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Listed 100 (total found 147) sub titles with search on: Archaeological sites for wider area of: "CRETE Island GREECE" .


Archaeological sites (147)

Miscellaneous

CHANIA (Prefecture) CRETE

  Except for the excavations of the Minoan Kydonia on the hill of Kastelli in the region of Chania, there are also artifacts from ancient civilizations both in the North & in the South. One of the most important ancient cities of Western Crete is Aptera where parts of the temple of Dimitra have been saved, imposing walls & huge arched tanks of Roman Years. Also, the acropolis of Polyrrinia in Kissamos, as well as the ancient town Falassarna, which had in the post-Minoan years a closed & safe post, which connected the sea with a canal. The Asklipieio of Lissos in the south, as well as the ancient sites in Irtakina, Syia, Kadros, Tarra, Aradin and Anopolis in the region of Sfakia.
(text: Roula Kastrinaki)
This text (extract) is cited February 2004 from the Chania Prefecture Tourism Committee tourist pamphlet.


LAPPEI (Municipality) RETHYMNO

  From the excavations, which are conducted till now, in the village Argiroupoli, many archeological findings have bee unearthed which are now located in the museum of Rethymno and Heraklion. Some of them include the "Goat legged God Pan" and the "Goddess Venus". Recently a mosaic of roman times was discovered while in many parts of the village remnants of ancient Lappa can be seen. North-east of the village pagan graves of the Greek-roman period are carved on the surrounding rocks.
This text (extract) is cited February 2004 from the Municipality of Lappes tourist pamphlet.


Ancient acropoles

AXOS (Ancient city) KOULOUKONA

Acropolis of Axos

  The acropolis of the ancient city is above the village, near the cemetery church of Agios Ioannis. Excavations have revealed a large temple platform, possibly of Aphrodite, a statue of Dimitra and several other finds including the excellent bronze helmet displayed in the Iraklion Museum (Room 18). In Axos, Zeus and Apollon were also believed to be worshipped.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains image.


POLYRRINIA (Ancient city) CHANIA

Acropolis

  Polirinia is the site of remains from the sixth century B.C., Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Venetian eras. It was a powerful city, built on the natural fortifications of the rock at the top of the mountain. One of its harbours was at Falasarna, the other was Kastelli (Kissamos). The remains that are visible now are mostly from the second Byzantine and the Venetian periods. A particularly interesting set of remains is in the Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos; the unique exhibit of an athlete's skull with a gold leaf crown found in a 1 A.D. cemetery near Agios Nikolaos and a coin from Polirinia in his mouth. As you walk up from the base of the hill you will see holes or caves carved in the rock, they are graves from the Roman period. Cisterns carved in rock are visible on the top.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


Ancient aqueducts

APTERA (Ancient city) SOUDA

Vaulted Roman cisterns

In the site there are very large, well-preserved, domed water reservoirs built during Roman times. There are also ruins from a Roman theatre in the extensive, mostly unexcavated site of Aptera. Recently further Hellenistic ruins have been located near the theatre.


Ancient harbours

FALASARNA (Ancient city) CHANIA

Archaeological Site of Phalasarna

Tel: +30 28210 44418, Fax: +30 28210 44418

Ancient palaces

ARCHANES (Ancient city) CRETE

Minoan Palace

  Excavations are being performed in the area under the direction of E. Sakellarakis. Palatial-style buildings were discovered in the location of Turkogitonia within the village of Arhanes (200m east of the clock-tower). The excavations brought to light major discoveries including a large rectangular altar fresco and numerous artefacts. The buildings had an extraordinarily sophisticated architecture and the site is considered to be comparable to the other known Minoan palaces.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


Ancient sacred caves

ARKALOCHORI (Small town) HERAKLIO

The Cave in Arkalochori


Diktaion Antron

  The cave of Psychro is one of the most important cult places of Minoan Crete. The use of caves as cult places was one of the basic characteristics of the religious beliefs of the ancient Cretans. Cult practice probably begins in the Early Minoan period (2800-2300 BC) - although in the antechamber are preserved traces of an even earlier occupation - but the most important finds date from the Middle Minoan period (1800 BC) and later, as it was used for many centuries, until the Geometric (8th century BC) and the Orientalising-Archaic period (7th-6th century BC). The finds prove that it was visited until as late as the Roman period. Pilgrims dedicated many offerings, such as figurines of humans, gods, animals, double axes etc. The excavators and several scholars identify the cave as the famous "Diktaian Cave", where Zeus was born and brought up with the aid of Amaltheia and the Kouretes, and which is connected with myths as this of the seer Epimenides who "slept" here, or the coupling of Zeus with Europa.
  In the last decades of the 19th century, inhabitants of the area found ancient items inside the cave; this fact led in 1886 the archaeologists Joseph Chatzidakis and F. Halbherr to the site, where they conducted an excavation, but not on a large scale. The cave was also investigated by A. Evans in 1897, by J. Demargne, and by G. Hogarth in 1899, but systematic excavation has not taken place yet. The finds uncovered during legal and illegal excavations were almost all published in 1961 by J. Boardman.
  At 1,025 m. a.s.l., a steep path leads up to a plateau in front of the narrow entrance to the cave. On the right side is an antechamber (42 x 19 m.) with a rectangular altar, 1m. high, built of field stones; this area yielded Neolithic potsherds, Early Minoan burials (2800-2200 BC), and offerings of the Middle Minoan period (2200-1550 BC). In the northern part of the antechamber, at a lower level, a chamber is formed, which included an irregular enclosure with patches of roughly paved floor, forming a sort of a temenos.
  The large hall (84 x 38 m.) has an inclined floor and a small chamber opening to the left end; one of its niches is called the "cradle" of Zeus. A larger chamber (25 x 12 m.) formed on the right side is divided into two parts: one has a small pool, and the other a very impressive stalactite, known as "the mantle of Zeus". Inside the main chamber had been deposited many offerings, mostly bronze figurines and sheets, daggers, arrowheads, and double axes.


Spileo Dikteon Andron

  On the north side of Mount Dikte, in the Lassithi Plateau is the Dikteon Andron Cave, the legendary birthplace of Zeus. The cave entrance is reached either by walking or by a donkey ride. Good shoes with a non-slip tread are necessary. A local man will provide a ride up and down and will give a tour of the cave with a flashlight. Most of the guides speak only Greek. The cave entrance is reached after a 20-minute walk up a stony path. The entrance is at 1,025 metres above sea level and is 14.8 metres wide.
The cave of Dikteon Andron became more important than the cave of Trapeza (also in the Lassithi Plateau) during the Prepalatial Period (2000-1700 B.C.). Its fame continued throughout the Greek times (about 700 B.C.) when it lost its importance to the Ideon Andron Cave in Rethimnon. Many bronze figurines, double axes, rings and broaches have been found and are shown in the Iraklion Museum.
The cave consists of two parts: the antechamber is flat and has a length of 42 metres, a width of 19 metres and a height of 6.5 metres. An altar was here and around it were tables for offerings which indicates that the cave was a cult centre from the Minoan Period on. The second part is the main cave and slopes downward leading to the lake and the four chambers at its end.
According to the legend, Zeus' father, Kronos, had sworn to devour all his children to avoid losing his kingdom. Rhea tricked him by giving him a stone to swallow and left Zeus in the Dikteon Cave. Here the goat nymph Amalthia nurtured him and the Kuretes (5 Cretans) protected him. They banged their shields to drown out the baby's crying.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


