Tour the Gortyn Archaeological Site on Crete

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The Greek island of Crete is known for its kings, mythical monsters, castles, and archaeological wonders. The Gortyn Archaeological Site on Crete is a wonderful example of a large Minoan city. Here’s what you should know about the Gortyn Archaeological Site. Here’s more information about this site:

About the Gortyn Archaeological Site

Located 44 km southwest of Heraklion Town on the island of Crete is the archaeological site of Gortyn. Evidence found at this historical site show the area was likely inhabited during the Neolithic period around 7000 BC. Gortyn got its name during the time of the Minoan civilization. At that time there was a prospering Minoan settlement that stood there.

To the southwest of the settlement was Phaestos, which was the center of power for the region. Gortyn would later flourish and eventually overshadow Phaestos. During the 1st century BC, during the Roman occupation, the peak year of Gortyn would begin. This is when Gortyn became the capital of Crete. There are still remains of these important days at the Gortyn Archaeological Site.

Excavations Begin at the Gortyn Archaeological Site

In 1884, excavations of the site began. Joseph Hatzidakis studied the inscriptions on the walls that were of the Minoan law code. Further excavations would reveal buildings such as the Church of St. Titus. The Church of St. Titus was built on the spot where Apostle Titus and other saints would preach Christianity. They would later be persecuted by the Roman emperor. The Roman Odeon was also uncovered during excavations. Though excavations have gone on for years, the sections below ground have remained largely unexamined.

During the 1st century AD, the Roman Praetorium was build at the center of the site of Gortyn. It was the residence and the seat of the Roman governor. Surrounding the Praetorium are remains of a marble fountain and cistern of the Nymphaeum, the temple of Apollo, some Egyptian dieties, and the Roman bath complex.

Tour the Gortyn Archaeological Site on Crete

The most important monuments at the site of Gortyn that you will want to see include: the Praetorium, The Roman Odeum, the Roman Baths, the Temple of Agios Titos, the Acropolis, and the Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods. On Agios Hill, just northwest of Gortyn, there are substantial remains of the Gortyn Acropolis and the fortified walls. There are also the foundations of a Christian basilica and the Temple of Athena Poliochos. This is a great spot to take in the view of the Mesara Plain.

The archaeological site is located near the village of Agioi Deka. This is considered one of the loveliest villages of Crete. Agioi Deka Village is hub between the southern side and northern side of Heraklion. The name of the village means “ten saints” and comes from the ten Cretan men who were killed in 250 AD by the Romans because they were Christians. There is a stone church in the village that is dedicated to them.

On the island of Crete, you will find a well-organized transportation system. You can get around by bus, taxi, or car. The Gortyn Archaeological Site is located 44 km from Heraklion Town.

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