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Phaestos and Gortyna

GREECE | Saturday, 17 January 2015 | Views [461]

Phaestos panorama

Phaestos panorama

ROMANS ON CRETE?  WELL, DUH, THEY DID REFER TO THE MED as “Our Sea,” after all.  Gortyna had its heyday in the 5th Century BC, long before it was occupied by the Romans, it was as important as Knossos.  When the Romans came a-knocking Gortyna wisely made a pact with the invaders and became the capital of Crete in 67 BC.  

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  Agios Titos                                        Odion

Today ruins are scattered over a square mile but the most visited are found near the ticket kiosk.  The Church of Agios Titos was undergoing repairs and was off limits so we wandered through the Odion, a mini-theater rebuilt by Trajan in the 2nd Century BC.  The gems of Gortyna are the stone tablets engraved with the Laws of Gortyna.  Even in 600 BC society was concerned with marriage, divorce, property sales, inheritance and  adoption in addition to criminal offenses.  


    Law Code of Gortyna 

You really need a car to explore Crete efficiently and for some strange reason, Avis had the best deal.  It always pays to compare.  From Gortyna we zoom-zoomed our little Mazda south to Phaestos or Faistos, a Minoan site that rivals Knossos in importance.  The “palace” layout is similar to Knossos so Arthur Evans’ imaginative descriptions for Knossos are used even though it was discovered by Fredrico Halbherr.  Built around 1700 BC, Phaestos was destroyed by the same earthquake that took out the other Minoan palaces.  Again we were the only visitors, surprising on such a beautiful day.  The views of snow-capped Mt. Psiloritis would be worth a visit even if there were no ruins.

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   Grand Staircase, Phaestos                 Phaistos Disc, Archeological Museum

We recrossed the island to the north to our apartment in the seaside town of Rythymno where we booked an apartment for a few nights.


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