IDI (Mountain) RETHYMNO

Ideon Andron Cave

  According to legends, the Ideon Cave was the birthplace of Zeus. In the myth, Rhea brought the infant Zeus to the Ideon cave to protect him from his father, Kronos, who would have swallowed him alive, as he had previously done with his brothers and sisters. Here he was nursed by the goat nymph, Amalthia. He was protected by the Kuretes (5 Cretans) who danced and clashed their weapons to cover the cries of the baby Zeus. This myth will be disputed by those that believe that Zeus was raised in the Dikteon Andron in the plateau of Lassithi.
In another variation of the myth, the baby Zeus was born in the Dikteon Andron Cave, while the infant Zeus grew up in the Ideon Andron among the shepherds of the Nida Plateau. Zeus is often called “Cretagenis”, e.g. born in Crete. According to Cretans, Zeus was not immortal, in contrast to the Classical Greek belief; he died and was reborn every year. The head of the dead Zeus can be seen in the outline of Mount Youktas, outside Iraklion. This belief of Cretans, continues traditions of the old Minoan religion (in which the Young God died and was reborn every year) to the Greek religion.
Historically, it is clear that both the caves in the Lassithi Plateau and the cave in Nida were sanctuaries during Minoan and early Greek times. The cave of Trapeza in Lassithi was used very early in Minoan times, but later it lost its significance to the cave of Dikteon Andron, also in the Lassithi Plateau, and the latter seems also to have been replaced in importance by the cave of Ideon Andron in Nida during Greek and Roman times.
Excavations in the cave uncovered finds dating as far back as late Neolithic times. During Minoan times, the cave was a place of worship of the fertility goddess. Later it became the place of worship for the cult of Zeus.
The cave is 1,540 metres above sea level. It contains a large chamber at the opening and two horizontal chambers that open to the inner sanctum of the cave. Excavations are in progress and the cave is now closed to the public.
The original excavations were done by Professor Marinatos and revealed the Greek and Roman use of the cave. The recent excavations in the cave are concerned with the finds of the lower deposits in the cave. The cave is known to have been used in the Neolithic Age. Recently, a superb bronze shield was found intact.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


Ancient sanctuaries

ARCHANES (Ancient city) CRETE

Archaeological Site at Anemospelia

Tel: +30 2810 752712, Fax: +30 2810 241515

  Rectangular building with three narrow chambers, each opening into a long corridor to the north, which extends along the whole width of the building.
  The area is enclosed with a stone wall and the whole structure has been interpreted as a shrine; in the central room was found a "xoanon" (statue) of the deity worshiped here. In the west room, where the altar stood, was uncovered, according to the excavator, the first human sacrifice to have ever taken place in Minoan times.
  The building at Anemospelia was used for only half a century, as it was suddenly destroyed by an earthquake in the middle of the 17th century BC.
  The site was excavated in the summer of 1979 by John Sakellarakis.


Minoan Shrine

  In the location of Anemospilia (signposted at the main square), a Minoan shrine was discovered. The shrine was destroyed in the large earthquake of 1700 B.C. that destroyed the old palaces. The archaeologists believe that a human sacrifice was taking place at the time of the disaster, probably attempting to avert the danger of the quakes.


ASKI (Village) KASTELI

Recently a ritual clay figurine of the Mid-Minoan period was fortuitously unearthed on a peak close to the village. The remains of a large building belonging to a peak sanctuary have been excavated at Amygdalokefalo to the NE of the village.


Ancient settlements

MINOA (Ancient city) CRETE

Ancient Greek Site - Marathi

  In Marathi there are remains of the ancient city of Minoa. Minoa belonged to Aptera, which is visible from Marathi on the other side of Souda Bay. The excavations have revealed part of its harbour and some buildings dating from the second century A.D.


NOPIGIA (Settlement) MYTHIMNA

Ancient City of Mithimna

  Present-day Nopigia was probably the former site of the ancient city Mithimna and a statue of a woman with a child was found here.

This extract is cited Oct 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


Minoan settlement of Plati

It was a dwelling place from the Late Minoan Period until the Classical Times (excavations 1914)


Stavromenos

The wider area of the villages of Hamalevri - Pangalochori - Stavromenos and Sfakaki boasts most important archaeological sites. As early as in 1745 the English traveller R. Pococke described the area as being identical with the 'Pantomatrion'. In 1918 Efstr. Petroulakis, the curator of the Museum of Rethymno, initiated a first experimental research in the village of Paleokastro. In December of the same year the antiquary Emm. Kaounis discovered a magnificent marble tomb stele dating back to the 5th century B.C. and depicting the relief performance of a young hunter. During the following years, archaeological findings were often haphazardly brought to light in this area.
From 1990 up until today systematic excavations and preservations have been carried out by the Trusteeship of Pre-historical and Classical Antiquities, which have brought to light large complexes of buildings that can be characterised as settlements or workshops. Most of the buildings have been discovered on the hills of Tsikouriana and Kakavella, exactly south of the village of Stavromenos. An exemplary centre of information has been established in the area of Sfakaki, where the visitor can obtain an overall picture of the excavations and findings. All the findings are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno


Ancient temples

APTERA (Ancient city) SOUDA

Classical small temple

In the middle of the site there is a small temple dating from classical times, (2C B.C.). It is assumed that the temple was dedicated to a pair of gods, possibly Dimitra and Kori.


Ancient tombs

ARCHANES (Ancient city) CRETE

Archaeological Site at Phourni

Tel: +30 2810 752712, Fax: +30 2810 241515

  Excavations at Phourni have brought to light one of the most important cemeteries of the Minoan civilisation. The cemetery dates from 2400 BC until 1200 BC and each funerary complex was used for a long period of time, bearing multiple and successive burials. The long term and systematic excavations on the site, which began in 1964 and lasted for about three decades, were conducted by Efi and John Sakellarakis under the auspices of the Athens Archaeological Society.

  The most important monuments of the site are:
  •Mycenaean Grave Enclosure. The funerary complex in the northern part of the cemetery contained seven graves of the LM IIIA period (14th century BC). The peribolos is rectangular and the graves, also rectangular, are hewn from the rock. In each of the shafts a sarcophagus (larnax) has been placed. All graves yielded a variety and wealth of offerings.
  Tholos Tomb A. It was constructed in the first half of the 14th century BC and has a dromos, tholos and a side chamber, which contained an intact royal burial inside a sarcophagus with rich offerings (gold necklaces, beads of sardium and glass-paste, gold signet-rings, bronze and ivory vases).
  •Building 4, the so-called "Secular Building". It lies almost at the centre of the eastern part of the cemetery. It is a complex rectangular structure, built on different levels, in two separate wings. It was probably used for the preparation of the dead, during the LM IA period (1550-1500 BC).
  •Tholos Tomb B. It is the largest and most complex structure of the cemetery, built before 2000 BC and used until the first half of the 14th century BC. Additions made during the long period of its use, resulted in its complex form, comprising twelve rooms in total. The whole building is rectangular outside, with an inscribed tholos at the centre.
  Funerary Building 6. It is an ossuary with six parallel, oblong rectangular rooms, built in the MM IA period (before 2000 BC). The deposits inside the structure are the result of the clearing of the neighbouring funerary buildings, and consisted mostly of skulls and numerous grave offerings.
  •Funerary Building 3. Square, symmetrical building, extremely well-built and well preserved, containing significant offerings. It imitates the domestic architecture of the period (doorways, antae, thresholds). It was used from the MM IA period (before 2000 BC) until after 1400 BC.
  •Tholos Tomb C. It is built above ground level, with an entrance on the east side and a built hearth in the SW part of the tholos. A remarkable architectural peculiarity is the construction of a window on the south side of the tholos. Burials were placed inside sarcophagi or directly on the floor and contained numerous offerings. The tholos dates from the EM III period (2250-2100 BC).
  •Funerary Building 19. It is the only apsidal funerary structure in Crete, used for burials and depositions during the MM IA-MM IB period (2100-1950 BC). The walls surrounding the apse are exeptionally thick, obviously for the support of the building, which was roofed with a vault. The burials contained wealthy and numerous offerings.
  Tholos Tomb E. This is probably the first funerary building to have been erected at Phourni, as the earliest burials date from 2400-2300 BC but it was re-used two centuries later (2100-2000 BC). It is built above ground level, with an entrance to the east, antae and lintel, and contained several burials with numerous offerings.
  •Tholos Tomb D. It yielded an undisturbed, rich female burial, dated to the 14th century BC. The tomb is cut in the hard rock, part of which was used as a section of the tholos wall while the rest is built of stones in irregular horizontal rings. The body of the deceased woman was placed on a wooden stretcher.


