Top (Résidence hôtelière) Kalamaki Tympaki

Gortis (ca. 24 km)

To the west of Agia-Deka is the largest and one of the most important archaeological sites in Crete. The remains of the former capital city of the Roman province of Crete and Cyrene (Libya) are strewn across 420 hectares - more than 1,000 acres - of the fertile Messara plain. During the ancient years, here stood one of the most prominent cities in Crete. The city, is said to have first been inhabited during the Minoan Era (16th century BC). After Gortys occupied Phaestos, in the 3rd century BC, the city acquired two harbours, Levina and Matala and thrived. Excavations in the area offer a wealth of information about the city's history. The most exquisite of the finds is the famous "Laws of Gortys" (6th-5th century BC) which is also noted in Plato's "Law" and is an important sources of historic facts.

During the Roman and Byzantine Era, the city retained its status as, in contrast to its rival, Knossos, sided with the invading Romans. The city's population rose to 200,000 inhabitants and it was declared the capital of the island. The city of Gortys thrived until 828 AD, when the Saracens destroyed it. Among the finds of Gortys, one can admire ruins of the Basilica of St Titus (6th century AD) which was dedicated to Titus, the island's first bishop.\

Other significant finds are the acropolis, the concave theatre, the ancient stadium (2nd century BC), the temple of Pythios Apollo (7th century BC), the temple of Isis and Serapes, the temple of Asklipios, the Spa, the Odeum (1st century BC), where the "Laws of Gortys" were built, and Praetorium, the seat of the Roman governor (2nd century BC).

Behind the Odeum stands the plane- tree where, according to mythology, the sons of Zeus and Europe were born: Radamanthys, Sarpedon and Minos. Most of the finds are exhibited at the local archaeological museum.

Visiting hours 8:00-20:00
Entrance Fee EURO 4
Telephone +30-28920 - 31492, 31144