Heraklion Ancient Rizinia

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Location: Prinias

About 1 km north of Prinias village, on the top of Patela Hill, lies the Ancient Town of Rizinia. The area was first inhabited around 1500 BC, during the post-Minoan era and flourished during the Archaic and the Hellenistic period.

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A sanctuary dedicated to the Minoan snake goddess has been found on the eastern side of the hill, while another two temples dating from the 7th century BC have been excavated on the central side of the plateau. One of them was probably dedicated to Rhea, the goddess of fertility and motherhood. The other temple is similar to the temple of Apollo in Dreros, Crete, and had a more evident Greek influence. On the western side of the hill, there was a fort dating from the 4th or the 5th century BC, as well as an ancient cemetery.

Visitors to this archaeological site are few as excavations have only revealed the foundations of these buildings. The location gives excellent views of the Messara Plain and the mountains of Lassithi. Many findings from Ancient Rizinia, such as a frieze with relief sculptures of horsemen, deer, panthers and two seated goddesses, are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.



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