Minoan Cemetery

  In the location of Fourni (signpost at the main square), three well-preserved tholos tombs of the Postpalatial Period were discovered. One of them was a royal tomb containing 140 pieces of gold jewellery now displayed in the Iraklion Museum. The tomb has a very long dromos (entry road), possibly the longest in Crete. This Minoan cemetery was used for several centuries and has revealed much about burial practices. Within the cemetery compound there are buildings which show evidence of occupation, possibly by caretakers of the dead.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


ARMENI (Village) ARMENI


ARMENI (Village) LEFKI

Minoan cemetary of Armeni


ARMENI (Village) RETHYMNO

Archaeological Site of Armenoi

Tel: +30 28310 29975, Fax: +30 28310 29975

  The layout of the cemetery seems to have been pre-planned. All the tombs belong to the rock-cut chamber tomb with dromos, with the exception of the unique built tholos tomb no. 200. Unworked stones and pyramidal or slab stelae were erected over the tombs as markers. They were all family tombs, containing multiple burials, either placed directly on the floor or inside larnakes. The grave offerings - pottery, weapons, tools and jewellery - provide us with useful information on art, religion and social organization of the period.
  In 1969, two pupils presented to the Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon two vases found at the site called Prinokephalo, at the community of Armenoi. Investigation of the area prooved the existence of an extensive Late Minoan cemetery. Since then, the site has been systematically excavated, and more than 220 tombs have been brought to light.

  The most important of the tombs of the cemetery are the following:
  Tomb 200. It is the only tholos tomb at the cemetery of Armenoi. The dromos, stepped at the beginning, is 4.55 m. long and 1.32 m. wide and the entrance was blocked by a stone slab. A niche has been carved in the side wall. Inside the circular burial chamber, bronze weapons, pottery, beads and an amulet with a Linear A inscription were found. The tomb is dated to the beginning of the 14th century BC.
  Tomb 159. It is the most impressive chamber tomb of the cemetery. The dromos is 15.50 m. long and its outer section is occupied by 25 steps, starting at ground level. A stone bench runs along the four sides of the rectangular chamber and a pillar stands opposite the entrance. Inside the burial chamber an impressive find was uncovered, the remains of a wooden "coffin". The tomb is dated to 1420/1400-1200 BC.


Late Minoan Cemetery of Armeni

10 km south of the town of Rethymno the famous cemetery of Armeni was discovered, situated near to the village of the same name in a beautiful oak forest, and it dates back to the Late Minoan period (13th / 12th century BC). During the systematic excavation, which was started in 1969, more than 220 tombs were discovered, and excavation has been continued since then with the aim of finding the city belonging to this place. The cemetery consists of burial chambers, which were hewn into the soft natural rock, and which lie from east to west. Long and narrow, hewn corridors lead into the interior of the tombs. Among the tombs discovered up until now only one has been vaulted and built from stone. As well as pottery it contained weapons, beads and a periapt displaying an inscription in Linear A script.
Most of the burial chambers had not been looted and still contained a large number of artefacts such as vessels, statuettes, arms, jewellery, tools etc. They were family graves where a relatively large number of dead were left uncovered on the ground or in earthenware shrines. The rich ornamentation with motifs taken from nature as well as religious icons makes the shrines particularly impressive.
The findings from the cemetery of Armeni can be seen in the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno. The archaeological site is open to visitors.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains images.


  Just before Armeni, a Postpalatial Minoan cemetery was discovered. The excavations continue and, so far, more than 200 rock-cut tombs have been discovered. This implies the existence of a large city nearby which has not yet been discovered. The graves vary widely from simple, small graves to very imposing tombs approached with a sloping path and having benches around the walls. Many kinds of offerings were found in those graves and some of them are displayed in the Rethimnon museum. Some larnakes from these tombs are displayed in the museum of Chania.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


Tholos tomb

Tholos tomb with a rectangular chamber, built in the ecphoric system. A long, built dromos leads to the entrance. It is dated to the Late Minoan III period.
The tomb was excavated by the 25th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in 1981, and was found looted, but few finds had survived.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture URL below, which also contains image.


  On a hill near Filaki, there is a Minoan tholos tomb with a long descending corridor. The tomb is hidden among trees and is rather difficult to find.


GEROKAMBOS (Settlement) GORTYNA

Three Early Minoan I tombs


GOURNES (Small town) HERAKLIO

Excavations carried out in 1945 unearthed tombs of the Minoan period with many significant findings.


KAMILARI (Village) TYMBAKI

Tholos tomb

  This large tomb was used communally for several centuries and although it was robbed in antiquity, excavations revealed important Minoan burial customs. The tomb consisted of five small rooms and a paved patio outside the circular tomb. The tomb is thought to have had a wooden roof supported by a cement structure. The walls of the tomb are very thick and still stand two metres high. The important finds from this tomb are displayed in the Iraklion Archaeology Museum (Room 6) and indicate the funeral rites of this time. Two of these Late Minoan Period pieces show food being offered or eaten in a ceremonial fashion and a third object shows dancing in a circle, similar to today's Cretan dancing.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


Near the village at a place called Artsa was discovered a tomb of the Late Minoan period with interesting findings.


KOUMASSA (Settlement) GORTYNA

Prepalatial cemetery of Koumasa


KYDONIA (Ancient city) CHANIA

Tomb in Mathioulakis' plot

The tomb belongs to the cemetery of the Hellenistic city of Kydonia and attests the relations of the city with Hellenistic Alexandria. It dates to the end of the 4th and the first half of the 3rd century B.C.
Large, rock-cut family tomb. A long dromos with steps leads to the entrance. Nine burial chambers with doors are arranged around a large central space. The names of the deceased are written above each door. The tomb is preserved under a modern building and can be visited by the public after arrangement with the Ephorate of Antiquities.
In 1981, the 25th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities carried out a salvage excavation.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture URL below, which also contains images.


MALEME (Village) PLATANIAS

Tholos tomb

Large tholos tomb built in the ecphoric system. The burial chamber is square in plan, and the dromos leading to the entrance is 2 m. wide and 13.30 m. long. It dates to the Late Minoan III period and bears evidence for the Mycenean influence on Crete.
The tomb was excavated by the 25th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in 1966, and was found looted.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture URL below, which also contains image.


A Minoan tholos tomb of the Postpalatial Period is on the same road before the cemetery. A small sign points towards the grave. It is about 100 metres east along the hills. The tomb is on the right of the path. It has an unusually long path leading to the rectangular chamber. The tomb had been robbed but excavations in 1966 revealed two seals.


Odigitria Tholos tombs


NEA ROUMATA (Settlement) MOUSSOURI

Εarly Μinoan I tomb at Nea Roumata


PLATANOS (Village) GORTYNA

Minoan Tombs

  In Platanos, two large tombs containing ivory seals and gold jewellery dating from 3500 B.C. have been discovered. They are among the largest and most important tombs on Crete because of their age. They are free-standing and were probably roofed. The diameter of the largest of the tombs was 13 metres and its walls were 3 metres thick. They were used for a long period of time.

