Thursday, May 29, 2008

Crete - Gournia

Gournia is the site of a Late Minoan town/palace complex on Crete dating back to about 1550 B.C., although there are remains going back as far as 2000 B.C. here as well. Called the "Pompeii of Minoan Crete" due to the good state of preservation, it occupies a low hill close to the sea on the Isthmus of Ierapetra, overlooking the Bay of Mirabella. It's actual name is unknown and it was named after the hollow vessels called gourni found all over the site, many of which can still be seen at the entrances to the rooms. Unfortunately it was destroyed in 1450 B.C. like most of the rest of the Minoan civilization.


Gournia is another large and fairly well excavated archaeological site. Unfortunately we arrived to see it on the first of May, which is a holiday on Crete, and it was closed for the day. It's fairly visible on the hillside through the fence so, undaunted and having driven a fair distance, we wandered round the edge of the site and found a way in. I'm surprised they didn't just leave the site open as there's nothing of monetary value and we noticed a fair number of cars pulling into the little road outside the gate and then giving up and going away again.

The remains of the place are in fairly good condition and it's easy to see the layout of certain parts of the town and palace. It was very peaceful and quiet with no-one else around so we had a good nose around and enjoyed the views out over the sea and the Gulf of Mirabella before retracing our steps back out and onward to Mochlos.


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