Gournia is the most distinctive excavated example of a medium-sized settlement of the Minoan era (Post-Minoan period: 1700-1450 BC)
The settlement was established on a low hill at the isthmus of Ierapetra near the sea. Two peripheral paved roads crossed by many vertical roads created building blocks, seven of them having already been brought to light with the excavations. All the blocks were connected to a sewer system. The two story houses (the largest of them were about 25 sq. meters) shared their outside walls. Today, storage rooms and workshops located at the ground floor or the basements, which were accessible with wooden ladders, are preserved. Top floor was accessible by an outdoor ladder directly from the road. The walls of the lower part of the house were made by raw plinths.
The palace of the local ruler is at the top of the hill. It constituted the centre and probably the marketplace of the settlement. A series of semi-circular terraced rows benches consisted the “Theatrical area” of the settlement and was used for religious ceremonial events. The interior of the palace is not well-preserved, however we know it had a number of more official spaces and storage rooms and above them spacious rooms were found. The main hall of the palace was separated from the main court by a colonnade of round wooden pillars alternated with square stone pilasters.
North of the palace there was an independent small public sanctuary devoted to the Minoan goddess of snakes. It’s a rectangular room with a table at its southern side, used for the placement of devotional objects, some of which were discovered during the excavations: clay figurines of a goddess with raised arms, tripod altar and chocks with serpentine decoration.
Informations : Municipality of Ierapetra
Photos : Ioannis Metaxakis, Municipality of Ierapetra
Translation : Christina Chrisoula, Christopher Charalambakis