RIZINIA (Ancient city) AGIA VARVARA
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.
Periods: Late Bronze Age, Dark Age, Geometric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic
Summary: Early Iron Age Cretan refuge settlement in mountains.
Near the modern village of Prinias in central Crete is a site possibly to be identified with ancient Rhyzenia. The small, unwalled settlement was established on the plateau (called Petela) of a steep and almost inaccessible mountain. In addition to Archaic house remains, 2 small temples of the 7th to 6th century B.C. are located near the center of the plateau. There is also evidence for a later cult to Athena at the E end of the plateau and on the W end are the walls of a small Hellenistic fortress with corner towers.
The settlement is one of several Dark Age Cretan refuge sites established at natural strong holds in the mountains. Its importance is attested to by the Archaic temples and their sculptures, early inscriptions and other finds. Religious activity at the site may have outlasted actual settlement which had ceased by the 2nd century B.C. at the latest.
Halbherr and J. Alden explored the site in 1894. Excavations, 1907-1908, and since 1969 by the Italian School.
Donald R. Keller, ed.
This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 1 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
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