This text is cited Dec 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


STYLOS (Village) ARMENI

Minoan Cemetery

  At Stylos a Minoan cemetery was found by archaeologists, but so far very few excavations have been done. The excavated graves are fenced off but can be seen easily. A much larger Minoan site may exist on the hill.


Tholos tomb

Large tholos tomb with a long, built dromos. The chamber is built in the ecphoric system. It is dated to the Late Minoan III period.
The tomb was excavated in 1961 by the archaeologists K. Davaras and N. Platon; it had been looted, possibly in antiquity.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture URL below, which also contains image.


  At Stylos there is an intact, round Minoan tholos tomb inside the right gate. The tomb is in the middle of an olive grove. It dates from the Late Minoan Period and has been built on a hill. A downward-sloping path built with stones leads to the entrance of the tomb, which is underground. This is a vaulted tomb that has been built with stones placed one above the other so that successive layers are progressively nearer the centre of the tomb until they eventually meet.

This extract is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


Ancient towns

Archaeological Site of Gortyna

Tel: +30 28920 31144

  Gortyna was first inhabited at the end of the Neolithic period (3000 BC) and by the Late Minoan period (1600-1100 BC) it became a flourishing settlement. Remains of the Archaic period (7th century BC) were located in the area of the Acropolis, while the large inscription, the Gortyn Law Code, dated to the 5th century BC, attests the prosperity of the city, which continued throughout the historical times. However Gortyna reached its peak during the Roman era (1st - 5th centuries AD), as an ally of Rome and the capital of the Roman provinces of Crete and Cyrene.   The city remained an important center of Crete in the following Early Byzantine period and, according to tradition, it was the first Cretan city which espoused Christianity. Gortyna became the seat of the first bishop of Crete, Apostle Titus, to whom was dedicated a monumental temple. The conquest of Crete by the Arabs put an end to the history of the ancient Gortyna, which was destroyed in 824 AD.
  The first archaeological research on the site was conducted in 1884 by the Italian archaeologist F. Halbherr. Since then, excavations have been carried out by the Italian Archaeological School and the local Archaeological Service.

  The most important monuments of the site are:
- The Odeion. It is a typical Roman theatre of the 1st century AD with two entrances on the north side and an almost semicircular orchestra. The north wall of the formerly raised skene (stage) had four niches for statues. Only three rows of the cavea benches are preserved.
- The Gortyna Law Code. The inscription with the Code is to be seen in the north round wall of the Odeion, sheltered in a small structure. It is a complete code of law, based on Minoan tradition, which survives in the Doric city of the historical times. Dated to 450 BC.
- Isieion. The sanctuary of the Egyptian Divinities (1st-2nd centuries AD) is a rectangular area dedicated to the cult of many gods, such as Isis, Serapis-Zeus and Anubis-Hermes. It had an underground cistern. The cult statues of the gods stood on an oblong podium with crepis.
- Temple of Apollo Pythios. It was built in the Archaic period (7th century BC) and originally was a rectangular house with a treasury. In the following, Hellenistic and Roman periods (4th century BC-2nd century AD) several additions were made to the building, including the prodomos, the colonnades, and a conch which sheltered the statue of Pythios Apollo.
- The Praetorium was the seat and residence of the proconsul of Crete. It is divided into two parts: the administrative section, in which the central building is the basilica, and the residential section. The preserved ruins are dated to the 2nd century AD and seem to have been repaired in the 4th century AD.
- The northeastern cistern and the Nymphaeum. They lie immediately to the north of the Praetorium. The first cistern was a rectangular, open-air structure with conches on all sides, where the statues of Nymphs were placed. It was converted into a vaulted cistern in the 7th century AD.
- The Acropolis on the hill of Aghios Ioannes. Large sections of a polygonal fortification wall are preserved with towers at the corners (10th-6th centuries BC). Within the enclosed area there was an Archaic temple, on the ruins of which an Early Christian basilica was later erected.
- The Church of St. Titus. It is a cross - shaped three - aisled basilica with cupola; the northern and the southern arm of the cross end up in conchs. The church was built with rectangular hewn stones and is dated in the 7th century AD. It was destroyed by the Arabs in 824 AD and rebuilt after the recapture of Crete by the Byzantines during the 10th century.
- Triconch church founded probably over the tomb of the Ten Cretan Martyrs. The narthex communicates through a tribelon with the central rectangular part of the church. The mosaic floor and the remaining capitals are exquisite. The church is dated in the 5th century AD.


APOLLONIA (Ancient city) GAZI

Apollonia

The most significant archeological site up to now is situated at Souda's cape in Agia Pelagia. At this beautiful bay, excavations brought to light parts from private houses and public buildings of the Hellenistic town that was identified with ancient Apollonia

This extract is cited Oct 2002 from the Municipality of Gazi URL below, which contains image.


APTERA (Ancient city) SOUDA

Archaeological Site of Aptera

Tel: +30 28210 44418, 94487, 90334

  Aptera was founded in the Geometric period, although the city is mentioned in the Linear B tablets found at Knossos (A-pa-ta-wa). It reached a peak in the Hellenistic period, with intense commercial and political activity. In the Roman period, the town had a more rural character. It was destroyed by an earthquake in the 7th century AD and much later, in the 12th century, the Monastery of Hagios Ioannes Theologos (St. John the Baptist) was founded at the site.

  The most important monuments of the site are:
- The Roman cisterns
- Bipartite temple, known as the "bipartite sanctuary", dated to the 5th-4th century BC
- Graves of the Geometric-Roman periods
- The fortification walls, preserved to a length of almost 4 kilometres. The main phase of construction belongs to the 4th century BC.
- The Roman bouleuterion
- The Late Byzantine monastery of Hagios Ioannes Theologos (St. John the Baptist)
- The Turkish fortress built in 1866-1869


AXOS (Ancient city) KOULOUKONA

Oaxos

The village of Oaxos, one of the most important cities of ancient Crete, was situated in the area of the modern village of Axos, and flourished from Late Minoan and Geometric up until Roman and consecutive times. Archaeological pick-axes have brought to light many parts of the ancient city including the temple of Aphrodite, the prytaneum, tombs and a variety of archaeological relics. The wall of the acropolis, remains of which can still be seen today on the summit of the hill, must have been of particular grandeur. In 1899, the Italian Archaeological School started excavations, which uncovered a variety of findings such as Minoan potsherds, stone vessels, inscriptions and many figurines of a naked female body, which is believed to portray the goddess of Fertility. Furthermore, remains of buildings dating back to the Classical Period were found, on top of which new constructions had been built, mainly Byzantine churches.
During the latter it accommodated the seat of the Episcopate and boasted a large number of churches. At the place of Livada, north east of the village, remains of archaic times have been found, a fact, which indicates the dimensions of ancient Axos. Another detail implying the importance of Axos is the fact that it had various kinds of currency. Approximately 40 different coins have been recognised, most of which display the head of Apollo or of Zeus, the gods, who were worshipped in ancient Oaxos.

This text is cited Oct 2003 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains image.


