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Gortys Print E-mail

Gortys also known as Gortyn or Gortyna is one of the most important cities in Crete with an unbroken history of 6,000 years and one of the most extensive archaeological sites in Greece. It is situated in the fertile Messara plain, close to Agii Deka, about 20km in the direction of Heraklion from Kamilari. It's the site of the first human habitation of Crete at the end of the Neolithic period (5th millennium BC).


The archaeological excavation is very popular for the "Great Inscription with the Law Code of Gortys" which is so far the oldest law codex found in Europe.

There's also the great basilica of Gortys inside the archaeological site as a remain of the majestic, five-aisled Early Christian basilica, also dedicated to St Titus. The great basilica was discovered in 1978 during roadworks. This is a huge building, the largest of its kind in Crete and one of the largest in Greece, covering the equivalent of a whole building block.

It is hard to guess at the former splendor of what was once the largest church in Crete from its ruins, but archaeological finds point to the luxury building materials used, the rich decoration and the particularly advanced construction technique.

The great basilica was originally built in the mid-6th century (circa 500 AD), in the reign of Justinian. This first basilica was destroyed in the early 7th century and rebuilt as splendidly as before. After the earthquake of 670 AD, however, the second basilica - and almost the whole city of Gortys - was destroyed and abandoned.

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