"Hersonissos, Crete Island" Crete Island by geordieontour

Crete Island Travel Guide: 1,459 reviews and 3,872 photos

Hersonissos, Crete Island

good friendly place just to chill out

Brief History

The port town of Chersonissos (Limin Hersonisos) keeps the name of the ancient city that was located in the place that the harbour of Limin Hersonisos is today.

Chersonissos is in fact the greek word meaning 'peninsula'. The city was first built during the Minoan times and experienced great prosperity during the Roman and early Byzantine period. The Roman Hersonissos had wonderful marble waterfalls. Remnants of this period can be seen today in the area of Kastri, on a promontory where excavations have revealed an early Christian basilica.

The ancient city of Hersonissos was irrigated by an aqueduct, ruins of which can be found today at Xerokamares, at the village of Potamies.

Byzantine era marks on the city are mostly found on port and at the port 's Akropolis (dominating hill) where a palaiochristianic basilica church is found. Hersonisos followed the rest of Crete in its faith of conquerors in which Venetians and Turks left their mark on the area. The port was called Porto Tigani and sheltered many middle age boats even after the city shrank to a few inhabited houses. Its gradual demise came about from Saracen and other pirates looting the coastal area and cities.

As a result, the city relocated inland on the hilltop but within a small distance to the south of the port. It was built there because people who had a fear of the pirates, sheltered high on the mountain slopes with enough time to react on eminent pirate attacks. Today, it's referred to as Old Hersonisos because the port town was almost abandoned and only evolved into a small fishing village.

Present day Limin Hersonisos didn't see growth until after the 1950's when some interest grew on its tourist hosting capabilities. There have been many excavations taking place that have revealed beautiful mosaics, building remnants and pottery. There is no organized archaeological site but one can admire findings scattered throughout the area. Many more archaeological sites are located in neighbouring Malia and Heraklio.

  • Last visit to Crete Island: May 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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