CHERRONISSOS (Ancient city) CHERSONISSOS

Roman ruins

  The Romans were the first invaders of Hersonisos and during their occupation built a large aqueduct as well as an amphitheatre, a harbour and a fountain. The surviving Roman fountain has mosaics depicting fishermen and it is near the east end of the harbour. Remains of the Roman mole of the harbour, one of the best in Crete at this time, are still visible. The Roman quay is on the eastern part of the harbour, partially submerged. On the northeast side of the peninsula cuts in the rock are thought to be Roman fish tanks. In Kastri, on the east side of the peninsula above the church of Agia Paraskevi, was a solidly-built Roman fort.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


DIKTINA (Ancient sanctuary) KOLYMBARI

The site of ancient Diktinna

  Vritomartis is probably a continuation of Minoan religious beliefs, and is identified with the goddess Artemis in the Greek pantheon of gods and goddesses. Diktinna was the most important sanctuary of Vritomartis and a reason for conflict regarding its control between the powerful cities of Kydonia in Chania and Polirinia in Kastelli. Vritomartis was worshipped here during the Greek and the Roman era. The Greek sanctuary has not been identified yet, but the Roman one was visible from a great distance at sea and many pieces of marble and Roman building remains were found in its location. Later, in the ninth century the monastery of Agios Georgios was built here but it was abandoned because of continuous pirate attacks. Today very little remains to be seen of the Roman site or the monastery. However, there is a protected bay, a pebble beach, and the boat trip from Kolimbari is very pleasant.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


ELEFTHERNA (Ancient city) ARKADI

Eleftherna

  The village of Eleftherna is 24km southeast from Rethimnon on a road right at Viran Episkopi (14km) of the Rethimnon - Iraklion highway. Route: Rethimnon - Viran Episkopi - Skouloufia - Eleftherna. Eleftherna is one of the most important ancient locations in Crete and one of the largest sites, occupying a large area across two hills. Inhabited from Minoan times, it reached its peak and flourished during the Greek and Roman through to the Byzantine periods. Remains from all those eras can be seen in the area. Recently archaeologists discovered traces of human sacrifice dating from the late eighth century B.C. In the Archaeological Museum of Rethimnon there is a display of articles from the excavation.

  Monuments:
Roman Remains: Several sites from all the eras are currently been excavated by the University of Crete. Greek carved stone cisterns and Roman aqueducts are in the area, as are Byzantine churches of the early Christian period. To find the cisterns walk from Ancient Eleftherna towards the acropolis. After you pass the large Roman tower at the entrance of the acropolis, look for a path on the left side of the acropolis going directly down. After a few metres of descent you are on a path that goes around the acropolis. Take the path backwards and you will see two sets of very large cisterns cut deep into the rock and supported by hewn rock pillars.
Hellenistic Remains: An incredible bridge from the Hellenistic era has survived and is still in a good state of preservation in the valley. It is triangular and is made of large stones. It is still usable and you have to walk over it before you descend to observe it.
First Byzantine Period Church: For the Byzantine church take the path forward, going by the path that brought you down from the acropolis and after a while you will see a gate higher up. Climb through the gate and you will soon see the remainders of a church of the first Byzantine period. A cemetery of the Early Iron Age has also been excavated and has been invaluable in the formation of theories about the burial practices of the era.

This extract is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


Excavations in the area of Eleftherna were started 16 years ago, in 1985, when the Department of Archaeology and History of Art of the University of Crete started research on the ancient city and subsequently brought it to light, of which philological texts had already given mention.
As early as 1929, H. Payne, the director of the British Archaeological School, had also carried out minor research in the area. Remains were discovered in the wider area of the two contemporary and neighbouring villages of Eleftherna and Ancient Eleftherna, which are situated in the northern foothills of Psiloritis, at a distance of 24 and 29 kilometres respectively from the town of Rethymno. More specifically, the most important findings have been discovered at three places on a hill, which is situated between two converging streams: at the place of Orthi Petra on the west side of the hill (excavation section III), at the place of Pyrgi on the summit of the hill (excavation section II) and at the place of Katsivelos on the north side of the hill (excavation section I). Further important findings have been discovered in the area of Nisi, near the modern village of "Eleftherna", which mainly include remains of a settlement of the Hellenistic Period. At the place of Orthi Petra, Professor N. Stampolidis, archaeologist and leader of the excavating team, brought to light a necropolis dating back to the Geometric and Ancient Period, as well as Hellenistic and Roman buildings and streets, which had been built on top of earlier constructions. At the place of Pyrgi, on the summit of the hill, where the centre of the ancient city is believed to have been, the archaeologist Professor Ath. Kalpaxis has discovered parts of buildings of the Roman and Early Christian Period.
On the east side of the hill, in the area of the modern village of "Ancient Eleftherna", the archaeologist, Professor P. Themelis, discovered a part of the settlement showing all the chronological stages from Pre-historical to Early Christian times. Among others, Hellenistic supporting walls, Roman buildings and baths have been discovered as well as an early Christian basilica with three aisles, boasting a narthex and a superb mosaic displaying geometric and floral motifs.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains images.


ELYROS (Ancient city) ANATOLIKO SELINO

Ancient greek city of Elyros

  The site of the ancient Greek city of Elyros is 500 metres above this village on the Kefala hill, above the road to Sougia, and is presently unexcavated. Elyros was one of the most important Greek cities in western Crete. It was an industrial and commercial city which had factories for weaponry production. Sougia and Lissos were its harbours. Elyros was also important during Roman and Byzantine times. A Roman statue, the Philosopher of Elyros was excavated here and is now in the Archaeological Museum of Chania. It was the seat of an Archbishop and the remains of the bishopric church, a sixth century basilica, can still be seen in the centre of the old city. A larger, modern church marks the site of Elyros on a small hill, just after the bypass of the branch to Rodovani. Very little is to be seen at the site itself. However, you have a superb view of the valleys below that belonged to Elyros as far as Sougia. The Elyrians could see their boats in Sougia from their city. The highest peaks of the Lefka Ori are visible to the east. The olive trees and the villages situated among them dominate the north view.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


ETIS (Ancient city) SITIA

Archaeological Site of Trypetos

Tel: +30 28430 23917

  On a small headland called Trypetos, 3km to the east of modern Seteia lies a city of the Hellenistic period (middle of 4th - middle of 1st century BC), most probably identified with the ancient city of Eteia. A Hellenistic dockyard has been uncovered at the east coast of the headland. It is known that in 1960 the owners of the land created plots for cultivation using digging machines which caused severe damage to the buried antiquities. Since 1987 a systematic excavation has been conducted by the Ephorate of Antiquities, under the direction of N. Papadakis.
  The dockyard lies at the south edge of the east side of the headland called "Karavopetra" or "Trypetos". It is unroofed, hewn out of the rock and is rectangular in shape (30m. long, 5.50 m. wide, and 5 m. high). The floor is slightly inclined towards the sea (15-30 degrees) and does not continue under the sea level, but this is due to the geological changes that have taken place in the past centuries. The ship which would be sheltered under this structure during winter time, must have been of a medium size. Carvings on the surface of the rock indicate the existence of a wooden "bolt" for the fastening of the ship. Other parts of the building, such as floor, saddle roof and towing machines were made of wood and have not been preserved.
  The Hellenistic city covers the whole of the headland and was built on terraces, following the terrain. The south side was protected by a massive wall, which separates the main area of the headland from the mainland. The wall is built of cobblestones and its width reaches 1,8 m. on the uncovered sections. Along the inner side are rooms and other structures, parts of houses and military installations. The most important room seems to be a hall measuring 7,5 x 5 m., at the centre of which lies a rectangular hearth, formed by the surface of the bedrock, enclosed by poros slabs smoothed outside. Behind the south side of the hearth there is a small poros bench with an oblong cutting in the middle, which contained the lower part of a poros plug, undoubtedly part of a relief or statuette relating to cult practice at the hearth. A U-shaped built bench surrounding the hearth was attached to the wall; it was probably used as a seat by the inhabitants. Also uncovered were a storeroom, a cistern lined with hydraulic stucco, and stone paved streets, one of which separates two neighbourhoods. Among the most important finds is a series of coins cut by this city, which had its own mint.


