History

Crete, to begin with

An island with the geographical position and the climate of Crete would be impossible to not have a history in depth of centuries, and of course not to attract the interest of dozens of conquerors over the years. Since the Minoan culture, Arabs, Saracens, Venetians and Turks, the biggest civilizations of the Mediterranean and not only, left their mark in this place.

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Knossos

The most important center of the Minoan civilization, Knossos, grows on the hill of Kefalas between olive trees, vineyards and cypress trees and is located 5 km. south of Heraklion. The city of Knossos was continuously inhabited from the late 7th millennium to Roman times. The Neolithic period is characterized by the step of technologically sophisticated rural life (stone tools and loom weights). Residents become gatherers from the same producers (farmers and ranchers) and there is a tendency for a more systematic and permanent installation. The building phases at Knossos succeed each other, while the population of the settlement at the end of the Late Neolithic is estimated at 1000 to 2000 inhabitants. Knossos was discovered in 1878 by Minos Kalokairinos. Arthur Evans began systematic excavations in 1900, which continued until 1931 with the discovery of the palace, a large section of the Minoan city and the cemeteries.

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Phaistos

The second most important city of the Minoan civilization, Phaistos, has experienced tremendous growth due to its geographical position. Located southwest of Heraklion, 62 km away, at an altitude of 100 meters south of the river Geropotamos and the ancient river Lethaeos. The view is panoramic hill, surrounded by the imposing mountains of Psiloritis and Asterousia mountains Lasithiotikon. Important role in the development of the region in economic, administrative and religious center played the fertile valley of Messara and the strategic ports of Matala and Kommos. At Kommos was found one of the earliest mills known to date, which shows the relationship of the region with the olive oil and the cultivation of the land.

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Gortys

According to the myth, Zeus fled at Gortys, disguised as a bull, after kidnapping Europe from Lebanon. Zeus arrived in Gortyna in form of a bull with Europe riding on his back and only under the holy tree took a human form. Inhabited since the New stone era, flourished in the Minoan but especially in Roman times, when it became the biggest city and capital of the Roman province of Crete and North Africa. The code of Gortys is of particular importance, also called “queen of inscriptions”, which is the most complete and oldest Greek legislation. In Gortys lies one of the first Christian churches, the Cathedral of St. Titus, first Bishop of Crete which was built in the 6th century AD

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