Skip to comments.Eleutherna, the heart of Crete
Posted on 09/28/2013 11:04:40 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
The heart of Eleutherna beat for a very long time, from the Neolithic era to the Byzantine period, when it vanished from the map... a palimpsest showing a constant human presence that dates back to 3000 BC, architecture from the late Minoan period, prosperity in Homeric times and a great burst of growth in the Roman era. The decline of Eleutherna was gradual, starting in the 8th century AD and culminating in the 13th century. In the 14th century, the Venetians prohibited the unruly Cretans from living in the fortified city due to fears they would create a rebel stronghold.
The excavation has uncovered hundreds of objects and remains of homes, but it has been focused mainly on the rich bounty yielded by a cemetery used from the Geometric period, which, like one end of a piece of string, will lead to more discoveries...
We are now standing on a necropolis that dates back to Homeric times, unique in the Mediterranean region. You cannot but feel awed. We see the burial sites, some consisting of large ceramic coffins, funerary monuments and a fascinating maze that goes deep underground, revealing the different chronological periods during which the cemetery was used...
The archaeologist moves between the graves, talking about some of the most striking finds he and his team have made. The excavation so far has revealed remains ranging from aristocratic warriors to very simple burials. One of his most touching finds was the grave of a 12-year-old boy, whose dog was buried in a small marked grave right beside him. One of the graves that contained the remains of several women from the same aristocratic family also contained ornate jewelry.
(Excerpt) Read more at ekathimerini.com ...
34 1/4 m. Perama. Turning (l.) for Panormos (4 1/4 m.) Off this road, at Melidhoni is a celebrated stalactite cave where 370 Christians were smoked to death by the Turks in 1824.--35 1/2 m. Turning (l.) for Margarites (3 m.), a delightful potting village where all stages of the manufacture of clay vessels can be studied, and Prines (4 1/2 m.). After Margarites the road is unpaved and rough.
From Prines ancient Eleutherna can be reached in ten minutes' walk by a path from the centre of the village. The acropolis stands at the end of a sharp, precipitous ridge, and is reached by a narrow rock causeway, guarded by a Byzantine tower. The acropolis fell to the Roman conqueror, Metellus Creticus (67 B.C.), only after a strong tower had been drenched with vinegar (Dio Cassius, XXXVI, 18, 2). Around the sides of the ridge are the remains of the classical walls. In the w. side are vast Roman cisterns, while on the E. side a connecting conduit can be explored (torch advised). The cistern and the conduit are not easy to find, and it is worth arranging for a guide in the village. From the site came an important Archaic statue (Herakleion Museum). Below the Acropolis to the N.W. (c. 15 min. walk) in the stream valley a remarkably fine and possibly Classical bridge can be seen, still in use. The road, still poor, continues through modern Eleutherna to join the main road at Viran Episkopi (9 1/2 m. from Prines).
Anyone have a map of where this is located in Europe and specifically Greec?
Whoops,....Crete is not the area I was interested in.
Thanks Verginius Rufus.
It’s in the western half of Crete, a few miles inland from the north coast and about 40 miles by road west of Heraklion (Iraklion), the largest city on the island which is on the north coast about in the middle. It’s roughly half-way between Heraklion and Souda Bay, the Greek/NATO naval base. Soudha Bay is almost directly south of Athens. Crete is about halfway between Athens and the NE corner of Libya—Eleutherna is somewhat closer to Athens than it is to Benghazi.
Of course we must take what this archaeologist says with a grain of salt, in light of what St. Paul says: "Cretans are always liars" (Titus 1.12).
There is a church in Heraklion which claims to have the skull of St. Titus...but they may be lying.
Thanks for the info.