FALASARNA (Ancient city) CHANIA

Ancient Falasarna

  The ancient city of Falasarna is being excavated. The excavations have exposed some of the walls and buildings of the city. The geographical shift (rise) of Crete has put the ancient harbour on dry land. Falasarna was a commercial naval power during the Hellenistic period and also the harbour of Polirinia. An interesting throne, carved out of rock, is on the dirt track as you enter the ancient city. The acropolis of the city was on the peninsula in front, on top of the hill. The fortification walls around the hill are still visible. The harbour was just below the fortifications, on the south side of the peninsula. There are no signs of the harbour now, since it is above ground. There were two towers, one on the north and one on the south side of the harbour dating from the fourth century B.C. A second channel allowed an exit from the harbour on the bay at the north side of the acropolis, 100 metres further on. It is assumed that this was a pirate stronghold at one time.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


GORTYS (Ancient city) HERAKLIO

Archaeological Site of Gortyna

Tel: +30 28920 31144

  Gortyna was first inhabited at the end of the Neolithic period (3000 BC) and by the Late Minoan period (1600-1100 BC) it became a flourishing settlement. Remains of the Archaic period (7th century BC) were located in the area of the Acropolis, while the large inscription, the Gortyn Law Code, dated to the 5th century BC, attests the prosperity of the city, which continued throughout the historical times. However Gortyna reached its peak during the Roman era (1st - 5th centuries AD), as an ally of Rome and the capital of the Roman provinces of Crete and Cyrene.   The city remained an important center of Crete in the following Early Byzantine period and, according to tradition, it was the first Cretan city which espoused Christianity. Gortyna became the seat of the first bishop of Crete, Apostle Titus, to whom was dedicated a monumental temple. The conquest of Crete by the Arabs put an end to the history of the ancient Gortyna, which was destroyed in 824 AD.
  The first archaeological research on the site was conducted in 1884 by the Italian archaeologist F. Halbherr. Since then, excavations have been carried out by the Italian Archaeological School and the local Archaeological Service.

  The most important monuments of the site are:
- The Odeion. It is a typical Roman theatre of the 1st century AD with two entrances on the north side and an almost semicircular orchestra. The north wall of the formerly raised skene (stage) had four niches for statues. Only three rows of the cavea benches are preserved.
- The Gortyna Law Code. The inscription with the Code is to be seen in the north round wall of the Odeion, sheltered in a small structure. It is a complete code of law, based on Minoan tradition, which survives in the Doric city of the historical times. Dated to 450 BC.
- Isieion. The sanctuary of the Egyptian Divinities (1st-2nd centuries AD) is a rectangular area dedicated to the cult of many gods, such as Isis, Serapis-Zeus and Anubis-Hermes. It had an underground cistern. The cult statues of the gods stood on an oblong podium with crepis.
- Temple of Apollo Pythios. It was built in the Archaic period (7th century BC) and originally was a rectangular house with a treasury. In the following, Hellenistic and Roman periods (4th century BC-2nd century AD) several additions were made to the building, including the prodomos, the colonnades, and a conch which sheltered the statue of Pythios Apollo.
- The Praetorium was the seat and residence of the proconsul of Crete. It is divided into two parts: the administrative section, in which the central building is the basilica, and the residential section. The preserved ruins are dated to the 2nd century AD and seem to have been repaired in the 4th century AD.
- The northeastern cistern and the Nymphaeum. They lie immediately to the north of the Praetorium. The first cistern was a rectangular, open-air structure with conches on all sides, where the statues of Nymphs were placed. It was converted into a vaulted cistern in the 7th century AD.
- The Acropolis on the hill of Aghios Ioannes. Large sections of a polygonal fortification wall are preserved with towers at the corners (10th-6th centuries BC). Within the enclosed area there was an Archaic temple, on the ruins of which an Early Christian basilica was later erected.
- The Church of St. Titus. It is a cross - shaped three - aisled basilica with cupola; the northern and the southern arm of the cross end up in conchs. The church was built with rectangular hewn stones and is dated in the 7th century AD. It was destroyed by the Arabs in 824 AD and rebuilt after the recapture of Crete by the Byzantines during the 10th century.
- Triconch church founded probably over the tomb of the Ten Cretan Martyrs. The narthex communicates through a tribelon with the central rectangular part of the church. The mosaic floor and the remaining capitals are exquisite. The church is dated in the 5th century AD.


ITANOS (Ancient city) ITANOS

Ancient city of Itanos


Ancient Kommos

  This is the site of on-going archaeological excavations of a Minoan settlement on a very beautiful sandy beach east of Matala. Kommos was a Minoan harbour from the early time of Minoan civilization. It was probably the major port of entry in the Mesara Plain, and monumental buildings near the shore and paved roads towards Mesara suggest a customs house. Remains from the Greek era have also been found in Kommos. A temple built here in the tenth century B.C. is one of the oldest known in Greece. Remainders of later temples dating from the fourth to the first century B.C. are now visible.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


KYDONIA (Ancient city) CHANIA

Archaeological Site of the City of Chania

Tel: +30 28210 44418, Fax: +30 28210 94487

The Kasteli Archeological Area (Kanevaro)

  (Archeological research in the region of Kasteli Hania). Excavations, begun in 1964 and continuing up to the present time in collaboration with the Swedish Archeological School, have rendered invaluable evidence concerning the city. This shows Kasteli as an archaic centre of life and civilisation. Sections of two roads, one square and four houses have been unearthed in an area of 550 m2 and at a depth of 2m. Within the excavated area can be seen storage rooms, living quarters, a two-flight staircase, corridors, a kitchen with a cooking site, and a loom, as proven by several weaving weights found there. Equally important are the fragments of clay tablets in linear A scripture, seals made of clay and the unique seal known as “Master impression” depicting a multi-storeyed building complex in a rocky coastal landscape crowned with horns. A male figure, in a domineering pose, stands at the top.

This text is cited Oct 2003 from the Municipality of Chania URL below, which contains images.


LEVIN (Ancient city) GORTYNA

Archaeological Site of Levenas

Tel: +30 2810 226470, 226092, 224630, 288484, Fax: +30 2810 241515, 288484

LISSOS (Ancient city) PELEKANOS

Archaeological Site of Lissos

Tel: +30 28230 51336

LYKTOS (Ancient city) KASTELI

Ancient greek site of Lyttos

  Lyttos was one of most ancient and powerful cities of the Greek (Doric) era. Its territory was from the north to the south of Crete, extending to the Lassithi Plateau. Its harbour was Hersonisos. Lyttos was one of the most aggressive city states of the Hellenic era and it was continually at war with Knossos and Gortyn. In 220 B.C. it expedited against Ierapytna, the strong city state in the site of today's Ierapetra, leaving the city with little protection. The Knosseans found the opportunity to occupy and destroy the city completely. The city was later rebuilt, however, and put up strong resistance to the Romans. Today few remains can yet be seen from recently-begun excavations of the site. However, the site has a commanding view of the valley below and the mountains of Lassithi making it worthwhile to visit. In Roman times the city flourished again. Today a part of the formidable Roman wall that enclosed the city is visible. Many statues were found here.

