Gortys and the nearby village of Agioi Deka.
Gortys had its main days in the Roman period, because in the Minoan period it was overshadowed by the palace of Festos. Around 1100 BC the Romans even made Gortys the capital city of Crete. It was a beautiful city. All buildings were decorated with real sized statues of emperors, philosophers and politicians. It is estimated that the city had over 300.000 inhabitants. The city had a cross-cut of 9,5 kilometres.
The finds in Gortys were, and still are, mostly excavated by Italian archaeologists. The most important finds on the terrain are an acropolis, a theatre and an Odeon, which was a roofed covered theatre. Also an important building is the Titus basilica from the 6th century, named after Bishop Titus, the first bishop of Crete. From this city Titus tried to convert the people on the island to Christianity. On the right side of the road lies the South terrain where, amongst other things, the temple of Apollo, the ruins of a stadium, an amphitheatre and a graveyard were found.
The most important find is called ‘the laws of Gortys’. These are marble plaques that were, which later appeared, written on. The text on the plaques describes one of the oldest written laws of Europe. Another place of interest is ‘the tree of Gortys’. According to the mythology, this is the tree where Zeus made love to Europe. During the deed Zeus was dressed up as a bull. According to the stories, this is where king Minos and his brother were conceived.
Near Gortys you will enter the village of Agioi Deka. This village owes its name to ten Cretan Christians, who were tortured to death here after they betrayed the Romans. They refused to participate in the inauguration of the temple to the goddess Tyche. ‘Deka’ is the greek translation for ‘ten’. Inside the church you will find a relic with the knee prints of the Christians that were decapitated.