one of his excavations, the completing piece to this inscription, which is now shown in the museum of Ag. Nikolaos. This inscription was written in a common dorian dialect.
The convention, (as mentioned above), was humiliating for the inhabitants of Olous, because they were undertaking a lot of obligations for Rhodes. Also the convention between Rhodes and lerapitna is approximately of the same kind and the same era [200 D.C.). By these conventions, Rhodes wanted to assure the control of eastern Crete so, to close the road to smugglers, which were suported by Philip E’ of Makedonia. Later on, after the Dorians conquered Crete, the town existing of 30.000 inhabitants, relieved their supply of water by sources which are siill there today.
In Olous, they were honoured talleos Zeus, Mars [Aris] and Artemis Vritomartis. Olous, also, as a self-govering town and center of exportation to the east and to Ionian Ports, had its own currency. The historian Svoronos tells of 1 ] types of decimals which represented either Artemis, Zeus beholding the eagle, the dolphin or the star with 8 points and the word olondion. One other known town, during the same period, was Naxos.
Some ruins, and specially some tanks, are found today at the top of the mountain Oxa, which is taken from the word Naxos. It is said that the town was built by Naxos, son of Akakallidas, doughter of Minos and that its colonies reached to the island of Cyclades, which has the same name today. Now, regarding the destruction of Olous, the reasons and the period of destruction are not known. The different researches show that the town was existing during the Greek, Roman and I5′ Byzantine period (824 A.D.).
The 2nd Byzantine period was destructive for, almost, all the towns of Crete. From 824 to 901 the inner problems of the Byzantine state and rhe opposition of the rebel, genera Thomas, to the emperor Michael B1, gave the opportunity to Sarrasis, [Arabs) lo occupy Sicilli and Crete. Gortys was destroyed, and the new capital “Handax” (Heraklion) was built. Handax became the center of the sarassins attacks.
The Christians of Crete were persecuted without mercy and the island, for one and a half century, suffered from the sarassin ‘s ferocity, to which Nikiforos Fokas put to an end. Today, at the location “Nikiforos Fokas”, opposite the island Kolokitha, are still visible, the ruins of the Byzantine church, built in honour of N. Fokas, before his journey to Egypt. Olous, didn’t escape from the sarassins destruction because it was near to the sea and so, therefore, an attractive target to the arabic smugglers.
The Arabs dominated Crete from 824 till 961. During the Venetian occupation (124O-121OJ the channel was seperated. The salt-works begun to function and the first fortress of Spinalonga was built. By the Turkish occupation, the village was destroyed , and almost desert in 1898. The English , the French and the Russians put Turkish domination to an end. After this time. the village was repossessed by its inhabitants. The French again separated the channel , and as a result in 1913 , Crete united with Greece.