This extract is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


MALIA (Small town) HERAKLIO

Archaeological Site of Malia

Tel: +30 28970 31597

  Human presence at Malia during the Neolithic period (6000-3000 BC) is attested only by potsherds, but habitation was continuous from the middle of the 3rd millennium BC until the end of Prehistory. Houses of a Prepalatial settlement (2500-2000 BC) have been found under the palace, while graves of the same period are located near the sea. The first palace was built in around 2000-1900 BC. The already existing significant settlement of which are preserved parts around the palace, was then converted into a palatial centre-city. The palace was destroyed in around 1700 BC and rebuilt in 1650 BC at the same site, following the plan of the older palace, while a few changes took place 50 years later. The destruction of the new palace came in c. 1450 BC, along with the destruction of the other Minoan palatial centres. The site was reoccupied for a short period in the 14th-13th century BC Remains of a Roman settlement cover an extensive area at the site called "Marmara", where a basilica of the 6th century is also preserved.
  The English admiral Th. Spratt, who travelled in Crete in the middle of the 19th century, reports the finding of gold sheets at the site "Helleniko Livadi". In 1915, Joseph Chatzidakis started a trial excavation on the hill called "Azymo", and brought to light the southern half of the west wing of the palace, as well as the tombs by the sea, but he stopped the investigation. Finally, the French School of Archaeology at Athens resumed the excavations, which are continued until today with intervals, at the palace, the sectors of the town and the cemeteries on the coast. The results have been published in the series of "Etudes Cretoises" since 1928, and in the works of H. Van Effenterre and O. Pelon. The finds are exhibited in the Museum of Herakleion, and some in the Museum of Aghios Nikolaos.

  The most important buildings of the site are:
  The Palace. The largest part of the ruins visible today belongs to the New Palace period; of the first palace only a section is preserved, to the NW of the building, while a small oblique structure in the north court dates to the Post-palatial period. Access to the palace today is through the west paved court, which is crossed by slightly raised paths, the so-called "processional ways". Every side of the complex had an entrance, but the main ones were those in the north and south wings.
  The palace is arranged around the central court, which had porticos on the north and east sides, and an altar at the centre.
  The largest and most important part of the palace is the two-storeyed west wing with cult and official appartments, and extensive magazines. Impressive is the Loggia, a raised hall opening to the court, and the rooms to the west, all related with cult practice, the "pillar crypt" with an antechamber, also of religious character, and between these two, the grand staircase leading to the upper floor. Another broad flight of steps, possibly used as a theatral area, is located to the SW of the central court, beside the famous "kernos" of Malia.
  The south wing, also two-storeyed, included habitation rooms and guests' rooms, a small shrine, and the monumental paved south entrance to the palace that led directly to the central court.
  The SW corner of the of the palatial complex is occupied by eight circular structures used for the storage of grain (silos).
  The east wing is almost completely occupied by magazines of liquids, with low platforms on which stood pithoi (large storage vessels), and a system of channels and receptacles to collect liquids.
  Behind the north stoa of the central court is the "hypostyle hall" and its antechamber. Above these rooms, on the upper storey, there was a hall of equal size, interpreted as a ceremonial banquet hall. To the west of these rooms, a stone paved corridor connects the central court with the north court, which is surrounded by workshops and storerooms, and with the NW court, also called "court of the dungeon". To the west of this lie the official rooms of the palace: at the centre, the reception hall with the typical Minoan polythyra, and behind this, the sunken lustral basin.
  The palace is surrounded by the town, one of the most important Minoan towns in Crete. To the north of the west court is the agora and the curious "hypostyle crypt", which has been interpreted as a kind of council chamber, connected with the prytaneia of historic times.
  The most important of the excavated sectors of the town and isolated houses are sector Z, houses E, Da, and Db; very important is sector M, dated to the First Palace period, which covers an area of c. 3,000 sq.m. and is actually the most important settlement of this period in Crete. The unusually extensive buildings of this neighbourhood included religious, official, and storage rooms, and workshops, and it seems that in general, it had functions similar to those of the palace.
  The cemetery of the First Palace period is located to the NE of the palace, near the north coast. The most important of the graves found is the large burial complex called Chryssolakkos, which yielded the famous gold bee pendant.


POLYRRINIA (Ancient city) CHANIA

Archaeological Site of Polyrrhenia

Tel: +30 28210 44418, Fax: +30 28210 44418

PRESSOS (Ancient city) SITIA

Ancient city of Pressos

  The important ancient city of Pressos was the homeland of the Eteocretans--the true Cretans. These people withdrew to these three hills, built a city and continued their Minoan culture when the Dorians invaded. Remains of an older and newer city were found as well as very important tablets written in the Minoan language using Greek characters. This may help in the deciphering of the Minoan language. The site was inhabited continually from Neolithic to Hellenistic times. Pressos dominated the east side of Crete, and it had two harbours, one on the north coast--Itia, the site of Sitia--and the other one, Stiles, on the south coast. The excavations have revealed three acropolises, temples, houses, and tombs, but little remain to be seen in the site. From the acropolis, where some ruins still remain, one has a good view of the old harbour of Pressos, Sitia in the distance. Pressos was in continuous struggle with the powerful cities of Itanos and Ierapytna for the control of the Temple of Zeus Dicteos in Palaikastro. Although at some point in time it even shared citizenship with Ierapytna, it was destroyed by Ierapytna about 155 B.C. and was never rebuilt. The inhabitants of Pressos left for Itia (Sitia), their harbour on the north coast and established New Pressos there.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


RIZINIA (Ancient city) AGIA VARVARA

Ancient City of Rizinia

  About 1km north of the village Prinias, is the site of the ancient city Rizinia on top of a hill named Patela. There are no signs to the site but the hill is easily seen. There is a path to the summit and a caretaker will open the gate. The site attracts few visitors as the excavations are not extensive, but there is a spectacular view north to Iraklion, south over the Mesara Plain, and east to the mountains of Lassithi. The site of Prinias had been in use since 1500 B.C. through the Late Minoan and the Greek Periods. It is believed that Prinias was also a refuge site for Eteocretans, similar to the one in Karfi. A sanctuary found at the eastern part of the hill revealed numerous finds associated with the snake cult, as well as a goddess figurine with raised arms similar to the one found in Karfi. Two seventh century B.C. temples were also found in the middle of the plateau. One shows a strong Minoan influence. Its temple was probably dedicated to Rhea and it had reliefs of the lion goddess. The temple has been reconstructed in the Iraklion Museum. The other temple is similar to the temple of Apollo in Driros and has more Greek influence. On the western side of the hill was a castle dating from the fourth to fifth century B.C. and a cemetery.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


YRTAKINA (Ancient city) ANATOLIKO SELINO

Ancient Greek Site of Yrtakina

  The ancient Yrtakina was an important city of western Crete. It is located on the top of a hill beside Temenia. It had very strong fortifications, some of which are still visible. A statue of the god Pan was found here. The remainders of the city are on the top of a hill called Kastri, which is between Temenia and Papadiana; and it can be seen from Temenia.

This extract is cited Oct 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains image.


Ancient villas & houses

AGIA TRIADA (Archaeological site) TYMBAKI

The Royal Villa at Aghia Triada

The Royal Villa was built in the 16th century B.C. (New Palace period). After the destruction of the palaces in 1450 B.C., only a small "megaron" of the "Mycenaean" type was built in their place. There is evidence that in the Geometric period (8th century B.C.) the site had religious function. In the Hellenistic period (4th-3rd centuries B.C.) the sanctuary of Zeus Velchanos was founded and much later, during the Venetian occupation, the area of the courtyard was occupied by the church of St. George Galatas (14th century A.D.).
The Italian Archaeological School at Athens located and excavated the site of Aghia Triada in the years 1902, 1903, 1904-1905 and 1910-1914.
The Villa at Aghia Triada consists of two wings which form an L-shaped structure enclosing a court. Although it does not have the dimensions of the palaces at Knossos and Phaistos, it presents all the typical features of Minoan palatial architecture. It has halls with polythyra (pier-and-door partitions), light-wells, shrines, storerooms, repositories, workshops, staircases, porticoes, courtyards, terraces and balconies, streets and courtyards paved with flagstones. Numerous finds were uncovered in the villa during the excavations.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture URL below, which also contains image.


