Gortyn / Gortys, Crete Island

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Prefecture of Heraklion

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  • Agia Titus, Gortyn
    Agia Titus, Gortyn
    by Balam
  • Gortyn
    Gortyn
    by Balam
  • Agia Titus, Gortyn
    Agia Titus, Gortyn
    by Balam
  • Evenith666's Profile Photo

    Gortyn (part I)

    by Evenith666 Written Jun 23, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Gortyn was probably my favourite of all the historic sites we visited in Crete. We visited here twice during our stay, the first time we looked at the parts of the site you are actually told about and allowed to visit, which i cover in this tip, but on the second visit we went in search of, and found, a huge area which was fenced off and which the Greeks didn't really seem to be bothered about.

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    Gortyn or Gortys

    by Balam Written Jul 19, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Gortyn
    3 more images

    Gortyn is in the centre of the Mesara Plain and was one of the mightiest city states in Doric Crete. It was here that Zeus transformed into a bull, brought back princess Europa from her home in Phoenicia (it was her after which the continent is named) it is said that their marriage was contracted under an evergreen Plane tree beside a brook in Gortyn. From the union between Zeus and Europa Minos was born.

    Entrance to Agia Titus €4 to look at Roman City €0

    Agia Titus and the ‘other stuff’ certainly are impressive and worth the visit. Most people pull up in their cars pay their €4 entrance fee, look round maybe have a drink at the quite reasonably priced cafe and drive off to their next stop. The best part of Gortys that most people will miss is well, its most of it. The guide books and all the info says that Gortys was the Capital of Roman Crete and was a very large walled city. So are you going to just come look at one little tiny bit and drive off? Well that’s what most tourists and excursions do. You see the Greeks are only really bothered about the Greek bit of Gortyn, the ‘Laws or code of Gortyn’ Which dates from about450bc but is probably a copy of Laws which have been observed for generations before, and that’s the bit you are paying to see. The fact that it’s at the rear of a Roman Odeum (indoor theatre) is just a bonus for you. So when you come out of Agia Titus and think ‘was that it? Well take a walk over the main road and walk down the road opposite. Look to your right and you will see walls with roman foundations. Take the 2nd dirt track on your right and walk down it. If you look around you at the fields you will see that they are very rocky. Look at the rocks on the floor.. They are really pieces of pottery, roof tiles, roman brick, marble columns and blocks. Some columns have been stood up and some are still lying in the bushes. Fascinating isn’t it.
    But keep going down the dirt track, soon you will see large structures on you left which were once part of the South Theatre. Turn left just after them to the temple of Apollo and follow the fence around past the Praetorium looking all around just a small part of the massive Roman city. Unfortunately people are not allowed inside so you have to look at the site from the very unsecure (in some places) fence. But although there may be nobody around please don’t go inside, If the fence happens to have been left open please secure it again as you pass through by. The site stretches on over the fields and there is a stadium, Baths, Agora (market place) and many more things to explore most of it is not fenced in. The official way to look at the remnants of the city is to walk along the main road and turn left at the signs down a paved path.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel

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  • Lilasel's Profile Photo

    Gortys (Gortyna)

    by Lilasel Updated Dec 21, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Basilica of Agios Titos

    Gortys is located at the Messara Valley, near the village of Agioi Deka, on the 46th km of the main road from Iraklion to Tibaki that traverses the island from north to the south.

    One of the oldest and most important monuments of Christianity in Crete is the Basilica of Agios Titos, which was the seat of the first bishops of the Cretan Church.
    The most important monuments of the ancient Gortys are the ruins of the acropolis and the odeum. The odeum of the ancient city was the place where parts of the great Law Code of Gortys was discovered. The Gortys Law was inscribed on stones. Four series of inscribed stones are preserved today, which constitute relics of great importance for the study of the epigrafy and Law of the time. The inscription is in a Dorian dialect and it was written at the end of the 6th century B.C.

    According to the myth, Zeus led Europe, after kidnapping her, to Gortys. The offsprings of this union were three sons, Minos, Sarpidon and Radamanthis.
    Gortys was one of the oldest and strongest cities in Crete during the prehistoric and historic period. The population of ancient Gortys is believed to be 300.000 people. The Gortynians occypied Phaistos during the 3rd century B.C. During the Roman period reached the peak of its glory and it was the capital of Crete.
    Gortys was the first city of Crete to accept Christianity, and maintained its glory until 828 A.D. when it was occupied and destroyed by the Saracens. Since then it was never inhabited again.

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  • steventilly's Profile Photo

    Gortys, Ampitheatre

    by steventilly Updated Jun 9, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Gortys Ampitheatre

    Here are rhe ruins of the Roman theatre, or odeon, and standing behind that the building that now houses the Gortys Law Code, one of the most impirtant archialogical finds on Crete. It is a series of tablets written in ancient script that define the mainly social) laws relating to marriage, divorce, property and inheritance.

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    Gortys, Basilica of Agios Titos

    by steventilly Updated Jun 9, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Gortys Basilica of Agios Titos

    Gortys' history dates back to Minoan times and it was the most important city in Southern Crete, but its time of greatest prosperity came with the Romans who made it the capital of Crete.
    Later St. Titus came to Gortys and set about converting the population to Christianity and it became both the political and religious centre of Crete. The archialogical site at Gortys encompasses both Minoand and Roman ruins, as well as the Basilica of St Titus (seen here), the best preserved early Christian church on Crete.

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  • Tea4Two's Profile Photo

    GORTYS

    by Tea4Two Written Aug 26, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Praetorium

    One of the oldest and most important monuments of Christianity in Crete is the Basilica of Agios Titos, which was the seat of the first bishops of the Cretan Church.
    In the center of Gortys was the temple of Pythios Apollon, the most important pre-christianic temple of the city, built on the ruins of a Minoan settlement.
    The most important monuments of the ancient Gortys are the ruins of the acropolis and the odeum. The odeum of the ancient city was the place where parts of the great Law Code of Gortys was discovered. The Gortys Law was inscribed on stones. Four series of inscribed stones are preserved today, which constitute relics of great importance for the study of the epigrafy and Law of the time. The inscription is in a Dorian dialect and it was written at the end of the 6th century B.C.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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  • Tea4Two's Profile Photo

    Agios Titos

    by Tea4Two Written Aug 24, 2003
    Agios Titos

    The early Byzantine church of Agios Titos is one of the most important churches in Crete. It was originally a three-aisled basilica, but its architecture was influenced by the sixth century form of architecture developed in Byzantium.

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

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  • cbeaujean's Profile Photo

    gortyne,ancient cnossos rival

    by cbeaujean Updated Mar 6, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    odeon

    main witness of roman domination in crete:trajan's time,2nd cent.a.c
    backstage:acropolis and destroyed amphitheater.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Archeology

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