The Acropolis of Gortys

Crete travel guide

The Acropolis of Gortys

The acropolis of gortysThe Acropolis of Gortys is on the hill of Agios Ioannis, northwest of the archaeological site. You will need to drive there.

After Gortys, drive towards Phaistos. Turn right along the road to Ambelouzos and the Acropolis is about 15 minutes away.

The hill of the Acropolis was inhabited continuously from Neolithic (6,000-3,000 BC) and Minoan (3,000-1200 BC) times to the mid-Byzantine period (6th-10th century AD).

A fortified settlement was established during the Geometric period (10th-7th century BC), while in the 7th century a small temple dedicated to Athena Poliouchos was founded on the south side of the Acropolis. The excavation of the temple and the dump brought to light very important sculptures of the 10th to the 7th century BC.

The Byzantine period also left its mark on the Acropolis of Gortys, with the construction of a basilica on the site of the ancient temple, using its building materials, in the 5th or 6th century AD. This basilica was succeeded by a second between the 6th and the 10th century.

In the 7th century, during the reign of the Emperor Heraclius, the Acropolis was refortified with a fort at its centre. Part of the fortress wall is still preserved today, but unfortunately in poor condition.

Still, the view from the Acropolis of Gortys is impressive, with the plain of the Mesara spread out at your feet. Right below you is the archaeological site of Gortys and the village of Agii Deka, with the Asterousia mountains in the distance and the Bay of Mesara to the west.

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