GONIES (Village) TYLISSOS

The Minoan villa in Sklavokambos

  Sklavokambos is 22km from Iraklion on the Iraklion - Tilisos - Sklavokambos road. The fenced in Minoan site there, comes up to the road. There is a sign to the site on the main road. Sklavokambos is the site of a Minoan villa dating from the late New Palace Period. It is simpler in style than the villas at nearby Tilisos and consists of three different sets of apartments within three levels. The villa has a north-south orientation with an entrance to the east and a veranda on the north side looking towards the valley. The villa had also a small temple, store rooms full of jars and a toilet. It was destroyed by an intense fire. The villa was a part of a larger settlement in the area. Many jars and seals were found in the villa.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


KOKKINI CHANI (Settlement) HERAKLIO

Minoan Megaron at Nirou Chani

Luxurious house, two storeys high, built of large ashlar blocks. The walls were strenghtened by timber-frames and covered with a thick layer of plaster and marble slabs. The building has a paved courtyard, a shrine, storerooms for agricultural products, a staircase, and rooms with benches. It has been interpreted as a High Priest's house, due to the numerous ceremonial vessels it contained.
The house was probably built in the 16th century B.C. (MM III period) and, after its destruction by fire in the 15th century B.C. (LM IB period), was finally abandoned.
The "Minoan Megaron" at Nirou was excavated in 1918 by St. Xanthoudides. In 1960, under the supervision of the Ephor of Antiquities N. Platon, the site was fenced and the building restored. The monument is consolidated and cleared at intervals by the 23rd Ephorate.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture URL below, which also contains image.


  Earlier in this century archaeologists excavated a Minoan villa, known today as the Nirou Hani dated from the New Palace Period (1600-1450 B.C.). The remains of the villa are well-preserved. The huge double axes they found are on display in the Iraklion Museum. Many tripod tables for offerings were found stacked in piles, suggesting exports of religions instruments from the nearby harbour. The site is open to the public.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


MITROPOLI (Village) GORTYNA

Minoan Farmhouse

  Near Mitropolis in the location Kannia (1.5km) are the remains of a Minoan farmhouse of the New Palace and Postpalatial Periods.


MYRTOS (Village) IERAPETRA

New Palace period mansion

  Another Minoan site was located in a place called Mirtos Pirgos. It was active in the Early Minoan era, and, like the one in Fournou Korfi, it was destroyed at the same time, but was rebuilt and used in later Minoan times. During the New Palace Period the settlement had a large villa on the summit of the hill. A cistern dating from the Old Palace Period is considered to be the deepest Minoan cistern found in Crete.
The site at the top of a hill on the north side of the main road is signposted before the entrance to Mirtos. There is a dirt road here that continues to the Venetian bridge of the old road to Ierapetra. The path that starts at the base of the hill close to the highway is difficult to see because of recent floods, but as you go up it is clearly marked with white stones. The ascent takes about 15 minutes and is well-worth the effort. The Minoan villa at the crest had an incredible view of the Libyan Sea and the surrounding area. A stepped street from the town on the eastern hillside led to a paved courtyard in front of the house. The cistern in the courtyard is from an earlier period and it was filled with stones when the villa was built. The characteristic Minoan raised walk bordered the front of the veranda. The border of the walk was made of purple limestone, as were the bases of the wooden columns. The entrance to the villa from the veranda was at the west end and led into a passage that continued north first to a staircase (now covered for protection) and then a lightwell with a purple limestone floor. A bench (also covered for protection) was opposite the lightwell. Remains found in an east wing suggest a large and grand upstairs room. On the north side of the hill below the villa are the remains of the deepest Minoan cistern found in Crete. It appears that its outer wall gave way and it was not repaired, forcing water to be hauled up from below. The intriguing finds from the area of Mirtos are exhibited in the Museum of Agios Nikolaos and Iraklion.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


Asclepieum

LEVIN (Ancient city) GORTYNA

Temple of Asklepios

The temple is built on an artificial terrace at the SW edge of the sanctuary and is oriented to the east. The walls of the cella, preserved to a height of 3.40 m., are built of mudbricks, reveted with white marble slabs. Similar slabs cover the central part of the floor, while the rest of it is mosaic. Two of the columns (4.70 m. high) and the bases of the cult statues of Asklepios and Hygeia are preserved inside the temple.
It was constructed in the first centuries of the Roman Empire (1st-2nd century A.D.). After the expansion of Christianity the temple (and the sanctuary) were abandoned and gradually destroyed. Architectural members of the temple were used for the construction of the Byzantine basilica. In 1856, Onorio Belli drew the groundplan of the Asklepieion of which only the outline and two of the columns are still preserved today.
The temple of Asklepios was excavated, along with the rest of the sanctuary, by the Italian Archaeological School at Athens in 1900, 1910 and 1912-1913. The columns of the temple were immediately restored by the excavators.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture URL below, which also contains image.


  Lendas is the site of the ancient city Lebena. Although there was an early Minoan site in the area, Lebena flourished mainly during the Greek and Roman period when it was the harbour of Gortyn. There was a famous sanctuary for healing here with a temple of Asklipios from the fourth century B.C. At the site of the sanctuary, which is at the beginning of the modern village, one can see traces of Roman mosaic, Greek coloured pebble mosaic representing a sea horse, and marble steps among other features.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains image.


LISSOS (Ancient city) PELEKANOS

Temple of Asklipios

  In Lissos there was a temple of Asklipios which was visited from all over Crete. The temple is at the base of the mountain, where the necessary sacred stream was, and the site, found in 1957, revealed about twenty statues which had been offered to the gods, either by patients or cured people in gratitude. A golden snake was found among the offerings. In the temple of Asklipios, live snakes were kept that were used in the curative ceremonies and healing rituals that took place there. The temple dates from the fourth to third century B.C and was built of ashlar blocks (squared-off stones). The floor of the temple of a later date (1 A.D.) is mosaic made of pebbles of different colours with geometric designs and animal pictures. The site is fenced off and locked and there is a guard but the site can be seen easily from the outside.

This text is cited Oct 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.


Buildings

Roman Cisterns


In a location known as Trochalos, archaeological finds have brought to light a series of Minoan tools dating back to the first and second Late Minoan periods.


IDI (Mountain) RETHYMNO

Caves

Ideon Andron

At a height of 1538 m on the Nida plateau the "Cave of the Shepherd girl" is situated. According to the myth Zeus, the father of the gods, was raised and probably even born here. To be more precise, his mother Rea hid the new born child in this cave in order to protect him from his father Kronos, who was in the habit of swallowing his children because he feared they might deprive him of his power. Hidden in that cave Zeus grew up being fed with the milk of the goat Amalthia, while the 'Kourites" covered the child's crying through banging their copper shields. Being closely connected with the myth the cave of Ideon Andron achieved great fame during ancient times and developed into a centre of worship, which lasted over the centuries from the Minoan up until the Late Roman period.


Research and excavation works, which the Italian archaeologist Federico Halbherr started in 1885, proved that the cave had been used as a sanctuary. From 1983 and henceforth systematic research was continued by the archaeologists Giannis and Efi Sakellarakis.
A large variety of archaeological findings have been brought to light, such as the copper shields with relief performances of the Ideon order, cameos, objects made from ivory and gold jewellery. Equally impressive is the large variety of ceramics, figurines, tools and metal objects.


Trapeza Cave

  The Trapeza Cave (Spileo Trapezas) is 10 minutes by foot from the road that circles around Lassithi Plateau. The marked path is to the east of the village of Tzermiado off the main road. This cave was a place of worship during Neolithic, Minoan, Hellenistic, and Byzantine times. However, the importance of this cave declined as the Dikteon Cave was used for worship during the Prepalatial Period.

This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains image.


Excavations

ATSIPADES (Settlement) RETHYMNO

The Atsipadhes Korakias Peak Sanctuary Project


AZORIA (Ancient city) IERAPETRA

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